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School and Emergency Supplies Are Sales Tax-Free Through Sunday

This weekend, locals can stock up on virtually everything needed to batten down the hatches in the event of a natural disaster, or to go back to school, without paying Virginia sales tax.

Hurricane season, which will last through Nov. 30, is about to reach its peak, with 15-21 tropical systems potentially forming this year. People can get a host of hurricane readiness products sales tax-free through Sunday.

The tax exemption is part of Virginia’s Sales Tax Holiday, when folks can buy certain emergency and school supplies, as well as energy-saving devices, sales tax-free. The holiday started this morning (Friday) and will last until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. People can save between 3.5-7% this weekend, according to a video about the holiday produced last year.

In addition to hurricanes, over the years, Arlingtonians have had to be prepared for massive floods, hurricanes, earthquakes big and small, and even tornadoes, as well as the local power outages caused by high winds and rainstorms over the last year.

The list of hurricane-preparedness essentials includes some larger items, if they’re less than $1,000:

  • Portable generators and generator power cords
  • Inverters and inverter power cables
  • Photovoltaic devices that generate electricity

Gas-powered chain saws qualify if they’re less than $350, and chain saw accessories less than $60 are also exempt.

The list includes smaller items useful for most emergencies:

  • First aid kits
  • Storm shutter devices
  • Batteries and chargers for cell phones and all batteries except those for cars and boats
  • Portable, battery-operated or self-powered radios and light sources
  • Tarps
  • Bungee cords and rope
  • Tie down kits
  • Duct tape
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Ice packs and reusable ice
  • Water storage containers
  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Bottled water
  • Manual can openers

Other home safety products include:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Smoke detectors
  • Fire extinguishers

Qualifying school supplies must cost $20 or less per item and qualified clothing and footwear must cost less than $100.

With back to school around the corner, folks can buy anything from scissors, tape and glue to socks, shoes and uniforms, as well as hand sanitizing soap and disinfecting wipes. Other cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, such as masks, however, are exempt.

Energy Star or WaterSense products, such as toilets, faucets and refrigerators, are eligible of they cost less than $2,500 per item and are purchased for noncommercial home or personal use only.

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