Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Should Mississippi tax internet sales?

Vote in the new poll on the right side of the page.  Mississippi needs money, as usual.  An "Amazon sales tax" is up for discussion at the capitol right now.  Should Mississippi tax internet sales? Vote early and often.  


golferinmississippi said...

I think there should be a compromise. Not the full 7% sales tax, but around 4%. State & local economies take a major hit because of the internet sales. Having a marginal tax online, might make people opt to shop local.

When stores leave, leaving empty storefronts which in turn causes other restaurants & business to relocate or shutter we like to get up in arms.

Think of small town businesses like small town america. They thrived and did well for a long time when the highways meandered through each town and hamlet across the state. When the interstates & highways bypassed the towns, all for the sake of convenience, small towns across the state & country dried up. Now the information superhighway and online sales are convenient, and are killing what's left of small town America. Not a quick and painless death, but a slow, squeezing the life out of you kind of death.

I think paying a few cents more on the dollar wouldn't be that bad.

Anonymous said...

It's called innovation & competition.

Or, we could blame Henry Ford; it was really unfair the way he put buggy-whip manufacturers out of business.

When politicians use the power to tax to "level the playing field" in favor of this or that sector or business, look out.

What's the purpose of the tax? To make people quit buying online? Or to make brick/mortar businesses feel better about themselves?

We're taxed enough.

Pappy O'daniel said...

I'm for it. Alabama just implemented one and we don't want them to get the inside track on being the most screwed up state in the country. And clearly, the state government is just a few dollars away from running like a dream.

Anonymous said...


In fact...add a few % to make up for lost revenue.

Anonymous said...

People don't shop online solely to avoid the sales tax.

The bigger issue is Mom & Pop expecting their customers to pay 200-600% more for the exact same wares. Mom & Pop need to invest in efficiencies to reduce their operational costs. I'm more than willing to pay a reasonable premium to "shop local" but too many Mom & Pops are not remotely in the ballpark. So go ahead and charge sales tax but I'll continue shop online as long as Mom & Pop price gouge.

Treat the illness. Charging sales taxes won't level the playing field for Mom & Pop.

Anonymous said...

YES, Mississippi should tax internet sales. No reason they shouldn't. Its commerce within the state.

Kingfish said...

I now buy my dog food online. Sales tax has nothing to do with it. The 30 lb bags I buy are $15-20 cheaper than what the local mom and pops charge. Several times a year, it adds up. Even with sales tax included, the price would still be that much cheaper. There is nothing stopping the local pet stores in this state from banding together and negotiating their own prices.

Kingfish said...

Best Buy and Apple both charge sales tax for online purchases.

Anonymous said...

So does Walmart, AutoZone, and for that matter, any business that has a physical location in MS. They already pays sales tax in MS for online sales.

This targets only those who do not have a physical location in MS. Don't be fooled.

Anonymous said...

@7:59, that is why I shop at Cowboy Maloney's.
They refuse to be beaten.
They match any bonafide verifiable competitor's price.
They even say Thank you.
As Ben Allen opines, they get it.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish....when there are no local stores left to advertise on your site....you will regret advocating abandoning local businesses.

Anonymous said...

Best Buy and Apple charge sales tax on online purchases because merchants are required to collect sales tax on online sales if the retailer has a physical brick and mortar store in the state.

Why does the state have to tax online purchases? If it's about allowing local businesses to be more competitive, then why not just do away with sales tax completely? Some states like DE have no sales tax at all. It would probably have a huge impact in border cities like Southaven, Meridian, etc. where people would cross the border to shop here instead of the neighboring state that charges sales tax.

Anonymous said...

Without an online sales tax - it really kills the local economy. Considering how fast Amazon gets everything to you at a cheaper price, its amazing that places like Cowboy Maloney are still hanging in there.

I'm all for it, it will drive people back into their local stores.

Anonymous said...

Best Buy and Apple charge sales tax because they are required to do so. Both companies have a physical presence, or "nexus," in Mississippi. Technically, consumers are supposed to be paying sales tax directly to the state when they buy online. Of course, nobody does. A bill requiring online retailers to pay sales tax won't change the law regarding the requirement to pay sales tax. It would simply place the onus on the retailer to pay the tax rather than the consumer. That's how it's done for bricks and mortar stores, and that's how it should be for online retailers.

Anonymous said...

No silver bullet for local businesses though that is the spin that will come out of the Legislature.

Anonymous said...

Hey Local Advertiser. You can reach your target demographic at JJ or you can penalize Kingfish for buying his dog food online.

Get real January 10, 2017 at 8:23 AM.

golferinmississippi said...

I'm not saying not to buy online, I do it as well, just not as much as before. Adding a nominal tax would just help keep money in our local areas.

Do mom and pop shops up charge, you bet. That's another aspect of this multi-fold problem. Businesses can't cry "internet! internet!" but have their price points so high. They have to work from that angle as well.

Sam Walton created his empire by charging pennies less than his competitors, but after several years and decades Wal-Mart is the conglomerate it is today. That model isn't the quick return on investment that we're want this day & age. (and yes, I know Wal-Mart is small business killer as well.)

The major problem from online sales is the loss of revenue to the local municipalities. When those monies aren't coming in, you can't pay for infrastructure, police, parks, development, etc.

It isn't "leveling the playing field," it is rather keeping a field available to play on. I think it wouldn't be hard to charge a tax for online purchases that would go to the city or county of the billing or ship to address.

Anonymous said...

I buy just about everything (except for groceries) from Amazon or other online providers. I don't shop online solely to avoid sales tax, but I find online retailers' customer service is far and above anything here locally and the prices are much better.

The last time I went into Cowboy Maloney's I wandered around for a few minutes and had some salesperson yell across the store at me asking me what I was looking for. I had to replace a desk chair and went to look at the Relax the Back Store (or whatever they're calling it now) and the price was nearly twice what I could get it for if I dealt directly with the manufacturer. I went to Buffalo Peak in search of a piece of outdoor gear I needed for a trip, the price was ridiculous - I found the same item on a well-known outdoor discounter and had it shipped directly to where I was traveling, plus the employees there are not very knowledgeable about the gear they sell. I could go on and on...

When shopping bricks and mortar, you expect some level of product knowledge and service - if that existed locally, I'd be on board. I'd like to support local merchants but they refuse to compete, and provide horrendous customer service.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the origin of the state sales tax? Was it originally intended to help municipalities provide additional services(i.e. water, roads, police, fire protection) to brick and mortar businesses because of the increased traffic?
I am always suspect when any government wants to raise taxes. If this is akin to a sin tax, then be up front about it. If it is just another scheme to raise revenue because they have been frivolous with what is already collected, then they can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Anonymous said...

8:50, so how is this going to be audited, I suppose we'll take the online retailer's word for it? The DOR can't figure out how to collect existing taxes, much less this new stream of revenue.

Anonymous said...

I have a proposal. If you want to tax internet sales, why not change the rates to 0% food, 3% vehicles, 5% other. What percentage of sales tax comes from food?

Anonymous said...

The addition of sales tax will NOT drive me back into the stores. The reasons I shop online are: #1 - we have FAR too few choices in the Jackson Metro area. Just THINK of all the stores that are NOT here!!! If I need clothes, my choices are: Belks (basics), Dillards (just above basics) Steinmart (good quality but hit & miss on availability), Walmart (enough said) or an overpriced "boutique" that caters to size 0 teeny-boppers. #2 - convenience. If I can shop from the comfort of my recliner and have everything from hairspray to shoes to king-sized mattresses drop shipped to my front door, WHY would I want to go to the effort of getting to a big box store where I probably won't find what I'm looking for anyway???

Anonymous said...

Mississippi should absolutely charge sales tax on Internet sales. Last year, my CPA told me that I was one of only a few clients that reported what I bought on-line and paid Mississippi sales taxes, as required by the tax forms. Apparently, voluntary reporting of Interest purchases is not working.

Anonymous said...

Let them eat tax!

Anonymous said...

Last year, my CPA told me that I was one of only a few clients that reported what I bought on-line and paid Mississippi sales taxes, as required by the tax forms.

How much did you pay? You must know.

Anonymous said...

There are some woefully ignorant people posting and within the Legislature.

States choose to tax or not to tax the businesses in it's state. It has no moral or legal right to tax the sale of something outside of the state.

The ends justifies the means slippery slope from Progressives (Republican and Democrat alike) makes it easy for them to personally justify such stupidity by saying things like "state revenues are down, so let's tax something."

Is their anyone that thinks our local and state legislators should be coming up with ways to scale back this huge government monster? Remove programs, remove duplication.... just cut things out. It has been during this huge government expansion over the past 30 years that more and more freedoms are willfully and sometimes eagerly surrendered.

Anonymous said...

Just another way for the state to get money from the people. It doesn't matter how much they bring in it will just be wasted. There should never be a tax added or an increase in taxes until our govt. learns to control it's spending.

Anonymous said...

As with the wisdom shared in the 'Henry Ford Buggy Whip' post, it is wholly foolish to suggest that we owe it to local merchants to keep them in business and ensure their profits. We don't.

These are the same morons who, when a machine is invented that will use a drone to patch potholes cheap and quick, will whine that we owe it to the manual laborers to keep their jobs so we must reject this new technology.

Why should I pay a state or local sales tax on a transaction that has absolutely no affiliation or connection with the state or municipality? The 'Nexus' bullshit is enough of a ripoff already.

Here's another ripoff: If I shop local and the items are not available, except through internet purchase, why should I be paying the 'nexus' sales tax? This applies to a lot of items at the big box stores. They can NOT be bought locally. Yet I have to pay tax if I order them online.

But, I have full faith that our legislature will handle this responsibly. Right.

Anonymous said...

golferinmississippi is you feel that strongly about keeping money here, feel free to write the Dept. of Revenue a big fat check 3 or 4 times a year. I'm taxed too much already.
How does paying tax to the State help "Mom & Pop" stores? They receive nothing from that.
The State squeezing more money from its residents won't help local stores at all. All it will do is give the Legislature more money to waste.
Those that shop online will continue to shop online. Those that don't won't.

John Dough said...

MS should tax items SOLD in MS, like it already does. If the retail item is here, sold, and shipped out of state, MS should tax it. If the item is in some other state, sold, and shipped here, that other state should decide whether to tax it or not. Same as going to a store and buying shoes - you pay according to the state of sale, not according to your state of residence, and certainly not TO your state of residence. If I buy shoes in Dallas, I pay Texas taxes, not Mississippi taxes, even though I live here and bring those shoes back here.

It's laughably simple, but nobody seems to want to do it that way, perhaps because Mississippians buy more stuff from out of state than we sell to out of state buyers. It's about the money, not what's right or logical. But then, we're talking about the legislature....

Anonymous said...

Having the business collect and remit it is the only way to actually collect the tax. People want good police and fire protection and roads fixed. If the tax base keeps eroding due to internet sales, then these services will deteriorate. Easy to complain about things, but then not being willing to pay to fix it.

Anonymous said...


How about figuring out a way to get Amazon HERE. Regional distribution??? Minor retail like their new grocery concept???? South of Memphis???? Then the whole TAX thing is a moot point! It's inherent. Duh.

BUT NO. That would take more effort than to simply to pass another bill that perpetuates taxing the sh!t out of your citizens. All the while rolling back corporate taxes for your buds.

I'm so sick of Mississippi. Seventh generation. I'm planning to sell multiple properties and move out of here as soon as my last child graduates from high school.

You can't fix stupid. #msleg

Anonymous said...

Is there any real analysis available on this? It may be easy to account for items sold to MS residents from major online retailers, but there are literally tens of millions of online vendors who offer their products for sale, with new ones coming and going every day. Just curious how much effort it would take the state to collect the sales tax on a one-time sale of $9.57 at auntginnysknittedscarfs.com - I'll hazard a guess that it's a lot more than $.07.

Anonymous said...

As long as they get rid of the tax on groceries, I'm fine with it.

By the way--doesn't our state have a Republican majority house and senate, AND a Republican governor? Why are they proposing new taxes? They always say they are against taxes...

Anonymous said...

"There is nothing stopping the local pet stores in this state from banding together and negotiating their own prices." Kingfish

I'm confused as this sounds like price-fixing. Or are you stating that Kroger and Wal-Mart can get a lower price from the distributor? Also, the local store owner may have to pay a tax on inventory.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Tax the internet so we can have another trooper school, FULLY fund education and give all of us state employees a well deserved raise!

Anonymous said...

Mom and Pop stores have too much overhead to compete with Amazon, Walmart, EBay , etc....
With a internet sales tax, I can avoid it if I don't need to purchase the item. If the State needs
tax revenue I'd rather it be a sales tax I can have some control over, than higher income or
property taxes.

bill said...

10:18, if you buy shoes in Dallas and bring them back here then you pay the Texas sales tax because they're treating you as a Texas resident. Next time tell them you're a Mississippi resident and have them ship the shoes to Mississippi. You won't pay Texas tax, but it will be your responsibility to pay the appropriate Mississippi sales tax.

The question here isn't whether we should tax internet sales. We already do. The question really isn't whether we should tax internet sales from companies without a nexus in Mississippi. We already do, but it's difficult to collect because most people don't voluntarily pay it. The question is whether we should force internet based companies selling things to people in Mississippi to act as our sales tax collector and remit the money to the state.

Anonymous said...

Instead of increasing the sales tax, the state should lower the sales tax to encourage consumers to spend more, thereby collecting more tax dollars

Anonymous said...

Quite a few "tax cheats" here, the law can't be enforced as it currently stands. We wonder why we has bad roads and horrible schools. I would bet if these taxes were collected that some of the recent budget cuts would not have been necessary.

Anonymous said...

Enough with DPS getting another trooper school

Tell some of them som'itches to get from behind a got'damn desk and hit the road!

DPS has plenty of staff, the problem is how many they have working behind a desk compared to those working in the field

You give them a trooper school, they'll find a way to make them desk duty positions

Anonymous said...

9:31...Voluntarily paid sales tax. While that it very admirable and honest, I refuse to voluntarily send more money to Jackson to be allocated by the Legislature for some of their harebrained, partisan and downright stupid ideas. Heck we can't even patch the roads but we can give away money to Kior, SuperTalk Mississippi and the beef plant. What a shit-show.

Anonymous said...

I don't give a rat's tax!

Anonymous said...

Residents are supposed to pay a "usage tax". It's mandated. Hat this means is that 98% of the people posting here are avoiding their fair share of taxes.

/used to run an internet based sales business that collected sales taxes made in MISSISSIPPI because it was the law.

Anonymous said...

By the way--doesn't our state have a Republican majority house and senate, AND a Republican governor? Why are they proposing new taxes? They always say they are against taxes...

Wicker and Cochran voted for internet sales taxes when it came before the U.S. Senate a few years back. I want to say it was a John McCain/Lindsey Graham idea. To "level the playing field."

To answer your post, it's because very few Republicans in Mississippi are actually committed -- beyond lip service -- to the idea of shrinking government.

Anonymous said...

Yall ain't no better than the average thief. And depending on how much tax your evading it could be a felony.

Anonymous said...

What should be a felony is the waste our elected officials seem bound and determined to increase every year.

Anonymous said...

KF - Can you check with Deputy Phil to see if legislators and other elected state officials will be taking the sexual harassment course that will be mandated for state employees. It seems that the terms, "honey," "baby," and "sweetie" are uttered women much more often in the halls of the capitol that in any state agency (other than MHP).

Anonymous said...

at 1:59 PM

..."Voluntarily paid sales tax. While that it very admirable and honest, I refuse to voluntarily send more money to Jackson to be allocated by the Legislature for some of their harebrained, partisan and downright stupid ideas. Heck we can't even patch the roads but we can give away money to Kior, SuperTalk Mississippi and the beef plant. What a shit-show."

Don't forget to add Yates, Barksdale and Mattiace in that corporate welfare rant.

Anonymous said...

For the idgets recommending the Texas shoe tax thing....please let us know how it comes out when you tell the proprietor you ain't payin' no damned Texas State Tax cause you live in Missippi.

Not only will you be thrown out of the store....your car will be towed.

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