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July 29, 2009

Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday to Occur Aug. 7-9

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri shoppers looking for a bargain on clothes, computers and school supplies will have an opportunity to save during Missouri’s annual “Back-to-School” Sales Tax Holiday.

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. 7, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 9.  During this time period, the state’s 4.225 percent sales tax will not be assessed on certain purchases made in Missouri.  Local sales taxes will also not be charged in many local governmental entities, but local governments have the option of not participating in the holiday.

“The Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday will be an excellent time for families to buy the school supplies their children need for the upcoming school year,” said Gov. Jay Nixon.  “It also is a time when anyone can save on purchases of certain clothing and computer items.  During these times when every dollar counts, it makes sense to save as much money as possible, and this holiday provides an excellent opportunity to accomplish that goal.”

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.

Alana M. Barragán-Scott, acting director of the Missouri Department of Revenue, noted that Missourians are not the only ones who can benefit from the holiday.

“You do not have to be a Missouri resident to save money during the sales tax holiday weekend,” Barragán-Scott said.  “I would urge our neighbors to come to Missouri and save on school supplies, clothes, personal computers and other items.”

A total of 172 cities, 52 counties and 11 special districts have voted not to participate in the holiday.  While the state sales tax will be exempted from all purchases statewide during the holiday, customers making purchases in the areas that have opted out will still have to pay local sales taxes.  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 can be accessed at http://dor.mo.gov/tax/business/sales/taxholiday/school/. Other questions can be directed to salesuse@dor.mo.gov or (573) 751-2836.