News Releases

July 18, 2011

Consumers Can Save During Missouri's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 5-7

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's 8th Annual "Back-to-School" Sales Tax Holiday begins Aug. 5, providing all shoppers the opportunity to save money on clothes, computers 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 begins at midnight on Friday, Aug. 5, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 7.  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.

"Especially with larger purchases such as computers, families and students can begin to plan what they need to buy now and save when they make qualified purchases during the holiday in August," said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.  "The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday benefits families because it gives them the opportunity to save more than 4 percent on purchases of clothes, school supplies and computer items."

The Department has produced a short video that gives a general introduction to the holiday.  It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W8qA5DbRcA.

Missourians aren't the only ones who can save during the holiday. 

"Just because a person doesn't live in Missouri doesn't mean that he or she can't save money during the sales tax holiday weekend," Barragán-Scott said.  "I encourage our neighbors from Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and the other border states to come to Missouri and save money on school supplies, clothes, personal computers and other items while they shop here."

The 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, 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.  School supplies do 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 higher in many Missouri cities and counties.

"When local governments participate in the holiday, the savings can add up to as much as 8 or 9 percent," she said. 

A total of 169 cities, 50 counties and 62 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 http://dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/taxholiday/school/. Other questions can be directed to [email protected] or (573) 751-2836. 

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