Avoid sales tax this weekend on water-efficient products

San Antonio residents who want to save water and money will have the chance to do so this weekend.

This Memorial Day weekend will be a tax-free holiday for purchase water-saving and water-saving products. Savings begin Saturday May 28 and continue through Monday May 30.

With San Antonio once again in drought and enveloping an unusually warm May, using water-saving tools is a good investment, said David Rodriguez, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Bexar County.

Drought is nothing new in Texas, he pointed out.

“We have these issues today, we’re going to have them tomorrow, and probably for years to come,” Rodriguez said. “But as good stewards of our water – water is a precious resource – we can be ready.”

There’s no limit to the number of eligible items Texas customers can buy this weekend, and they don’t need to give the seller an exemption certificate to buy duty-free items, according to the Texas Comptroller’s website.

Discount applies to eligible items purchased in-store, online, by phone, mail, custom order or otherwise during the period. For online purchases, as long as the item is purchased between Saturday and Monday from a seller who does business in Texas, the delivery date does not matter.

The Comptroller’s website encourages people to “support and buy from Texas businesses,” but the fine print acknowledges that duty-free purchases can be made at “any retailer doing business in this state.” Eligible products include those bearing a WaterSense label or logo, or other water-efficient products such as:

  • seeper or drip irrigation pipe
  • humidity control for a sprinkler or irrigation system
  • mulch
  • a rain barrel or other rain and moisture collection system
  • permeable ground cover 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 this weekend include building and construction materials, sprinklers, awnings or other items used to create shade, air conditioners or fans ceiling fans – although some air conditioners and ceiling fans can be purchased duty free as part of the Energy Star Sales Tax Waiver This weekend.

Soil, compost and mulch help save water because they have a sponge effect, holding water in place longer, Rodriguez explained.

Mulch also helps keep your plants cooler at their roots, said Karen Guz, director of water conservation at the San Antonio Water System.

San Antonio residents should also consider landscaping their property according to the rule of thirds – one-third grass (at most); one-third permeable material, meaning water flows through; and one-third plant material, Rodriguez said. Native plants are the most likely to be water-friendly, he added.

For San Antonio residents interested in changing up their yard landscaping, SAWS offers discounts on some purchases, Guz said.

Texas customers who pay sales tax on qualifying items during the sales tax exemption may request a refund of the tax paid from the seller. The seller must either grant the refund or provide a form for the buyer to file the refund request directly with the comptroller’s office.