Sales tax holiday begins today

Published 11:19 pm Thursday, May 24, 2012

It’s not even officially Atlantic hurricane season yet, but the tropics already are spinning out storms.

Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Saturday and fizzled out on Tuesday without affecting land. And on Thursday, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center gave a separate system near Florida a 40-percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Beryl within the next two days.

All this, and hurricane season doesn’t officially begin for another week.

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However, consumers get a well-timed break this weekend, when they can purchase hurricane preparedness supplies tax-free.

“We’ll have plenty of everything,” said Mike Belcher, assistant manager at Taylor’s Do-it Center on Bridge Road. He said the store had been stocking up on items to meet the demand.

A press release from the Retail Alliance urged consumers to stock up on preparedness items because of unusual weather patterns in recent years.

“We urge consumers to spend some time this weekend checking their residences for bad weather supplies that may be low and stop by your local retailer to stock up at considerable savings,” said Margaret Ballard, vice president for advocacy for the Retail Alliance and Virginia Retail Foundation.

The sales tax holiday lasts from May 25 to May 31. During the holiday, a number of items are exempt from the 5-percent sales tax.

In addition, the sales tax holiday is the only time during the year when retailers are allowed to absorb the sales tax on other items, though they still must remit that amount to the state Department of Taxation.

The full list of eligible items is below. For more information on the sales tax holiday, visit www.tax.virginia.gov.

Priced $1,000 or less

  • Portable generators and generator power cords
  • Inverters and inverter power cables

Priced $60 or less

  • Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs and removable ice
  • Batteries, excluding automobile or boat batteries, but including AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, 9-volt and cell phone batteries
  • Any portable, self-power light sources, including flashlights, lanterns or glow sticks
  • Portable self-power radios, including self-powered radios with electrical power capability
  • Two-way radios
  • Weather band radios and NOAA weather radios
  • Tarpaulins, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths and other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Bungee cords or rope
  • Ground anchor systems or tie down kits
  • Ratchet straps
  • Duct tape
  • Carbon monoxide or smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks or containers
  • Water storage containers
  • Nonelectric food storage coolers
  • Bottled water
  • Manual can openers
  • Storm shutter devices
  • Cell phone chargers
  • First aid kits