Missouri families eye tax-free holiday with beginning of the school year edging closer

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- When August arrives, the start of the school year is sure to follow.

It's back to school shopping time and Missouri's tax-free holiday will offer families cheaper options this weekend. Shoppers can get a break on clothing, school supplies and some electronics.

The aisles of stores like the Wal-Mart Supercenter on S. Bolger Road will be jam-packed this weekend. Missouri's sales tax-free holiday takes effect, and families from all over the metro will come to stores in the Show-Me-State to take advantage of cheaper costs.

Most of the items kids will need will be sold without sales tax. Here are the basics of the Missouri Department for Revenue’s list of items that qualify:
• Clothing – includes basic clothing and shoes; but not jewelry, neckties, belt buckles or umbrellas.
• School supplies – includes notebooks, paper, writing instruments and backpacks; but not watches, radios, sporting goods or office equipment.
• Personal computers – includes laptops, desktop towers and peripherals, as well as all items used in coordination with computers.
“This is a big event for Wal-Mart for retailers all across the nation,” Leslee Wright, Wal-Mart spokesperson, told FOX 4 News on Thursday.

“We roll out a lot of initiatives to help parents as they get prepared to come back to school with their children.”

One of them is Wal-Mart's new online ordering system. Wright says customers have already been purchasing groceries, then picking them up at the store. Customers can buy school supplies the same way, at no sales tax this weekend.

“If you don't think you are up for this this weekend, just pick it up online. you can pick it up at the store. there's reserved parking for you,” Wright said.

Customer Janet Masters isn't merely purchasing for her own grandkids. She's buying for 22 kids at her church in Independence.

“Most of my families will be shopping this weekend because they're buying school clothes and different things. It's very expensive to put a child into school,” Masters said.

Retail statistics show the average American family will spend about $107 on their back-to-school preparations. Wright says she expects this store could be busy as early as midnight, when Missouri begins the tax-free holiday.

The National Retail Federation also says the average teacher will spend $490 toward back-to-school purchases. Most of that money goes toward dressing up classrooms, and its money teachers usually spend out of their own pockets.