State struggles with internet taxes

Last week during the initial meeting of a “working group” formed by Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to look at the state’s tax structure and make recommendations for changes, Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, said the panel should explore ways to tax internet sales.

Lamar said it is not fair that “We tax businesses located in the state … and don’t charge a tax on businesses not located in the state.”

Of course, the tax, as Lamar knows, is paid by the buyer, not the seller. But Lamar’s point is the buyer is having to pay 7 percent more to purchase the item from the store down on Main Street instead of from the internet provider, such as Amazon.

“It puts moms and pops on Main Street at a competitive disadvantage,” agreed Reeves during the hearing, but said there is little the state can do until the federal Congress acts. Reeves said another solution would be for giant internet provider Amazon to place a distribution center in Mississippi. The state, then, could require Amazon to collect the tax per federal court rulings.

Daily Journal
8/7/16