How to make the most out of Missouri’s tax-free weekend

File image of school supplies and shoes.
File image of school supplies and shoes.(wwbt)
Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 7:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2023 at 7:15 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A new school year is right around the corner and, for many, that means it’s time for new gear.

The real shopping fun begins the first weekend of August, which is Missouri’s tax-free weekend, and shoppers will be getting a bigger break this year than ever before.

Larry Wigger is a supply chain economist at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He notes that, since 2004, tax holiday shoppers have been exempted from state sales tax on the first weekend of August.

“It’s been going on for almost 20 years now,” he said. “Missouri state lawmakers established a tax holiday focused on relieving, helping with some of the costs for families that had children going back to school and the purchases they would typically make.”

So, from Aug. 4-6 this year, online and in-person shoppers can save up to 5% more on certain purchases.

Since Missouri lawmakers passed a bill making exemptions from all local sales taxes, too, shoppers will save even more this year. The sales tax rate in Kansas City is 9.97%, so that translates to a savings of nearly 10%.

“It’s available for everyone,” Wigger said. “The important thing is: Keep in mind what you’re purchasing.”

Purchases that qualify for tax exemptions include: School supplies (e.g. backpacks, writing utensils and notebooks) costing up to $50 per purchase, clothing and footwear that costs $100 or less, and most personal computers and computer accessories that are less than $1,500.

A full list of qualifying items can be found here.

Wigger recommends making purchases individually to get the maximum discount.

“$50 in school supplies is kind of the low end, and that’s per purchase,” said Wigger. “If you’ve got three kids and you’re going to get each one of them a computer, it just means you may do multiple purchases instead of doing it all at once -- if you qualify.”

Next to Black Friday and other holiday sales, Wigger said retailers always look to cash in on the tax holiday weekend. So, you’re sure to find some good deals.

“The sales discounts from retailers are going to be more than that tax savings alone when you start to add all of that up together,” Wigger said. “Now’s the time to buy something if you need it.”

Veteran shopper Tara Gardner, who said she was saving all her big purchases for the tax-free weekend, has a few more tips: Prepare for crowds, go early and have a plan.

“We always seem to go before 10, 11 a.m. and we’re done,” she said. “Have a list. Be ready. Know what you’re looking for, that way you get what you need and you save the money.”

Fifteen other states also participate in tax-free weekend. Kansas is not one of them, however.

Kansas lawmakers proposed several versions of a tax holiday bill in session last year, but it never made it out of committee.