Texas: Two sales tax holidays coming up

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Emergency preparation items

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, and ending at midnight on Monday, April 25, the Lone Star State is holding its Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday. During this time, purchases of many emergency preparation supplies are tax free, without a limit on quantity. Retailers will not require exemption certificates.

Here is the list of tax-exempt items and qualifying purchase prices:

Less than $3,000:

  • Portable generators

Less than $300:

  • Hurricane shutters
  • Emergency ladders

Less than $75:

  • Batteries, single or multipack (AAA cell, AA cell, C cell, D cell, 6 volt or 9 volt)
  • First aid kits
  • Fuel containers
  • Ground anchor systems and tie-down kits
  • Hatchets
  • Axes
  • Mobile telephone batteries and mobile telephone chargers
  • Non-electric coolers and ice chests for food storage
  • Non-electric can openers
  • Portable self-powered light sources (flashlights)
  • Portable self-powered radios, including two-way and weather band radios
  • Reusable and artificial ice products
  • Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Tarps and other plastic sheeting

The following supplies do not qualify for a tax exemption:

  • Batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles
  • Camping stoves
  • Camping supplies
  • Chainsaws
  • Plywood
  • Extension ladders
  • Stepladders
  • Tents
  • Repair or replacement parts for emergency preparation supplies
  • Services performed on, or related to, emergency preparation supplies

It should be noted that delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges are part of the sales price. If the emergency preparation supply being purchased is taxable, the delivery charge is also taxable.

For example, if, on the purchase of a $299 rescue ladder, which would be exempt because it is under the $300 cap, there is a $10 delivery charge that brings the total sales price to $309, tax is due on the full $309 because the total sales price of the ladder is more than $300.

Energy Efficient products

Over Memorial Day weekend, Texas will offer another sales tax holiday, this one for ENERGY STAR® energy efficient products. The tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 28, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30).

The Energy Star logo symbolizes the satisfaction of strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The logo may be located on the product itself, the packaging, or the Energy Guide label.

The products qualifying for the exemption are:

  • Air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less
  • Refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less
  • Ceiling fans
  • Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Programmable thermostats; the ENERGY STAR specification of programmable thermostats was suspended on Dec. 31, 2009, but any existing stock of ENERGY STAR labeled programmable thermostats offered for sale by retailers is still eligible for the exemption

Like with emergency preparation supplies, there is no limit on the number of qualifying items one can purchase during this sales tax holiday, and an exemption certificate is not required. In addition, delivery, shipping, handling or transportation charges connected to a sale also qualify for the exemption, even if stated separately, unless these additional charges take the total cost of an item over the price threshold set forth above. In that situation, the additional charge would render the purchase subject to sales tax after all.

The Energy Star tax-free holiday also applies to internet and catalog sales of eligible products, provided that:

(1) the item is paid for and delivered to the purchaser during the exemption period; or

(2) the purchaser orders and pays for the item and the retailer accepts the order during the exemption period for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

The retailer accepts an order when it has taken action to fill the order for immediate shipment, such as placing an "in date" stamp on a mail order, and issuing a confirmation verifying the date that the seller accepted the order. An order is considered "for immediate shipment" even if delivery or shipment may be delayed because of a backlog of orders, or because an item is temporarily out of stock, or on back-order by the seller.

Finally, installation charges may qualify for the exemption, depending on whether the items are permanently attached to or installed in real property, and whether the realty is residential or nonresidential.

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