Prepare for the Hurricane Season by Shopping for Tax-Exempt Generators, Supplies

March 17, 2011  //  

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court, Richmond, VA 23236

Joel Davison (Department of Taxation) — (804) 786-3507
Bob Spieldenner (VDEM) — (804) 897-6510


Prepare for the Hurricane Season by Shopping for Tax-Exempt Generators, Supplies
— Virginia’s Third Sales Tax Holiday is May 25-31 —

RICHMOND, VA — To many Virginians the names Isabel, Floyd and Camille recall very unpleasant memories. And we all remember the devastation that Katrina caused in New Orleans and other areas in 2005.

These hurricanes and others remind us that it’s smart to be prepared when hurricane season arrives on June 1. Beginning this year, consumers can take advantage of a tax break when shopping for such products as generators, batteries, food-storage containers, first aid kits and even bottled water.

For the period Sunday, May 25, through Saturday, May 31, Virginia will hold its first Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. During the weeklong event, certain purchases will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local retail sales tax. Sales tax will not be charged on generators costing $1,000 or less, or on 22 other products selling for $60 or less each.

The “holiday,” approved by the 2007 General Assembly, will take place each year during the last week of May through 2012 after which the holiday is scheduled to expire. Virginia already has a sales tax holiday for school supplies and clothing in August, and another for energy-efficient appliances and products in October.

Information on the hurricane-preparedness holiday for both consumers and retailers is available on the Department of Taxation’s Web site at This includes policy guidelines for the tax holiday and a list of products that will be exempt from the sales tax during the week of the holiday. The agency’s Sales Tax Holiday Information Center also includes information on the other two sales tax holidays.

“As we’ve seen time and again, including recently with several tornadoes hitting the state, weather can be very unpredictable and end up causing a lot of damage and hardship,” said Tax Commissioner Janie E. Bowen. “Virginians should seriously consider equipping themselves for the upcoming hurricane season, and saving the 5 percent in the process is an added bonus.”

In addition to the exempt items, retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items they sell from May 25-31 and pass the 5 percent savings on to customers.

Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said: “All Virginians should take advantage of this tax-free opportunity to stock up on supplies they would need to make it through an emergency. Hurricane season starts June 1, and we should all be prepared.”

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund