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Friday begins Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

While this Friday marks the beginning of Missouri’s 9th annual “Back-to-School” Sales Tax Holiday, most Parkland shoppers will have to go elsewhere this week to get a full tax break on the purchase of 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 begins at midnight on Friday, Aug. 3, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 5. During this time period, the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax will not be assessed on certain purchases made in Missouri. While that tax break applies statewide, local governments have the choice of participating in the holiday to increase the savings for shoppers, or opting out and maintaining local tax revenue.

Area counties opting out of the tax holiday include St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve and Iron. Participating are Madison and Washington counties.

The only St. Francois County cities not appearing on the “opt out list” are Bismarck and Bonne Terre. The city of Ironton in Iron County has also opted out of participation in the holiday.

Local special taxing districts not taking part in the tax holiday include the St. Francois Ambulance District and Park Hills Transportation Development District. Also opting out are the Washington Community Improvement District and the Washington Transportation Development District.

The “Back-to-School” Sales Tax Holiday is a pretty good deal for consumers who shop for certain specific items in a participating county and city.

“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,” said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. “Saving more than 4 percent is significant, especially on more expensive items like computers.”

Missourians aren’t the only ones who can save during the holiday.”Out-of-state residents can save just as much as Missourians,” Barragán-Scott said. “The key is that the purchase has to be made in Missouri between Aug. 3 and 5. I encourage our neighbors from Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, 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 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, 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 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 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 and special taxing districts participate in the holiday, the savings can add up to 7 or 8 percent and even more,” she said.

A total of 166 cities, 49 counties and 71 special districts have chosen not to participate in the holiday.

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