Wherever you live in Virginia, chances are you were affected by severe weather during the last year as the Commonwealth was hit by tornadoes, an earthquake and its aftershocks, and Hurricane Irene. The 2012 hurricane season begins June 1 and Governor Bob McDonnell is again encouraging residents to stock up on supplies -- tax-free -- to help get them through bad weather and other emergencies.
During Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, May 25-31, shoppers can purchase essential items without paying the 5 percent state and local sales tax. There are 22 categories of smaller items, including batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors and first aid kits. As long as each item costs $60 or less it is tax-free. Portable generators and inverters priced at $1,000 or less are also tax-free during the holiday. For a full list of eligible products, answers to frequently asked questions, and guidelines for consumers and retailers, visit http://www.tax.virginia.gov/.
"The safety of our families is critically important for all Virginians," said Governor McDonnell. "It is essential that citizens, as well as government and emergency response agencies, make appropriate preparations to deal with anything Mother Nature sends our way. The best way to protect yourself and your family is by assembling an emergency supply kit and developing emergency plans for your loved ones. With the 2012 hurricane season just around the corner, I encourage residents to take a few minutes to evaluate what items they still may need to prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies. This tax-free holiday will make it easier and more economical to assemble an emergency kit now which may make Virginian's lives easier in the event of a major storm or emergency."
During this seven-day period, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items and pass the 5 percent savings onto their customers.
Virginia also has two additional sales tax holidays -- one for school supplies and clothing in August, and one for Energy Star and WaterSense products in October. The 2012 General Assembly renewed this tax-free hurricane preparedness holiday through 2017 after successes of previous campaigns.