Rep. Shirley’s bill to phase out inventory tax on small businesses stuck in committee for third straight year.


State Rep. William Shirley, owner of the Family Fish Camp restaurant in Quitman, expects he’ll be doing the same thing next year he’s doing this year: continuing his lonely campaign for phasing out Mississippi’s business inventory tax.

Elected in 2011, the Republican representative for District 84 has introduced an inventory ad valorem tax phase out the last three years. As in past years, the 2014 bill specifies a 10-percent a year decline in the assessed value of business equipment through 2024, when the percentage of value assessed would be zero. His legislation, HB 9, is stuck in the House Ways & Means Committee, where Shirley expects it will perish. “Naturally, nobody wants to sign on to it,” he said, though he listed the National Federation of Independent Businesses/Mississippi as supporters.

Mississippi in 2012 gave business owners a measure of relief, enacting legislation that increases the state income tax credit for inventory taxes paid from the current $5,000 to $10,000 in 2014, to $15,000 in 2015, and in 2016 and beyond to the lesser of the amount of state income taxes owed or the amount of inventory taxes paid.

Beneficiaries of that bill were the larger businesses, leaving little benefit for the owners of small businesses whose equipment and furnishings never drop below 15 percent of their original value, Shirley contended.

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