Stores across the commonwealth are stocking up with supplies to help people prepare for hurricane season. Starting this weekend, customers will get a little boost with a tax break.
The statewide sales tax holiday starts Saturday and runs until next Friday. People are encouraged to take advantage of the tax break and be ready for potential storms.
At the Lowe's Home Improvement store in Albemarle County they are setting out supplies that qualify. These include batteries, flashlights, first aid kits, smoke detectors and bottled water.
Customers will get a tax break as long as each item is $60 or less. Portable generators that cost $1,000 or less are also exempt from the 5 percent sales tax.
Lowe's representatives say it's better to stock up now - before it's too late.
"Just with all the things that have been going on in the country, with all the things that have happened, it's just being prepared for it. There's nothing worse than not being prepared, and if you're prepared, it seems to be a lot better for everybody," said Timothy McKee, Lowe's assistant manager.
This year's hurricane season starts June 1. Federal government forecasters announced Thursday that they expect three to six major hurricanes this Atlantic storm season.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management offers tips online to help you put together a family plan and supply kit for emergencies. Click here for the full list of items exempt from the sales tax this week.
Office of Governor Bob McDonnell MEDIA RELEASE
First-Hand Experience Warns Us to Prepare for Hurricane Season
~ State's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Is Great Way to Prepare ~
RICHMOND – The deadly tornadoes and massive storms sweeping the Midwest this week is an all-too-familiar reminder that Virginia must be prepared to face calamities of its own.
With the 2013 hurricane season knocking on the door, now is the perfect time to assess whether you and your family are prepared to face potential power outages, strong wind and rain, and little access to outside food and water.
"I hope people pay attention to this sales tax holiday and take the time to prepare their homes and themselves for whatever may come our way, while saving some money," said Governor Bob McDonnell. "In recent years, we've seen hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms and tornadoes in Virginia. Stocking up on water, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits and other essentials can make a big difference in an emergency."
Once you've checked your supplies, make a list of what you still need and, if you'd like to save some money, do your shopping during Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, which runs May 25-31. The holiday allows you to shop tax-free for many items you may need in an emergency.
The holiday exempts 22 categories of smaller items, including batteries, flashlights, bottled water, tarps, duct tape, cell-phone chargers, smoke detectors, and first aid kits. As long as each item costs $60 or less, it is exempt from sales and use tax. Portable generators and inverters priced at $1,000 or less are also exempt during the holiday. For a full list of tax-exempt products, answers to frequently asked questions, and guidelines for consumers and retailers, visit www.tax.virginia.gov.
During this seven-day period, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items and pass the 5 percent savings onto customers.
The 2013 General Assembly agreed that, beginning with the 2014 hurricane sales tax holiday, chainsaws selling for $350 or less, and chainsaw accessories selling for $60 or less per item would be included in the list of tax-exempt items. Taxpayers can look forward to this next year.
Go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov for information about putting together a family plan and supply kit for emergencies. The 2013 hurricane season begins June 1.
Virginia also has a sales tax holiday for school supplies and clothing in August, and one for Energy Star and WaterSense products in October.