Prepare for disasters or just stock up for regular life during sales tax break starting Saturday

The disaster preparedness sales tax holiday presents an opportunity to save on everything from pet food to power generators.

“Disaster” and “holiday” are not words you normally want to see in the same phrase, but there’s no downside for consumers during the state’s two-week disaster preparedness sales tax holiday that starts Saturday.

Items ranging from paper towels to 50-pound pet food bags to power generators costing up to $3,000 come with no state sales tax. This is the second, two-week stretch this year where consumers can take advantage of the savings. That’s 14 more no-tax days for these items than last year.

Americans use many of these items daily anyway, but there’s an extra inducement out there. The National Hurricane Center is showing one named storm and two disturbances in the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s certainly high season to get prepared.

“As we saw last year with Hurricane Ian, a disaster can bring a host of needs to people in its path. Advanced preparation can help keep people, homes, and pets safe when disaster strikes,” said Jim Zingale, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Revenue, at the time the holiday was announced as part of the biggest tax break in the state’s modern history.

“The 2023 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday helps Floridians save money while gathering essential supplies,” he added.

A full list of eligible tax-free items is available here. Floridians can find a full disaster supply kit checklist here.

This sales tax holiday, in combination with the last one that ran from May 27 to June 9, is expected to save residents a combined $144 million. That’s more than five times the $25.6 million residents saved during last year’s disaster preparedness tax holiday, according to state officials.

The disaster preparedness sales tax holiday is one of a bonanza of sales tax holidays that were announced right around the time Gov. Ron DeSantis threw his hat into the ring for the Republican presidential nomination.

The “Tool Time” sales tax holiday starts Sept. 2 and ends Sept. 8, putting items such as work gloves, safety vests, work boots, ladders and power tools for sale sans state sales tax. A complete list is here.

No state sales taxes will be charged at least until June 30, 2024 for the following:

ENERGY STAR appliances: Washers and dryers worth $1,500 or less, water heaters worth $1,500 or less and refrigerators and freezers worth $4,500 or less with the rating from the federal Environmental Protection Agency won’t be subject to the state’s sales tax, offering an expected $79 million in consumer savings.

— Gas ranges and cooktops: Anything fueled by combustible gas like natural gas, propane, butane liquefied petroleum or other flammable gas, not counting the outdoor kind, is exempt from sales taxes, saving consumers $6.3 million.

Also, at the conclusion of last Session, permanent sales tax breaks were announced for the following:

— Items for child rearing and tending the elderly: Breaks on diapers, including those for elderly adults with incontinence; baby and toddler products, including clothes, cribs, strollers, monitors, changing tables, breast pumps, wipes and other products are estimated to save consumers $186.2 million per year.

— Oral hygiene: Eliminating sales tax on toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash is projected to save consumers a collective $39.8 million a year.

— Firearm safety and storage devices: Axing sales tax on firearm safes, firearm lockboxes, firearm cases, devices to store a firearm, trigger locks and cable locks are going to save consumers $4.5 million, according to state projections.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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