Hurricane Preparedness Equipment Holiday FAQs
General and Consumer Questions
When will Virginia's Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday take place?
The Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is a recurring event, beginning every year at 12:01 a.m. on May 25 and ending at midnight on May 31.
What items will be exempt from the retail sales and use tax during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday?
In general, generators costing $1,000 or less, gas-powered chain saws with a selling price of $350 or less, chain saw accessories and other supplies costing $60 or less, as specified in the Guidelines will be exempt from the sales tax during the holiday period.
Would solar, hand-cranked or other devices that generate electricity be exempt?
Yes, so long as they have a sales price of $1,000 or less.
Bottled Water and Water Storage Containers
Is there a size restriction on bottled water that qualifies for the exemption?
There are no size restrictions on bottled water that qualifies for the exemption.
Does the exemption apply to both single bottles and multi-packs?
Single bottles of water as well as multi-packs of bottles can be purchased exempt of the tax during the emergency preparedness sales tax holiday.
Does the exemption available for bottled water include water sold through vending machines?
Yes. However, vending machine retailers must be able to document that the water was actually sold during the sales tax holiday.
Does flavored or carbonated water qualify for the exemption?
Yes. Flavored and carbonated water qualify for the exemption.
What is a water storage container?
A water storage container is any water barrel, water bucket, canteen, water can, water cooler, or other container appropriate for the storage of water.
Would a battery operated can opener qualify for the exemption?
Yes. Battery-operated can openers will qualify for the exemption.
Candles and Lanterns
Are candles covered by the exemption?
No. The exemption does not apply to any type of candles.
Does the exemption apply only to battery operated lanterns, or would kerosene lanterns also qualify?
The exemption will only apply to battery-operated lanterns.
Are any food items, such as nonperishable canned goods, exempted from sales tax during the holiday?
No. The legislation under which the Hurricane Preparedness Holiday was enacted does not provide an exemption for purchases of food.
Food Storage Coolers
Do insulated food storage lunch bags qualify as nonelectric food storage coolers?
Yes, for purposes of the Hurricane Preparedness Holiday, insulated food storage lunch bags will qualify as nonelectric food storage coolers.
Are gasoline cans included in the exemption? What about propane tanks?
Yes. Empty gasoline, diesel, and propane fuel tanks or containers with a selling price of $60 or less are included under the exemption for hurricane preparedness equipment.
Is plywood purchased for the purpose of covering windows to serve as a storm shutter included in the exemption?
No. Plywood purchased for the purpose of covering windows to serve as a storm shutter is not eligible for exemption during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. The statute defines "storm shutter" as materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purpose of preventing window damage from storms.
What items are considered "chain saw accessories?"
Chain saw accessories are limited to the following items:
• Chain saw bar and nose lubricants
• Two-cycle motor oil
• Chain sharpeners and files
• Carrying cases and scabbards
• Safety apparel, including chaps, gloves, hearing protectors, helmets, and protective glasses
• Chain saw repair parts
Questions for Retail Dealers
I operate a drugstore that carries some of the items that qualify for exemption during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, such as batteries and coolers. Must I participate in the holiday?
Yes. All retailers who sell qualifying items must participate in the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. Retailers are not permitted to elect not to participate on the sale of qualifying items. Any dealer who erroneously collects the sales or use tax on nontaxable transactions must remit to the Department of Taxation such erroneously or illegally collected tax unless he can show that the tax has been refunded to the purchaser or credited to the purchaser's account.
I am a dealer who sells both items that qualify for the exemption and items that do not. May I absorb the tax on all items that do not qualify for the exemption during the sales tax holiday?
Yes. During the sales tax holiday, dealers are permitted to absorb the sales tax on all other items sold during the holiday period. Although Virginia law generally does not permit retailers to advertise that they will absorb sales or use tax due, during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, and the fourteen days immediately preceding May 25, dealers may advertise that during the sales tax holiday, they plan to absorb the tax on any or all nonqualifying items. The dealer is responsible for remitting that tax to the Department of Taxation.
Can customers use a manufacturer's coupon or rebate offer to reduce the sales price of an item for purposes of determining whether an item falls under the $60 or $1,000 caps for qualifying products during the holiday period?
A manufacturer's coupon or third party coupon constitutes a reduction in sales price for purposes of the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. However, a rebate occurs after a sale and does not constitute a reduction in sales price. The amount of the rebate is not considered when determining whether an item is eligible for the exemption.
Can a customer purchase an extended warranty, providing for the provision of repair parts and labor exempt during the Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, as long as the item purchased under warranty qualifies for exemption?
No. The sale of an extended warranty, which provides for the provision of repair parts and labor, will not qualify for exemption, even if the item purchased under warranty is eligible for exemption during the holiday. The sale of an extended warranty which provides for the provision of labor only can be purchased exempt of the retail sales and use tax, as such sales constitute the sale of a service, which is nontaxable in Virginia.