Selma, Orrville to participate in severe weather tax holiday

Published 10:07pm Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dozens of cities and counties across the state of Alabama will be taking advantage of a tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items this weekend, starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22 and continuing through the end of Sunday, Feb. 24.

The tax holiday waives Alabama’s four percent sales tax on specific weather preparedness related items, and several cities and counties — including the city of Selma and the town of Orrville — have notified the Alabama Department of Revenue that they will be participating in the tax holiday, waiving their own sales taxes on those specific items during the event as well.

Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard said the tax holiday is one that is important for residents to take advantage of.

“It’s mainly to raise awareness of the upcoming severe weather season. That was the number one goal of it,” Ballard said. “The other goal is to give people that need to buy stuff to be prepared for storms and things a break on the tax.”

Dallas County will not be waiving their sales tax fees.

The tax break was a key recommendation of Gov. Robert Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council, following the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. The Alabama Legislature approved the measure in April of 2012.

“People need to take this opportunity to stock up on the supplies they’ll need before, during and after severe weather,” Gov. Bentley said in a statement.  “These supplies can help you and your family stay safe.  Alabama is vulnerable to several different forms of severe weather.  Take the time now to plan ahead.  If you wait until the storm strikes, it’s often too late.”

Items covered by the state sales tax holiday include several types of batteries, including cell phone batteries and chargers, battery-powered radios, NOAA weather radios, flashlights, lanterns and emergency glow sticks. It also includes first aid kits, duct tape, plywood, window film or other materials, specifically designed to protect window openings, portable generators, gas or diesel fuel containers, tarpaulins and plastic sheeting. The tax break covers any non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container, non-electric can openers, any artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs or reusable ice. Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors are also included, as well as ground anchor systems such as cords or rope or tie-down kits.

The covered items must cost $60 or less, except for generators, which are covered if they cost $1,000 or less.

“Alabamians have a unique opportunity with the state sales tax holiday to really save money on items that may save them in a future storm,” Alabama EMA Director Art Faulkner said in a statement.  “It is imperative that people use this awareness week and tax-free weekend to be prepared for all hazards, which could strike at any time of year.”


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