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Memorial Day sales tax holidays for Texas, Virginia shoppers
Louisiana's hurricane supplies tax holiday set for last weekend in May

Attention shoppers. You can save some tax dollars thanks to upcoming sales tax holidays in Texas, Virginia and Louisiana.

Texas kicks off the May spate of tax-free shopping with its annual energy efficiency tax holiday on Memorial Day weekend.

Energy Star appliances and logo

Tax-free Texas shopping will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 23 -- and you can be sure some stores will have special openings as Friday night rolls into the holiday weekend -- and runs until 11:59 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday, May 25.

During these three days, Texans won't pay any state or local sales tax on certain energy efficient product purchases.

Eligible tax-free products during Texas' so-called Energy Star tax holiday include:

  • air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less,
  • refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less,
  • ceiling fans,
  • clothes washers,
  • dishwashers, and
  • incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.

Some programmable thermostats also might qualify. Although the federal Energy Star certification of these thermostats ended on Dec. 31, 2009, any existing stock offered for sale by Lone Star State retailers is still eligible for the exemption.

The Texas Comptroller reminds shoppers to look for the Energy Star logo or label on appliances or product packaging.

You can buy as many qualifying tax-free items as you need and/or your budget allows.

Virginia's spring tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, and ends at midnight on Sunday, May 31, 2015. During this week, a variety of products to help residents weather tropical storms will be tax-free.

Tropical Storm Ana NC-SC-Eastern Seaboard May 9 2015 via NASA_Goddard Space Flight Center-croppedThe timing is perfect, since the Atlantic and Gulf hurricane season officially begins June 1 and we've already had Tropical Storm Ana make landfall just south of Virginia earlier this month.

During these seven shopping days the last week of May, Virginians can pick up a wide variety of tax-free hurricane and emergency preparedness equipment.

Among the items for which the Old Dominion's sales tax will be waived are artificial and other reusable ice products; various types of batteries, including ones for your cell phones; radios, such as portable, two-way and weather band devices; tarpaulins and other waterproof sheeting; gas or diesel fuel tanks; storm shutters; chains saws; and first aid kits.

The qualifying products are categorized based on their costs. Some items that cost $60 or less make the cut. Others can be priced as high as $1,000. Check out Virginia's official and extensive list of tax-free hurricane-related items to make sure you don't miss any savings.

Also note, Virginia shoppers, there's some good and bad news when it comes to hurricane supply tax savings.

The good news is that the upcoming tax holiday is the first of two tax-free hurricane supply shopping periods in Virginia this year. The same storm-related products also will be tax-exempt during the state's early August tax holiday event. (I'll remind y'all of that as the date nears.)

But next week's seven-day storm preparation shopping extravaganza is the last time the tax-free event will be held in May. Under a new state law, beginning in 2016 Virginia will hold only its three-day August tax-free holiday.

Louisiana residents are well aware that 2015 is the 10-year anniversary of deadly and devastating Hurricane Katrina. That tragedy will likely be on the minds of shoppers as they stock up on hurricane-preparedness items and storm supplies the last weekend of May.

During the Pelican State's two-day annual holiday, which falls this year on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31, the first $1,500 of the sales price will be tax-free on each of the following items:

  • portable self-powered light source;
  • portable self-powered, two-way radio, or weather band radios;
  • tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting;
  • any ground anchor system or tie-down kit;
  • any gas or diesel fuel tank;
  • any package of AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt batteries; 
  • any cellular phone battery and any cellular phone charger;
  • any non-electric food storage cooler;
  • any portable generator used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage;
  • any storm shutter device;
  • any carbon monoxide detector; and
  • any blue ice product.

Louisiana Department of Revenue officials point out that car and boat batteries are not tax-free during this holiday weekend.

Also, say state officials, Louisiana residents don't have to rush to buy shutters or other coverings to protect their windows from Gulf storm damages. Since 2007, the state has exempted storm shutters and similar qualifying window protection devices from sales tax year-round.

Note, however, that Louisiana's sales tax holiday does not apply to hurricane supplies bought at any airport, hotel or motel, convenience store, or entertainment complex. I'm not sure who goes to an amusement park or casino to buy storm supplies, but just in case that's how you shop, now you know.

Also be aware, Louisiana shoppers, that you might still owe local sales taxes on hurricane products. The state sales tax holiday law allows, but does not require, local governmental subdivisions of the state to participate in the tax-free offerings.

So there you go, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana shoppers. Get your lists ready and stock up sales tax-free in the coming days of May.

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