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Business and the Economy

'Back to School Sales Tax Holiday' Gives Small Businesses Big Support

The Annual Back to School Sales Tax Holiday is this weekend. Throughout Missouri, customers will save money on certain back-to-school items, such as computers, clothing and school supplies. The giant retail stores will welcome a surge of customers, but as KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the holiday is good news for small businesses looking to stay afloat during the recession.

Christie Gosch is the store owner at Children’s Orchard in Springfield. Her store sells children’s clothing, toys and equipment – most of it high quality re-sale items. The sales tax holiday this weekend couldn’t come at a better time for Gosch – she says the back to school season is the busiest time of the year at Children’s Orchard. Gosch says she’s capitalizing on the sales tax holiday by offering even more incentive to shop at her store.

 “We’re going to pay the city sales tax too. So they don’t have to pay city sales tax here, to make it an extra special day for our customers so they can save that extra money,” Gosch said.

Children’s Orchard is looking to keep customers from shopping outside county lines during the holiday. According to Ted Farnen with the Missouri Department of Revenue, many shoppers travel long distances to cities and counties participating in the sales tax holiday. Greene County is one of 49 counties in  Missouri that elected not to participate in the holiday, and the City of Springfield isn’t participating either. Farnen says it’s the counties and cities near Missouri’s borders that are more likely to participate, in part due to an effort to lure out-of-state customers.

 “They feel that it’s justified that people will come in from other states and make purchases, and even though they won’t make sales tax on those specific purchases, when they come in, they might have lunch or buy other things that they will pay sales tax on. So that is somewhat of a mitigating factor because you don’t have to be a Missouri resident to get the benefits of this holiday,” Farnen said.

Customers will save 4.225 percent – Missouri’s state sales tax – on the eligible items. If customers shop in a participating city or county, those savings can add up to seven to eight percent, according to Farnen.

The sales tax holiday begins just after midnight, Friday August 3rd, and runs through Sunday, August 5th. For more information about the holiday, visit our website,

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.