MONTGOMERY – From Friday, Feb. 26, to Sunday, Feb. 28, Alabama will observe the state’s 10th annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. The Alabama Retail Association encourages Alabamians to restock emergency supplies in homes, workplaces and vehicles during this three-day tax holiday. Certain emergency preparedness items will be exempt from the state’s 4% state sales tax, and in some cities and counties, local taxes are waived on those items as well. The tax holiday means shoppers can save as much as 10% on these items in some areas of the state.

To see if your communities have decided to participate, click on the 2021 Participating Cities and Counties link.

From 12:01 a.m. Feb. 26 to midnight Feb. 28, the tax-exempt items include the following priced at $60 or less:

• Flashlights, lanterns

• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio

• Batteries

• First-aid kits

• Cell phone charger

• Two-way radios

• Manual can openers

• Tarps and plastic sheeting

• Duct tape

• Fire extinguishers

• Tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope

Other tax-free items include: Coolers, ice packs, plywood, window film and smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors. Portable generators and power cords costing $1,000 or less are also tax free.

Alabama is one of three states with a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday in 2021; the other states with similar holidays are Texas and Virginia.

“Severe weather can occur at any time, in any season,” said Alabama Retail President Rick Brown. “The tax holiday helps Alabama consumers remember to stock and prepare emergency kits to be ready when storms strike.”

More often though, consumers tend to wait until an emergency occurs to get needed supplies. In the final months of 2020, Andrews ACE Hardware in Chatom sold more than 100 generators, said Jon Odom, who with his brother, Eric, and father, Cat, own the 83-year-0ld Washington County store.

“We were threatened by (Hurricane Laura) in August and sold a bunch then and when Zeta came through in October, we sold even more,” he said. Zeta caused damage in 19 counties. In September, Hurricane Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Ivan in 2004. Our state experienced 73 tornadoes in 2020. Already in 2021, a Jan. 24 tornado in Fultondale damaged more than 60 businesses and almost 300 homes. The state also has already experienced its first winter storm emergency of the year. Local hardware stores are prepared to serve their communities in the event of a natural disaster.

Alabama Retail recommends having enough supplies in emergency kits to last 72 hours following a disaster. For information on what items to include in emergency kits, as well as steps to take before and after disasters, visit ready.gov.

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