Tax holiday set for the weekend

As the typical season for severe weather draws closer, Alabama residents will have a chance this weekend to stock up on severe weather preparedness items without paying the four-cent state sales tax.

Alabama’s third annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, Feb. 21 and will continue through midnight on Sunday, Feb. 23.

During this time, citizens can stock up on many items like batteries, first-aid kits and duct tape without paying state sales tax on those things.

The annual sales tax holiday was established through House Bill 436, which Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law in April 2012.

The event was a key recommendation of Bentley’s Tornado Recovery Action Council, which was appointed by the governor following the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak across the state, to improve the way the state is prepared for severe weather that could occur in the future.

The law makes eligible items exempt from state sales tax but counties and municipalities can also choose to waive their sales taxes during this time period as well.

In Franklin County, the cities of Russellville, Red Bay and Phil Campbell have all passed resolutions that state each municipality will participate in the sales tax holiday every year it is held.

“As a council, we decided to participate in this sales tax holiday each year because we know it is something that could be very beneficial to our citizens,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom, who served as the District 5 councilman when the resolution was passed in 2012.

“Knowing that you don’t have to pay sales tax on certain items might prompt someone to go buy these things that could end up really helping them, or even saving their lives, if severe weather ever strikes our area again.

“We want everyone to be as prepared as they can be because that preparedness can help ensure their safety.”

The Franklin County Commission also voted in May 2012 to participate in the sales tax holiday each year it was held, which insures countywide sales tax on the approved items will be lifted this weekend as well.

“Looking back at the severe weather we’ve faced in this county, we thought this was a good way to help ensure all our citizens are better prepared for the future,” Probate Judge Barry Moore said.

“We always want to do everything we can to make the well-being of the people of Franklin County our top priority.”

The following is the list of items that have a sales price of $60 or less per item that will be covered under the sales tax holiday legislation:

· Batteries: AAA-cell batteries, AA-cell batteries, C-cell batteries, D-cell batteries, 6-volt batteries, 9-volt batteries. (NOTE: coin batteries, automobile batteries and boat batteries are not exempt.)

· Cellular phone battery

· Cellular phone charger

· Portable self-powered or battery-powered radio, two-way radio, weather-band radio or NOAA weather radio

· Portable self-powered light source, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, or emergency glow sticks

· Tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible, waterproof sheeting

· Ground anchor system, such as bungee cords or rope, or tie-down kits

· Duct tape

· Plywood, window film or other materials specifically designed to protect window coverings

· Non-electric food storage cooler or water storage container

· Non-electric can opener

· Artificial ice, blue ice, ice packs, reusable ice

· Self-contained first aid kit

· Fire extinguisher

· Smoke detector

· Carbon monoxide detector

· Gas or diesel fuel tank or container

Portable generators and power cords that have a sales price of $1,000 or less will also be included.

For more information, visit www.revenue.alabama.gov/salestax/WPSalesTaxHol.cfm.

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