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Gov’t opens tax free holiday for hurricane-readiness purchases

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi has signed into law House Bill 478, opening a tax-free holiday during the last weekend of May, to buy articles and equipment to prepare for the hurricane season that begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

“On June 1st we will start the hurricane season again and we already know that, given our island’s geographical location, we must always be prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

“For this reason, and so that people feel some relief in their pockets when preparing for this season, I signed this measure to exempt items necessary to attend to an emergency due to the impact of an atmospheric phenomenon on our island from the sales and use tax for a defined period of time,” Pierluisi said.

Experts have predicted that it will be an active season, with 19 named storms and “an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” according to the 2022 CSU Tropical Meteorology Project Forecast Schedule.

 According to the newly signed law, the following list will be tax-exempt during the last weekend of May:

  • Containers, tanks and cisterns for fuel and water;
  • Storm shutters;
  • Fittings — anchoring and screws;
  • Wood beams and untreated panels;
  • Ropes and moorings;
  • Construction zinc panels;
  • Nonperishable food;
  • Water;
  • Cleaning and sanitizing items; and,
  • Parts and products for repair and maintenance of generators and emergency solar equipment.

Meanwhile, the following hurricane-preparedness equipment is also included:

  • Portable generators whose selling price does not exceed $3,000;
  • Individual batteries or packs (AAA battery, AA battery, C cell, D cell, 6-volt or 9-volt);
  • Battery-operated or alternative energy lamps, flashlights, candles, and matches;
  • Emergency solar kit;
  • Tools such as drills, disk saws, hammers and other equipment related to securing the property;
  • Gas stoves and burners;
  • Gas in cylinders and tanks;
  • Emergency or rescue ladders;
  • Hurricane shutters;
  • Axes and machetes;
  • on-electronic can openers;
  • Portable coolers to store ice and food;
  • Fire extinguishers;
  • Battery-operated smoke or carbon monoxide detectors;
  • First aid kits;
  • Plastic containers or containers for fuel dispatch;
  • Ground anchoring systems or ground tie kit;
  • Reusable or artificial freezing items;
  • Mobile phone batteries and mobile phone chargers;
  • Portable radios;
  • Battery or alternative energy operated fans;
  • Portable stoves;
  • Propane gas; and
  • Tarps or other flexible waterproof material of a similar nature.

The sales and use tax exemption for these items and readiness equipment during the determined period will apply to lay-aways and rainchecks may be used.

Similarly, the law also applies to purchases made by mail, phone, email, or internet as long as the store or platform is located in Puerto Rico and is delivered during the exemption period. Purchases with certificates or gift cards will also qualify for the tax exemption.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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