The hurricane season begins Sunday, but you can start buying supplies free of state sales tax today. While the storm season will drag on for months, those batteries, generators and the like must be bought by June 8 to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.
Skipping Florida’s 6 percent sales tax is expected to save taxpayers about $20 million, according to Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Consumers enjoyed similar hurricane holidays in 2006 and 2007 after the state was struck by a series of bad storms.
Hurricane season starts June 1 and goes through Nov. 30, and stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s have begun preparing.
Home Depot will host hurricane preparedness workshops at several of its Florida locations today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Customers will learn how to tune up and size generators for home and business needs, how to safely store their valuables and what to include in an emergency kit.
Red Cross and emergency officials will offer safety tips and answer questions.
Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is scheduled to be at the Home Depot on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard in West Palm Beach to explain how to care for pets during a storm.
For sale will be hurricane survival buckets with items including a walkie-talkie, a lantern, a 16-pack AA batteries, a first aid kit, and a waterproof LED flashlight.
Other stores are calling in extra orders on items such as water bottles, batteries and flashlights.
“We got in touch with some of our vendors to stock up just to make sure we don’t run out of supplies for our guests,” said Terrance Matthews, executive team leader at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.
Lowe’s Home Improvement sectioned off an isle dedicated to hurricane preparedness items.
Generators worth up to $750 can be bought tax free as well as an emergency crank-powered weather alert radio for $50. Water bottle cases will be on sale at two for $7 and will be tax free.
“You should always be prepared for anything, not just for a hurricane.” said Larry Piquette, assistant store manager at the Lowe’s on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach. “Having back-up batteries and things of that sort is good practice.”
The state waives taxes on school supplies in mid- to late-summer as students prepare to return to the classroom. This year from Aug.1-3, shoppers will not have to pay sales tax on any clothes worth $100 or less, school supplies worth $15 or less, or on the first $750 on a computer.
Legislators have also agreed this year to tax-free shopping for energy-efficient appliances costing $1,500 or less from Sept. 19-21.
Hurricane supplies that can be bought tax free: reusable ice packs for under $10, any portable light source, flashlights, lanterns and candles for $20 or less. Also included: ice chests and any gas or diesel fuel container worth $30 or less. First aid kits, tarps and radios that are self-powered or battery-powered can be bought tax free for $50 or less. Portable generators worth up to $750 will also be tax free.