Missouri provides tax break for buying efficient appliances

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | 4:22 p.m. CDT; updated 10:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 17, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missourians won't have to pay state sales tax for new, energy-efficient appliances if they wait to make their purchase until mid-April.

From April 19-25, the state is waiving its 4.225 percent sales tax on washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, water heaters, furnaces and air conditions if the new appliance is Energy Star-certified. The state tax break only applies to the first $1,500 for each appliance. Nine counties and just over 50 cities also plan to waive their sales taxes for that week.

Columbia customers won't have to pay the 4.225 percent state sales tax during the holiday, but they will still pay the standard 1.125 percent tax to Boone County and 2 percent tax to the City of Columbia after the Columbia City Council voted to not participate in the tax holiday earlier this year.

In promoting the weeklong tax holiday that doesn't start for more than a month, state officials and the president of the Missouri Retailers Association surrounded themselves with refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances at a Jefferson City electronics store Tuesday.

Revenue Department Director Karen Mitchell said the Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday makes it easier for consumers to use less electricity and needs to be promoted early because appliances aren't cheap.

"We know people do not make these types of decisions to purchase large items at the last minute," she said. "We hope people will begin thinking now about buying some of these appliances."

Lawmakers included the sales tax holiday in broader legislation last year that was designed to increase energy efficiency.

That law also allows income tax deductions of up to $1,000 for home energy audits and the implementation of their recommendations, beginning this year. It also lets the state treasurer provide incentives to businesses producing and selling fuel or power from alternative energy sources, such as the sun, wind or water.

Legislative staff in a cost estimate prepared last year for the sales tax holiday estimated it would cost state government just over $1.1 million in lost collections.

Asked by reporters about the potential for a drop in state revenue, Missouri Retailers Association President David Overfelt said the effect likely would be minimal.

"This is not a budget-buster," he said.

Overfelt said his organization plans to work with lawmakers to expand the tax holiday for Energy Star-certified appliances to include television sets.


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