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Kansas City stores balance safety, savings during Missouri sales-tax holiday

best buy sales tax holiday.jpg
Posted at 4:52 PM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 19:47:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Before Alana Vawter returns to college at Stanford University, she needs a new laptop.

“With all the classes coming, you really have to have something that is reliable to be able to spend most of your time there,” Vawter said.

By shopping during Missouri’s sales tax holiday this weekend, she didn’t have to pay sales tax on her new computer. Paired with some other deals, she saved more than $250.

Back-to-school shopping looks different for Vawter and other shoppers because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Stores like Best Buy are limiting how many customers are inside at once, requiring customers to wear masks and controlling crowds in the most popular departments.

Best Buy and Walmart are promoting curbside pickup for customers who don’t want to come inside a store, but want to take advantage of the tax holiday.

“The shopping experience has changed quite a bit with COVID-19,” said John Fuentez,general manager of the Northland Best Buy.

Just down the road, the Keating family visited Walmart to buy back-to-school clothes for their fourth grade daughter and their son, who is entering pre-Kindergarten.

Mother Megan Keating said her daughter’s back-to-school shopping list was smaller than year’s past. Instead of buying items for the whole class, the list is much more individualized.

The family wore masks while shopping inside Walmart and said they felt comfortable, especially when they can save money.

“It’s always nice not to have to pay the tax on it,” Bradley Keating said. “It does make a difference. Every little bit counts.”

Back at Best Buy, Louis Pollino marveled at how his sons' back-to-school lists are much more high-tech than he remembers. So he’s grateful for any type of savings.

“It’s great to be tax free," Pollino said. "It does help quite a bit. Especially when you’re in those price ranges, it adds up. Also when you’re shopping for more than one child."

Here’s a list of what qualifies for the sales tax holiday until Sunday Aug 9 at 11:59 p.m.

  • Clothing – any article having 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 $1,500.
  • Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $1,500.
  • Graphing calculators - not to exceed $150.

More information on Missouri’s sales tax holiday can be found on the state's Department of Revenue website.

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