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Alabama’s storm tax holiday

By Kay Bell ·
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Alabama is remembering last spring's deadly tornadoes with a special sales tax holiday this weekend.

The state's first Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 6, and runs until midnight Sunday, July 8. During those three days, shoppers won't have to pay Alabama's general 4 percent sales tax on certain items.

The tax savings could be even larger if the city or county in which you shop also participates in the tax holiday. A few are opting out of this inaugural sales tax holiday, primarily because of the quick turnaround (the measure was finally approved in April) and because of the municipalities' and counties' fiscal concerns.

Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said his jurisdiction will continue to collect its 2 cents per dollar sales tax this weekend and also during the back-to-school tax holiday in August.  However, said Petelos, county officials hope to revisit tax holiday participation next year.

So what are the certain items that are tax-exempt this coming weekend?

Materials related to severe weather preparedness, such as portable lighting, radios and some communication devices and the batteries to operate them, as well as food storage items and tarpaulins, are free from sales tax as long as each item costs $60 or less. Generators priced at $1,000 or less also are not taxed.

Gov. Robert Bentley hopes the tax holiday will encourage people to plan for possible disasters. "If people have the emergency supplies they need, that will go a long way toward helping them weather any storm," said Bentley.

Annual weather, other tax holidays

Careful blog readers noted the Jefferson County manager's mention of another Alabama tax holiday on the horizon. It's one of 17 states that will be holding back-to-school no-tax days in late July and August. Bankrate will post a list of those events and tax-free highlights shortly.

Alabama residents also will want to mark their 2013 calendars for next year's severe weather tax holiday. It's scheduled for the last full weekend of February in conjunctions with the state's second annual Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Have you shopped at yours or a neighboring state's tax holiday? Was it a worthwhile, money-saving experience?

Stay on top of tax holidays as well as tips on ways to cut your state and federal tax bills by subscribing to Bankrate's free Weekly Tax Tip newsletter.

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