Students and parents are planning for the upcoming school year, which begins in August. However, those ready to purchase clothes and school supplies might save some money by waiting a little bit longer.
Now in its seventh year, Missouri’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday is set for August sixth through eighth — the weekend after next.
Ted Farnen with the Department of Revenue says it benefits more than just Missouri families and students. Anyone can catch a break on computers, office supplies and clothing.
During this time period, the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax will not be assessed on certain purchases made in Missouri. Local governments can participate in the holiday and forego local sales tax collection or can opt out of the holiday and maintain local tax revenue during the holiday.
“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday benefits families because it gives them the opportunity to save more than 4 percent on the purchases of many clothing, school supply and computer items,” said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. “Families and students can begin to plan what they need to buy now and save when they make qualified purchases during the first weekend in August.”
The director also noted that Missourians aren’t the only ones who can save during the holiday.
“You don’t have to be a Missouri resident to benefit during the sales tax holiday weekend,” she said. “People from Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the other border states are more than welcome to come to Missouri and save money on school supplies, clothes, personal computers and other items while they shop here.”
The appropriate sales tax will not be charged on the following items during the holiday:
*Clothing that does not have a value of more than $100. The state’s definition of clothing includes traditional apparel, including footwear, which is worn on or about the body. It also includes material to make school uniforms or other school clothing. It does NOT include accessories such as watches, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands and belt buckles.
*School supplies, not exceeding $50 per purchase, that are used in a standard classroom for educational purposes. School supplies include, but are not limited to, textbooks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, handheld calculators, chalk, maps and globes. The definition for school supplies does NOT include watches, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, portable telephones, copiers or other office equipment.
*Personal computers that don’t cost more than $3,500 and computer peripheral devices that don’t exceed $3,500. A personal computer can be a laptop, desktop or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit, random access memory, a storage drive, display monitor, keyboard and other related devices. Peripheral devices include items such as a disk drive, memory module, CD drive, microphone, modem, motherboard, mouse, speakers, printer, scanner, sound card or video card. Computer software is considered a school supply and is free from sales tax if its value is less than $350.
Although anyone making qualified purchases does not have to be a student to benefit from the holiday, the sales tax exemption event is commonly referred to as the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday because it occurs near the beginning of the traditional school year for most students.
Barragán-Scott also noted that while the state’s temporary waiver of Missouri’s sales tax will apply statewide, the savings for consumers will be much higher than that in many Missouri cities and counties.
“In many areas the savings will be much more than 4 percent because the local sales taxes will also be eliminated on qualified purchases,” she said. “If a city, county or special district hasn’t opted out of participating, the total sales taxes not applied could be as high as 8 or 9 percent.”
A total of 171 cities, 51 counties and 46 special districts have voted not to participate in the holiday. Visit the DOR website for a list of the local governments that have opted out of the holiday and the answers to frequently asked questions about the holiday, or call (573) 751-2836.