Governor Timothy M. Kaine has recognized May 24-30 as National Hurricane Preparedness Week and today reminded Virginians that the Commonwealth will mark its second annual Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from Monday, May 25, through Sunday, May 31.
“Hurricane season will soon be here and now is a good time to start thinking about what you will need if one of these devastating storms affects Virginia,” Governor Kaine said. “These tax breaks should help everyone buy the items they need to see them through the difficult days that follow the storms.”
During the sales tax holiday many items that are very useful during and after a hurricane will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local sales tax. Twenty-two items will be tax exempt, including batteries, flashlights, bottled water, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and generators that cost $1,000 or less. A complete list of tax-exempt products and frequently asked questions is available on the Tax Department’s Web site at www.tax.virginia.gov. All Virginia retailers who sell the tax-exempt products are required by law to waive the sales tax on these items during the seven-day exemption period.
“This sales tax holiday is the perfect time to go shopping and buy tax-exempt items that will help you get through a hurricane or other large storm when there are usually power outages and other problems,” said Tax Commissioner Janie Bowen.
Since 2003, Virginia has had 49 fatalities and suffered over $2 billion in damage from storms including Hurricane Isabel, Hurricane Jeanne, and Tropical Depression Gaston. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, which left more than 100 dead and damage of more than $1 billion in Virginia.
Governor Kaine also encouraged Virginians to take advantage of the resources available on Ready Virginia to ensure that they are prepared for a hurricane, other natural disaster, or any emergency. Ready Virginia provides information to help Virginians prepare emergency kits, make emergency plans, and stay informed in the event of an emergency.
During the sales tax holiday, retailers are also permitted to pay the sales tax themselves on any non-qualifying item or items they sell and pass the 5 percent savings on to customers. Virginia will have two additional sales tax holidays this year - for school supplies and clothing from Aug. 7-9, 2009, and for Energy Star and WaterSense products will from Oct. 9- 12, 2009.