BY: Lynn Evans | Clarion Ledger
In at least 10 other states, including Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, the Internet business doing the selling is responsible for collecting and paying the sales tax. The general rule for the rest, including Mississippi, is any company selling goods over the Internet that has a physical presence in the state, including a store or office or warehouse, must collect and pay that state’s sales tax.
The Market Place Fairness Act, introduced in the U.S. House by GOP Rep. Steve Womack from Arkansas, would allow all 45 states with a sales tax to collect the taxes currently due from Internet sales. A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2013. The Market Place Fairness Act, predictably, has run into fierce opposition from the big companies currently dominating e-commerce.
The Mississippi Legislature could decide on its own that any company selling goods over the Internet to Mississippi customers should collect and pay the state all sales taxes due.
Instead, the Legislature over the past four years has embraced corporate tax cuts and handed them out freely. Current estimates are that more than $310 million per year in state revenues has disappeared, thanks to legislative largess. It’s money that could be used to fix crumbling school buildings, buy classroom supplies so teachers do not have to and hire more teachers to lower class size.