Mo. sales tax holiday weekend under way

Friday, August 3, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Back-to-school shoppers, now is the time to stock up.

Friday marked the beginning of the state's sales tax holiday weekend. No state sales tax will be collected statewide on back-to-school items, from clothing to notebooks and pencils to computers, up to a certain amount.

Local sales taxes are also waived in parts of the state, though cities and counties could choose to keep collecting their tax during this period.

This year, 169 cities and 51 counties -- nearly half of all counties -- opted out of offering the tax break, roughly as many as last year.

The state sales tax rate is 4.225 percent. That means at a mall where local taxes are still being collected, the shopper would save $4.23 on a $100 dress.

The law limits the tax break to any piece of clothing costing $100 or less, a batch of school supplies worth up to $50, and computers costing $3,500 or less.

Supporters contend the tax break is good for families whose expenses pile up this time of year, and could draw more shoppers to stores. Retailers and governments could end up ahead if shoppers also buy items still subject to state and local taxes.

"The tax holiday is a great opportunity for Missourians to buy school supplies and other necessities for their children while saving some of their hard earned money," Gov. Matt Blunt said in a written statement.

But opponents say local governments can't afford to give up the tax revenue they depend on to fund services such as police and firefighters.

The state Department of Revenue said it does not track sales data in a way that allows it to determine the impact of the tax holiday.

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