Change to multistate corporation taxes head to governor

Legislation that changes how the Mississippi Department of Revenue collects taxes from multistate corporations doing business in Mississippi is headed to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The House and Senate adopted the conference for House Bill 799 Tuesday.

The DOR has maintained throughout the session that the bill’s primary function would be to make it harder for the agency to collect certain taxes from multistate corporations. The Mississippi Economic Council, which supports the bill, says the changes are needed to keep Mississippi competitive in attracting business and industry.

The bill comes after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling last fall that said the credit reporting company Equifax had underpaid state taxes because it had used the wrong method to calculate its liability. The legislation would lower the standard of proof companies would have to meet before employing the method Equifax used.

The version of the bill that is on its way to Bryant did address some of the issues DOR had with the original, said Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall. One of them was the removal of a certified mail requirement involving disputes that DOR spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said in March would be expensive and ineffective.

In turn, the bill will not take effect until Jan. 1. The MEC wanted the bill to be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year.

“Neither side is happy with the final version, and a lot of times that’s a pretty good indication that it’s good legislation,” Fillingane said. “All we’re doing is trying to level the playing field for corporations that have been the underdog versus the Department of Revenue.”

Clarion Ledger
4/1/14