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Florida’s Tax-Free Holiday for Hurricane Supplies Is Back

As hurricane season approaches, Florida residents can take advantage of the first of two disaster preparedness sales tax holidays to save on hurricane supplies. With forecasts predicting a turbulent 2024 Atlantic hurricane season ahead, now is the time to stock up on essentials, including fuel tanks, batteries, coolers, and even pet supplies.

Read on to learn about Florida’s tax-free hurricane prep holiday, why hurricane preparedness is crucial for recovery, the items eligible for exemption, and tips to make the most of this holiday.

What is Florida’s Tax-Free Hurricane Preparation Holiday?

The Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday was first introduced in 2006 and has been approved by the Florida Legislature every year since 2017. Passed yet again this year and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, the sales tax holiday starts on Saturday, June ,1 and runs through Friday, June 14 to encourage residents to stock up on essential supplies to prepare for hurricanes. A second exemption period from Saturday, August 24, through Friday, September 6 provides another opportunity for residents to replenish supplies.

Economists estimate the holidays save shoppers $80.2 million that would’ve otherwise been spent on sales tax.

Hurricane Supplies that Qualify for the Tax-Free Holiday

During the hurricane preparedness tax holidays, families can purchase household items, energy supplies, construction materials, and pet supplies without the burden of sales tax. The following items qualify during Florida’s tax-free holidays:

Household Items
  • Reusable ice
  • Portable self-powered light sources
  • Portable, self-powered radios, two-way radios, weather-band radios
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Smoke detectors or smoke alarms
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Energy Supplies
Energy Supplies
  • Portable power banks 
  • Batteries, including rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 6-volt, 9-volt) 
  • Portable generators 
Construction Materials
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting 
  • Ground anchor systems
Animal Care Items
  • Dog and cat food 
  • Collapsible or travel food or water bowls  
  • Cat litter pans 
  • Pet waste disposal bags 
  • Hamster or rabbit substrate 
  • Leashes, collars, muzzles 
  • Pet pads 
  • Cat litter 
  • Pet beds 
  • Portable pet kennels or pet carriers 
  • Over-the-counter pet medications  

For a complete list of qualifying items by cost, refer to this resource from the Florida Department of Revenue. It’s also important to note that the sales tax holiday excludes the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items and does not apply to sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. 

For those Florida residents looking to make more substantial hurricane mitigation improvements, June 30 marks the end of the sales tax exemption period for impact-resistant doors, garage doors, and windows, which began in July 2022. 

Why Hurricane Readiness Matters 

Florida has experienced more landfalling hurricanes than any other state since the Saffir/Simpson scale was introduced in 1851, according to the National Hurricane Center. In fact, some of the most destructive and devastating hurricanes recorded in the United States have hit Florida, resulting in damages exceeding $450 billion since the early 20th century.  

By contrast, disaster preparedness is both cost effective and can help save money in the long run. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, investing $1 in mitigation can save as much as $13 in recovery costs. Low-investment measures like trimming trees and bushes, installing hurricane shutters, and storing or anchoring outdoor furniture may reduce the damage caused by high wind speeds and wind-borne objects, which can cost $2,000 to $10,000 in repairs.  

Self-powered energy sources and reusable ice might seem small in the scheme of things, but these supplies often make a significant difference in the immediate aftermath of a widespread disaster. For more tips on how to prep for a hurricane, use our hurricane preparedness checklist.   

How to Make the Most of Florida’s Tax-Free Holidays

Stocking up on emergency supplies without sales tax can lead to significant savings, helping you protect your home and family during hurricane season and better prepare for potential storms or emergencies. Here’s how you can take full advantage of the sales tax holiday:

  1. Plan Ahead: Review and update your disaster preparedness plan, including evacuation routes. Then create a list of essential disaster preparedness items for your household, such as batteries, flashlights, and portable generators.
  2. Research Eligible Items: Familiarize yourself with qualifying items for the sales tax holiday. Be aware of any exclusions or limitations on the sales tax holiday, such as restrictions on certain types of batteries or generators.
  3. Shop Early: Avoid the last-minute rush by shopping early to ensure the items you want are available.
  4. Maximize Savings: Take advantage of the tax-free period to purchase high-cost items, such as generators or hurricane shutters, which can lead to significant savings.
  5. Stock Up: Purchase essential items to last throughout hurricane season. This includes items like batteries, pet food, and other emergency supplies.

While you’re preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, remember that you often need flood insurance to cover water damage from storm surge, and in most cases it must be added on to a homeowners insurance policy. Ask your insurance representative for more details.