Most Mississippi companies pay no income tax - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Most Mississippi companies pay no income tax

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Anyone in Mississippi has to pay it and so do businesses, but many of the state's largest companies may not be.

"It's not all corporations, it's just those who choose to find a way to not pay taxes," said Mississippi Association of Educators Executive Director Frank Yates.

According to research from the PEER committee, nearly 70 percent of the state's largest companies paid no state corporate income tax from 2006 to 2009. When it comes to all corporations operating in the state, the number is about 80 percent and it's legal, says Ed Sivak with the Mississippi Economic Policy Center.

"There's a number of reasons for that, some of them don't have profits that will be taxable. Others are shifting income earned in Mississippi to lower states and others may have their income tax liability reduced from different tax breaks," said Sivak.

"Although there's legislation that intended for them to pay it, there are ways they can get around it, so some corporations choose to get around it," said Yates.

Yates says the money not paid is potential millions which could be used to help the state's under funded educational system. So to close loopholes in current tax law, a coalition will be asking lawmakers to do just that.

"The legislature tried, it's not they haven't done anything about it. It's just since the time they tried, corporations have found other ways to get around it legally," said Yates.

Often times state or local municipalities will make agreements with companies excluding them from paying taxes for a certain number of years in exchange for the company creating jobs and locating in certain areas. Yates says most of those companies not paying don't have a such an agreement and are taking advantage of Mississippians.

Meanwhile, Sivak says with a state seeing constant cuts, any additional revenue would be welcomed.

"There's many ways to do this. We can update our sales tax, we can update our income tax, we can close corporate loopholes," said Sivak.

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