If you plan to hit Memorial Day weekend sales, you can save even more money if you're shopping in Louisiana, Virginia or Texas. Those three states are holding special sales tax holidays.
The events in Virginia and Louisiana offer a variety of tax-free hurricane preparedness items. Texas shoppers won't have to pay sales tax on specific energy-efficient appliances.
The hurricane-themed sales are likely to get more attention this year because of this week's deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma. That tragedy underscores the need to make plans for coping with the aftermath of violent storms.
Virginia: May 25-31
Virginia merchants won't collect the 5 percent sales tax (4 percent goes to the state, 1 percent to localities) on generators that cost $1,000 or less and other supplies that cost $60 or less. Among the tax-free supplies are weather radios, tarpaulins, duct tape, fire extinguishers, food coolers, bottled water, first aid kits, flashlights and batteries to run the flashlights, as well as batteries for cell phones.
The Virginia Tax Department's website has a full list of storm-related items that are sales tax-free if purchased between Saturday, May 25, and Friday, May 31.
Louisiana: May 25, 26
Louisiana is offering similar relief from its 4 percent sales tax, but its holiday runs only from Saturday, May 25, through Sunday, May 26.
On those two days, Pelican State shoppers won't be charged sales tax on the first $1,500 of certain storm preparation items. These include portable self-powered lights, radios, tarps or other flexible waterproof sheeting, any gas or diesel fuel tank, batteries and generators.
A full list of tax-free items is on the Louisiana Department of Revenue website.
Texas: May 25-27
My home state of Texas also is holding a sales tax holiday over the three-day Memorial Day weekend (Saturday, May 25, through Monday, May 27), with taxes waived on certain energy efficient products.
These include air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less and refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less. State officials also are waiving sales tax on ceiling fans, incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs, clothes washers, dishwashers, dehumidifiers and programmable thermostats.
Generally, in order for the item to be exempt from the Lone Star State's 6.25 percent state sales tax, and local taxes that could push the rate up to 8 percent, the items must meet Energy Star guidelines. Details on exempt products can be found on the Texas Comptroller's website.
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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and a co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."