Internet sales tax debate is coming back up in Mississippi - - Jackson, MS

Internet sales tax debate is coming back up in Mississippi

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Shopping online could get more expensive if some lawmakers get their way. 

There's a built-in saving when you're scrolling through Amazon, for example. No state sales tax, at least not for Mississippians. And that's the case with other online sites. There's nothing forcing them to collect and pay that 7%.

"It's a convenience factor," said online shopper Dwight Payton. "So if I can get online from sitting in my recliner at home, I would rather do that."

That's what most online shoppers said. But do they notice that they're getting away without paying that 7% sales tax on some of those sites?

"I do a lot of online shopping," noted Payton. "I really don't pay attention to if it's online sales tax or not."

And he wasn't alone. But those savings come at a high price for the state.

"There's a lot of money out there being made at the hands of the Mississippians paying reasonable prices on the Internet," explained Senate Pro Tempore Terry Burton. "But at the same token, the state government is being starved is at 7% but they're not paying in sales taxes."

It's been brought up for years but this could be the year to see a change. Why? The state needs more revenue streams.

"If you pass a bill, you at least put the companies on notice that we are asking to you," said Burton. "We are trying to be nice about asking you, without a federal law, to charge sales tax and then remit it to the states."

That's helped in other states, even Alabama and Louisiana. Amazon is now collecting taxes in 29 states. But Senator Terry Burton said the real change will need to happen at the federal level. Right now, the companies have to voluntarily decide to collect those state sales tax dollars.

"We can pass legislation all day long but until the feds mandate it, we don't really have a lot of traction," Burton described.

This won't be the first session where this has been brought up. But the need for more revenue could make it a bigger debate.

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