Severe Weather Sales Tax Holiday

Tax holiday

Alabama shoppers will be able to purchase severe weather preparedness supplies tax free from Friday, Feb. 21, to Sunday, Feb. 23. During the three-day tax holiday, consumers can save money while stocking up on needed supplies. The recent winter storms highlighted the need for Alabamians to have some of these supplies, not only in their homes but also in their vehicles.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday to midnight Sunday, Alabama’s four-percent sales tax is waived on common disaster supplies that cost $60 or less, including:

Other tax-free items include: Coolers, ice packs and smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors, as well as generators costing $1,000 or less. For a full list of the tax-free items, go to:

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


  • The tax-free weekend purposely follows Severe Weather Awareness Week in Alabama (Feb. 16 – 21 this year). The goal is to encourage advance planning and increased awareness to help Alabama residents survive deadly storms and to make that preparation less costly for consumers.
  • The first severe weather sales tax holiday occurred in July 2012. The Alabama Legislature created the tax holiday in the wake of the deadly April 2011 tornado outbreak.
  • The tax holiday occurs each year on the final full weekend in February. The July occurrence was a one-time event.
  • 226 city and county governments also waive their sales tax on the select emergency supplies, which adds up to as much as 10 percent savings for consumers in some areas of the state.
  • Alabama is one of three states with a severe weather preparedness sales tax holiday. Louisiana and Virginia hold their emergency preparedness sales tax holidays in May.
  • The American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend having enough supplies in emergency kits to last 72 hours including the covered items listed in the columns above, plus water, food, prescription medications, cash and important documents.
  • Tornado season in Alabama stretches from March to August, the time when unsettled weather is most prevalent. The last confirmed tornado in Alabama occurred May 17, 2013, in Limestone County. Our state currently is experiencing the fourth-longest tornado-free streak since record keeping began in 1950. Our tornado risk fluctuates vastly. In 2011 for instance, our state experienced145 tornado outbreaks that caused almost $4 billion in property damage and claimed the lives of 246 people.
  • Hurricane season lasts from June to November. Alabama’s last brush with a hurricane occurred in August 2012 with Hurricane Isaac.
  • Putting a protective layer on windows prevents storm damage. A common tornado misconception is to open windows to equalize the pressure inside and outside the home, but an open window is a direct gateway for high-speed debris, and can actually cause the house to become pressurized, like blowing air into a balloon.

Gov. Robert Bentley chose to promote this weekend’s tax holiday at a news conference today (Feb. 20, 2014) at the Lowe’s at 1950 East Blvd. in Montgomery. Thanks to store manager James Baker and Bart Knight, Lowe’s market director, for welcoming the governor and other dignitaries.


ABOVE: James Baker, the Montgomery Lowe’s store manager, and Rick Brown, president of the Alabama Retail Association, talk before a severe weather sales tax holiday news conference.