Let the back-to-school shopping begin. If you need a reason to go on a retail therapy binge this weekend, back-to-school buys are tax-free in Missouri.

The state’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday weekend runs through Sunday for state sales tax, as well as sales taxes in all Missouri cities, counties, and special tax districts on certain items. This time around, Missouri retailers will not be charging state and local sales taxes on certain school supplies, computers, clothing, diapers, and shoes.

Lindsey Davis, general manager of East Hills Shopping Center in St. Joseph, said her stores are ready for the big weekend, with plenty of help and special events to go around.

“Tax free weekend in Missouri really is about the second busiest weekend in the whole year typically,” she said. “Other than your Black Friday after Thanksgiving, you know that weekend right before Christmas, and then it’s tax free weekend.”

Some Missouri retailers may even be expanding their business hours for this special weekend.

Davis said waiting until the last minute on popular items and sizes could cost you.

“Of course backpacks, I think that, you know, the good selection of name brand backpacks, or just backpacks that fit what your family needs, go off the shelf really quick. But what people really need to consider are the basic items,” said Davis. “I think often people, you know, forget that popular sizes and basic items like denim, things like that, shoes will get sold out very fast. You know, so if your kiddo has kind of an average size, that’s really what you need to target during this back-to-school season just as soon as possible.”

She said some accessories qualify and some do not.

“Accessories, I would say, is kind of where we would say there’s a gray area. You know, so a belt or socks, you know, things like that would be tax free. However, you know, some handbags or other accessories, like fashion jewelry, would not be tax free,” said Davis.

During the sales tax holiday, state and local sales tax will not be charged on the following items:

Clothing that does not have a taxable value of more than $100. Eligible clothing items include any article of apparel intended to be worn on or about the body, including footwear and disposable diapers for infants or adults. Cloth and other material used to make school uniforms or other school clothing are also included;

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, writing instruments, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, chalk, maps, globes, handheld calculators, graphing calculators that do not have a taxable value of more than $150, and computer software that does not have a taxable value of more than $350;

Personal computers that do not cost more than $1,500 and computer peripheral devices that do not cost more than $1,500. 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, a display monitor, and a keyboard. Peripheral devices include items such as a disk drive, memory module, compact disk drive, daughterboard, digitizer, microphone, modem, motherboard, mouse, multimedia speaker, printer, scanner, single-user hardware, single-user operating system, soundcard, or video card.

Not included are watches, watchbands, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, belt buckles, radios, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, portable or desktop telephones, copiers or other office equipment, furniture, and fixtures.

The theme of the shopping center’s weekend is “Tax-free and Turtles: See green. Save green.” Giant rescue tortoises will be there for kids and adults to check out.

“A lot of retailers, malls just like us, we just try to make a whole fun weekend of it. “Of course because we want to earn your business, so just look for other fun things going on along with it,” said Davis.

The great part about this weekend is you do not have to be a Missouri resident or student to save on select back-to-school items.

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