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Coming this weekend: Annual back-to-school sales tax holiday

BTS shoppingThe unofficial start to the back-to-school shopping season will kick off at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7 and run through midnight on Sunday, Aug. 9.

Shoppers can take advantage of the exemption from Missouri state sales tax in the amount of 4.225 percent for qualifying items purchased during this weekend. Local sales tax also is exempt in those jurisdictions that have opted to participate in the holiday.

The sales tax exemption is only applicable to items meeting the specific descriptions and the maximum dollar values set forth in the authorizing law. The following list of definitions is a handy reference to help make the most of the sales tax holiday:

• Clothing items, including footwear, that have a taxable value of $100 or less. Fabric used to make school uniforms and other school wearing apparel also is included.  Excluded from this definition are watches, watchbands, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands and belt buckles.

• School supplies used by students for educational purposes in a standard classroom not to exceed $50 per purchase. Covered items include textbooks, notebooks, paper, writing instruments, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, handheld calculators, chalk, maps and globes. Computer software having a taxable value of $350 or less also falls within this definition. Items not included in this definition are watches, radios, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, portable or desktop telephones, copiers or other office equipment, furniture and fixtures.

• Personal computers, not to exceed $3,500, and computer peripheral devices, not to exceed $3,500, also qualify for the exemption. The law defines personal computers very broadly to include 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 and devices designed for use in conjunction with a personal computer, such as a disk drive, memory module, compact disk drive, daughterboard, digitalizer, microphone, modem, motherboard, mouse, multimedia speaker, printer, scanner, single-user hardware, single-user operating system, soundcard and video card.

The law allows cities to opt out of the sales tax holiday and several West County cities have chosen not to participate. Purchases made in the cities of Des Peres, Ellisville, Manchester, Town & Country, Brentwood and Fenton will be subject to the local sales tax amounts. In St. Charles County, the city of St. Peters has opted out of the sales tax holiday. Both St. Louis and St. Charles counties are joining in the holiday this year so shoppers will not have to pay county tax on qualifying items purchased in those areas.

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