Water-efficient goods tax-free Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 26, 2017 at 6:15 PM CDT
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It's a tax free weekend for energy-efficient products in the state of Texas. You can also buy products to conserve water tax-free as well.

"It's been raining lately, but we're never far out from the next drought," Jennifer Nations said. She's the Water Resource Coordinator for the City of College Station. Nations believes that it's important to conserve water year-round.

"We use groundwater resources for our drinking water in this community. Everybody in this community relies primarily on groundwater. We're all on the same aquifer, so it's important for everybody to share it and use it wisely," said Nations.

As an incentive to conserve water, the state of Texas passed a law in 2015 making certain goods tax-free during Memorial Day weekend. Stores encourage people to look for products with the blue water drop or the blue square marking it energy-efficient or water-efficient so they can get the tax-free deal.

"That includes faucets, shower heads, toilets, irrigation controllers. You can get rain barrels, you can get rain sensors," said Nations.

Other items included in the tax-free weekend are plants, composts, and mulch.

"The reason those are exempt for water efficiency is because compost is going to help add organic matter to the soil which improves water retention and then mulch also improves water retention," said Nations.

Chris Carter is the sales manager for the Lowe's Home Improvement in Bryan. He said Memorial Day Weekend is busy for the store.

"A lot of customers shop on the weekend to try to fix their yard up before Memorial Day parties or guests are coming into town and are trying to make their yard that much better for it," said Carter.

Tax-free weekend for the energy-efficient and water-efficient items runs from Saturday until the end of Memorial Day on Monday.

"The best time to start saving water is now. Don't wait until later, if you wanted to save water, just do it," said Nations.

You can also buy certain water-conserving products tax free during the holiday period. Unlike WaterSense-labeled items, these items are only exempt when you buy them for use at your residential property.

You can buy items tax free during the holiday that are used or planted for:

- conserving or retaining groundwater;

- recharging water tables; or

- decreasing ambient air temperature, and so limiting water evaporation.

Examples of items that qualify for the exemption include:

- a soaker or drip-irrigation hose

- a moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system

- mulch

- a rain barrel or an alternative rain and moisture collection system

- a permeable ground cover surface that allows water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points

- plants, trees and grasses

- water-saving surfactants

- soil and compost

Examples of items that do not qualify for the exemption include:

- construction/building materials

- awnings and other items used to create shade

- air conditioners*

- ceiling fans*

- sprinklers

*Certain air conditioners and ceiling fans can be bought tax free as part of the Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday during Memorial Day weekend.

You can buy, rent or lease only the following ENERGY STAR-labeled items tax free:

- air conditioners (with a sales price of $6,000 or less)

- refrigerators (with a sales price of $2,000 or less)

- ceiling fans

- incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs

- clothes washers

- dishwashers

- dehumidifiers

- programmable thermostats

Examples of items that do not qualify and are taxable, even if they are ENERGY STAR-labelled include:

- water heaters

- clothes dryers

- freezers

- stoves

- attic fans

- heat pumps

- wine refrigerators

- kegerators

- beverage chillers