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What you need to know about the 2021 tax-free holiday in Missouri and Iowa

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(WGEM) — This weekend both Missouri and Iowa are having a tax-free holiday on school supplies, but there are some differences between the two states.


In Missouri, the Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and runs through midnight on Sunday.

The holiday applies to state tax and local tax, but only if the local jurisdiction chooses to participate in the holiday.

The Missouri Department of Revenues (MDOR) states, if one or all of your local taxing jurisdictions are not participating in the sales tax holiday, the state's portion of the tax rate (4.225%) will remain exempt for the sale of qualifying sales tax holiday items.

MDOR states the sales tax exemption is limited to:

  • 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

Section 144.049, RSMo, defines items exempt during the Sales Tax Holiday as:

“Clothing” - any article of wearing apparel intended to be worn on or about the human body including, but not limited to, disposable diapers for infants or adults and footwear. The term shall include but not be limited to, cloth and other material used to make school uniforms or other school clothing. Items normally sold in pairs shall not be separated to qualify for the exemption. The term shall not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, or belt buckles; and

“Personal computers” - a laptop, desktop, or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit, random access memory, a storage drive, a display monitor, a keyboard, and devices designed for use in conjunction with a personal computer, such as a disk drive, memory module, compact disk drive, daughterboard, digitalizer, microphone, modem, motherboard, mouse, multimedia speaker, printer, scanner, single-user hardware, single-user operating system, soundcard, or video card; and

“School supplies” - any item normally used by students in a standard classroom for educational purposes, including but not limited to, textbooks, notebooks, paper, writing instruments, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, handheld calculators, graphing calculators, chalk, maps, and globes. The term shall not include watches, radios, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, portable or desktop telephones, copiers or other office equipment, furniture, or fixtures. School supplies shall also include graphing calculators valued at $150 or less and computer software having a taxable value of $350 or less.

Learn more about Missouri Back to School Sales Tax Holiday here.


In Iowa, the Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 a.m. Friday and runs through midnight Saturday. The holiday in Iowa does not include Sunday.

Businesses that are open on these days are required to participate.

Iowa's Sales Tax Holiday only includes clothing and footwear with a selling price of less than $100.00.

The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) states "clothing" means any article of wearing apparel and typical footwear intended to be worn on or about the human body.

According to IDOR, clothing does not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, sporting equipment, skis, swim fins, rollerblades, skates, and any special clothing or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use and not usually considered appropriate for everyday wear.

IDOR has established other rules regarding the Sales Tax Holiday, including "buy one, get one free" offers.

IDOR states the total price of items advertised as "buy one, get one free" or "buy one, get one for a reduced price" cannot be averaged in order for both items to qualify for the exemption.

IDOR also states that manufacturer’s coupons do not reduce the "sales price" of an item. Therefore, a manufacturer’s coupon cannot be used to reduce the selling price of an item to less than $100.00 in order to qualify for the exemption.

Items purchased online or by mail order or catalog are should be tax-free if they are ordered and paid for during the exemption period, even if delivery is made after the Sales Tax Holiday.

IDOR also states that repairs and alterations to eligible items do not qualify for the tax exemption, even though alterations may be sold, invoiced, and paid for at the same time as the item to be altered.

Learn more about Iowa's Annual Sales Tax Holiday here.

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Jim Roberts

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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