Park Hill High School student Nila Farzamnia picked up a bright burgundy party dress Saturday for her birthday later this month and got a special perk — she saved about $8 in sales taxes.
Missouri’s 12th annual sales tax holiday started Friday and runs through today Sunday. Certain back-to-school purchases in Missouri, such as clothing, school supplies and computers, are exempt from state sales taxes and perhaps county and city sales taxes during the period.
“Better to shop today and tomorrow than the next day,” Farzamnia, 16, said Saturday at the Northland’s Zona Rosa.
Many Zona Rosa shoppers came for the back-to-school savings but stayed for two special events held in conjunction with the sales tax holiday: the annual KidFest and the new SportsFest.
KidFest is an outdoor event featuring child-friendly games, giveaways, crafts, balloons, face painting, treats and more. Braden Wilde, 7, and Owen Wilde, 4, dodged soap bubbles in the center’s Town Square while their mother, Jeannie Wilde, looked on. She also wanted to check out the SportsFest, hosted by the Platte County Sports Commission. Interactive sports stations let children try out a variety of activities from golf to volleyball.
Nicholas Demas, 7, of Gardner got a hole-in-one — after just a couple of tries — and broke a board with a quick karate chop. Then he headed out with his parents, George and Elizabeth Demas, to knock a few items off a long back-to-school shopping list.
Eric Terrazas purchased two backpacks and then planned to give his children — Eric, 14, Ashley, 9, and Mia, 6 — a break at KidFest before more shopping.
“It seems like school supplies are a bit more expensive this year, so we thought we would take advantage of the tax holiday. It helps,” he said.
The National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend about $68 billion this year on back-to-school items for grades K-12 and college, based on a recent survey of 6,400 consumers.
Among the other 2015 back-to-school trends:
▪ 28 percent of parents surveyed said their children wear a school uniform, the highest number since the survey began.
▪ 30 percent of back-to-school shoppers planned to wait to start shopping until one or two weeks before school starts. But one-quarter of families were shopping at least two months before school started.
▪ Families with children in grades K-12 will spend $630 on average.
▪ College students will spend $899 on average.
▪ 31 percent of college students will live in a dorm room or college housing, the highest in the survey’s history. They will spend $126 on dorm or apartment furnishings on average.
This year, 41 percent of college students plan to use a smartphone to research products or compare prices, and 46 percent will use a tablet to shop. About 31 percent plan to buy products on their smartphones, and 35 percent plan to use their tablets to purchase, the highest in survey history. When shopping online, 9 in 10 back-to-college shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, and nearly half plan to use ship-to-store or in-store pickup services.
Sales tax holiday
Missouri’s back-to-school sales tax holiday continues through Sunday.
The state and many jurisdictions won’t collect sales taxes on certain purchases during the three-day holiday that started Friday.
Here’s the state’s list of items exempted from sales taxes:
▪ Clothing — any article with a taxable value of $100 or less.
▪ School supplies — not to exceed $50 per purchase.
▪ Computer software — taxable value of $350 or less.
▪ Personal computers — not to exceed $3,500.
▪ Computer peripheral devices — not to exceed $3,500.