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Home Hardening Incentives

Tax-Free Upgrades Help Harden Your Home

Person repairing garage door

Who doesn’t like a good sale?

The Florida Legislature is passing on sales tax savings to those planning on making improvements to hurricane-harden their homes.

Alongside exemptions for farm trailers and power tools, lawmakers in the 2022 legislative session eliminated the 6% state sales tax for disaster-related purchases to make hurricane-hardening more attractive to Floridians.

The exemption, which went into effect July 1, provides a two-year temporary sales tax break for impact-resistant windows and doors (including garage doors). The hope, backers say, is to entice Floridians into spending less now to save more later.

Eligible products include windows, doors and garage doors that are either labeled impact-resistant or have an impact-resistant rating. There are no quantity or price limits on the items, which can be purchased in-store or online. Items purchased with gift cards are also tax exempt. Eligible items must be purchased before the exemption expires on June 30, 2024.

Florida is especially vulnerable to hurricanes and experiences storms later in the year than any other area of the U.S. coastline. In any given year, there is a 46% chance that a hurricane will impact the state, according to an analysis accompanying the legislation.

Estimates predict that a Category 1 hurricane hitting Florida would cause between $360 million and $718 million in damages. Floridians can expect to suffer $1.4 billion in losses once every five years, although these numbers could rise due to increases in hurricane size and intensity.

To mitigate losses, retrofitting buildings with impact-resistant doors can help reduce the damage caused by hurricanes. During a hurricane, high winds can pick up objects such as tree limbs, building debris and trash cans. Once breached, water and wind not only damage contents, but they may also provide the internal pressure needed to break a building apart.

Installing impact-resistant openings protects homes from flying debris that can break standard materials. Along with other hurricane-proofing precautions, these improvements can make storm recovery much easier.

To assist, the Florida Department of Revenue has put together several informative documents, a detailed explanation of the program and a handy list of frequently asked questions regarding eligibility, timing of purchase, returns and other details.

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