Back-to-School Sales-Tax Holiday under way

Today — Aug. 3 — marks the beginning of Missouri’s ninth annual Back-to-School Sales-Tax Holiday — a time for shoppers in Missouri to save money on computers, clothes and school supplies.

By state law, the sales tax holiday begins on the first Friday in August and continues through the following Sunday. This year, the three-day holiday runs through Sunday, Aug. 5. During this time, 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 increase the savings for shoppers or opt out of the holiday and maintain local tax revenue during the holiday.

“If you need a computer, school supplies or clothes, now would be a good time to begin planning to buy these items during the sales tax holiday,” Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, stated in a news release. “Saving more than 4 percent is significant, especially on more expensive items like computers.”

The state sales tax will not be charged on the following items during the holiday:

• Clothing that does not have a value of more than $100. Eligible clothing includes standard items of apparel worn on or about the body, and includes footwear. It also includes material to make school uniforms or other school clothing. It does not include accessories such as watches, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, • School supplies, not exceeding $50 per purchase, that are used in a standard classroom for educational purposes. School supplies include textbooks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, handheld calculators, chalk, maps and globes. School supplies do not include 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 commonly is 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 higher in many Missouri cities and counties.

“When local governments and special taxing districts participate in the holiday, the savings can add up to 7 or 8 percent and even more,” she stated. 

A total of 166 cities, 49 counties and 71 special districts have chosen not to participate in the holiday. A list of the local governments that have opted out of the holiday and the answers to frequently asked questions about the holiday can be accessed at