Texas Politics

Texans: Need first aid kits, batteries, ice chests? Get them tax-free April 22-24

First aid kits
First aid kits KRT

You just never know when there’s going to be an emergency.

That’s why you should make sure to stock up on supplies that might help if there is one.

State lawmakers created a sales tax holiday to help Texans doing just that: the Emergency Preparation Sales Tax Holiday.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 22, until midnight Monday, April 24, Texans can stock up on first aid kits, batteries, fuel containers, hand cranked flashlights and more — all tax-free.

“Unfortunately, we can’t predict when the next fire, flood or tornado may strike,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement. “But we can be prepared, and this tax holiday helps Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations before they happen.”

There is no limit on the number of items you can purchase.

Items on the list include batteries, first aid kits, axes, hatchets, cell phone chargers, ice chests, self-powered radios and flashlights, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, non-electric can openers, tarps and more — as long as each item costs less than $75.

Also on the list: portable generators that cost less than $3,000 and hurricane shutters and emergency ladders that cost less than $300, according to the comptroller’s office.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials recommend that all families have an emergency supply kit in case of any disaster.

“Preparing and maintaining an emergency supply kit is a simple and effective way to sustain you and your family following a disaster,” according to the DPS’s division of emergency management. “Officials and relief workers cannot immediately reach everyone in the aftermath of a disaster. It may take hours or even days for help to arrive.

“An emergency supplies kit contains the tools your family needs to survive during that period.”

Among the items emergency officials recommend each family have: bottled water, non-perishable foods, can opener, first-aid kit, a whistle, a battery-operated radio and extra batteries, a flashlight and extra batteries, a fire extinguisher, clothing, cash and plastic sheeting and duct tape.

Many of those items can purchased tax-free during this weekend’s sales tax holiday.

Comptroller officials estimate shoppers will save around $1.5 million in state and local sales taxes during this tax holiday, which first went into effect last year.

But those officials also note that some items specifically do not qualify for the tax exemption, including camping stoves and supplies, chainsaws, plywood, extension ladders, tents and batteries for cars and boats.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley


Texas has several sales-tax-free holidays. Some lawmakers are trying to add items to the lists of tax-free items. The current sales tax holidays this year:

Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday, April 22-24. This holiday lets shoppers in Texas shop tax free for items such as portable generators, storm protection devices, first-aid kits and other related items.

Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday, May 27-29. This weekend lets Texans buy energy efficient items such as air conditioners, clothes washers, ceiling fans, dishwashers and certain types of light bulbs tax free.

Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday, May 27-29. Texans may buy water conservation or water efficient products — such as a drip-irrigation hose, plants, mulch, even rain barrels — tax free this weekend.

“Back to School” Sales Tax Holiday, Aug. 11-13. Parents, students and other shoppers may head to the stores to shop tax free for certain back to school clothes, shoes, school backpacks and other supplies.

Source: Texas Comptroller’s Office