Alabama’s eighth annual Severe Weather Sales Tax Holiday starts today, ends Sunday

Alabama’s eighth annual Severe Weather Sales Tax Holiday starts today, ends Sunday
The time to prepare is before severe weather strikes, like the tornadoes that struck east Alabama a year ago. (Mark Jerald / Alabama NewsCenter)

From Friday, Feb. 22, to Sunday, Feb. 24, Alabama is observing its eighth annual Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday.

The Alabama Retail Association is among those encouraging Alabamians to restock emergency supplies in homes, workplaces and vehicles during this three-day tax holiday.

Certain emergency preparedness items will be exempt from the state’s 4-percent state sales tax, and in some cities and counties, local taxes are waived on those items as well. It means shoppers can save as much as 10 percent on these items in some areas of the state.

To see if your communities have decided to participate, click on the 2019 Participating Cities and Counties link.

From 12:01 a.m. Feb. 22 to midnight Feb. 24, the tax-exempt items include the following priced at $60 or less:

  • Flashlights, lanterns
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Batteries
  • First-aid kits
  • Cell phone charger
  • Two-way radios
  • Manual can openers
  • Tarps and plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Tie-down kits, bungee cords or rope

Other tax-free items include: Coolers, ice packs, plywood, window film and smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors. Portable generators and power cords costing $1,000 or less are also tax-free.

Alabama is one of three states with a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday in 2019; the other states who have similar holidays are Texas and Virginia.

“Severe weather can occur at any time, in any season,” Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association, said. “The tax holiday helps Alabama consumers remember to stock and prepare emergency kits to be ready when storms strike.”

Local hardware stores are stocked with emergency preparedness items for the tax holiday, including Mary Carter Store in downtown Cullman.

Owner Raymond Young says that preparing for severe weather is personal for him, as Mary Carter Store itself has sustained significant damage from two separate tornados; once in the early ‘90s and most recently in 2011, which left much of downtown Cullman in disarray.

“That year, we were just giving people tarps and selling supplies, just doing anything in order to help, even though we suffered just as much damage,” said Raymond’s oldest son, Jeff, who also works at the store. “Now, we make sure we always have plenty of those items, and the tax holiday is a good time for families to stock up,” he added. Read more about how Mary Carter Store helps customer prepare for all weather situations.

Alabama Retail recommends having enough supplies in emergency kits to last 72 hours following a disaster. For information on what items to include in emergency kits, as well as steps to take before and after disasters, visit

Click here for a full list of tax-free items

Click here for the severe weather preparedness page at

Meteorologists James Spann and Meaghan Thomas show you what to include in your storm safety kit from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Related Stories