Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Taxman cometh

Local UPS drivers are going to hate life for the next few days.  The Mississippi Department of Revenue issued the following statement:

Amazon has announced that it will begin collecting Mississippi sales tax February 1, 2017.

Commissioner Frierson stated “I appreciate Amazon for voluntarily stepping forward to collect the Mississippi sales tax. I hope that other e-retailers will follow the lead of Amazon. A special thanks to Department of Revenue Associate Commissioner Meg Bartlett for her work with Amazon to secure this agreement.”

Govenor Bryant also issued the following statement: 

 "I commend Department of Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson in leading these negotiations and appreciate Amazon for coming to the table in agreement to pay voluntary use taxes owed to the state of Mississippi. Obviously, this will provide more revenue to the general fund, starting this fiscal year, to help support core government services like law enforcement, our military, and public education."

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised, but this is fair, IMHO. It helps, in a small way, to put local merchants on a more level playing field.

Anonymous said...

"to pay voluntary use taxes owed to the state of Mississippi" What a crock...........

Anonymous said...

Won't amount to crap. Serious shoppers will simply avoid Amazon. They shore ain't the only game in town. If gas is too high on one corner, you drive on down the road a piece.

Anonymous said...

Will make it easy to break the Amazon habit.....

Anonymous said...

That is good news for Mississippi retailers.

Anonymous said...

And who says republicans are imposed to increasing taxes?

Anonymous said...

I've always used eBay more than Amazon because they are typically cheaper and free shipping is more the norm so I'll be using them more than ever now.

Anonymous said...

I've always used eBay more than Amazon because they are typically cheaper and free shipping is more the norm so I'll be using them more than ever now.

Anonymous said...

sounds fair to me....about 10 years too late....prob should add a % to make up for lost time

Anonymous said...

Note to self, do not buy anything on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican and I have imposed occassionally.

Anonymous said...

This opens the door for Amazon to collect sales tax from its customers and just keep the money because the State has no authority to go get it from them.

Johnny Weir said...

Has anyone used Jet.com? Do they charge a tax?

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
Don't ask me what I want it for
If you don't want to pay some more
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.

MY CFO Says said...

This is not an increase in taxes, or a new tax. The current law requires that a tax be paid on these purchases - it is a 'use tax'. But it is up to the taxpayer to pay it.

Currently, probably 99% of any compliance with the use tax laws is by medium to big businesses that purchase large amount of goods from out of state that is not exempt from the tax (products used in further manufacturing, for example). Businesses pay these use taxes because their accounting and auditing issues point them out; small businesses and individuals don't comply with the law. Many probably don't even know it exists - like 1:15 above that calls the statement referring to it a 'crock'.

The deal is, the use tax has nothing to do with internet purchases. It covers any purchases from an out-of-state vendor that ships into the state. It used to not amount to much money but with the advent of Amazon et.al., it is now a big revenue source for the state. So - why not move to collect it. They are collecting other taxes that are due; an individual pays his income taxes or they come collect it from you. For DOR to work to collect this tax is nothing more.

Anonymous said...

The state has to get the money they are going to give the judges for their retirement from somewhere.

Anonymous said...

If an investment paid a guaranteed 7% a year, that would be huge. The state steals that off the top of every purchase--not an annual APR.

Give them 5% of what you earn annually and 7% of what you buy. Seems like they would be awash in revenue.

Lowes Home Improvement Store earns 4% clear on their merchandise. State pulls 7%. State is the biggest Gangster around.

Anonymous said...

Whoo whoo more money to be squandered.

Anonymous said...

Taxation is theft.

Anonymous said...

What this has done is kill the dumbass argument that online retailers shouldn't pay the same sales taxes that every local business has to. If Amazon will do it voluntarily our lawmakers might scrap up enough courage to do the common sense thing and level the playing field, even though many of their rich buddies will be constantly whining about having to shell out that whopping extra seven cents per dollar.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:10pm

Then how do you propose paying for your Troopers, National Guard, Firemen and other essential service staff?

Anonymous said...

will local governments get a portion of this, as they do current sales tax receipts?

Anonymous said...

4:17 PM--Jealous of The Rich--you do not know the value of 7%---guess how I know you are not wealthy?

Anonymous said...

3:29 - you need to go back to your special school and relearn whatever math, government, capitalism, or whatever that gibberish you are trying to spin. The state is not selling a damn thing so what is your comparison to Home Depot? The state is not 'stealing' with a sales tax - it is taxing the people who benefit from the state's and the city's services: roads, schools, drainage structures, parks, libraries, whatever it is that you might happen to use or need. You might say that you don't use any of it but remind me of that when your house burns down, or you need a policeman to investigate an automobile accident.

And please find me that person that is paying 5% of what they earn - that is the top rate in MS but it is before any deductions or credits. Betcha you don't know a damn soul that is 'giving' 'them' 5% of what you earn.

Home Depot's 4% (which is an incorrect rate, but that's another story for another day) has to provide a return on investment for its stockholders, after rent, COGS, and overhead. But Home Depot is getting some benefits as well from the government to whom they send that 7% collected.

Your comparison is about like comparing JFP or CL (or for that matter, JJ) with a news source - totally unrelated.

Anonymous said...

Jet.Com was acquired by Wal-Mart so you will soon be paying sales tax there.

Anonymous said...

Well, 4:22, complicated question, but thank you for asking.

First, I would imagine that you and I have far different definitions of what an 'essential service' might be.

Were I to choose, I would tie any 'essential service' to a payment connected to delivering said service. Some sort of excise works in two of your three examples. "My Troopers" could be funded by a gasoline excise that correlates directly to my use of roads. More I drive, more I pay for Troopers. And you really think "My Troopers" are there for safety? We have the technology to limit the speed limit of most cars with their on board computers. We don't. Why? Because the law enforcement jurisdictions rely on us being able to get away with speeding most of the time so they can catch us when we don't and collect revenue. Why are there DUI checkpoints now? Because the threshold BAC is so low that the driving isn't erratic enough to detect it. One needs to come upon an unexpected road block, slow to the flashing lights and distractions safely, then blow in a tube to get caught. If that driver is that dangerous, then why not use some other method? It's all about the money. You're not a citizen, you're an ATM.

Fire service? How about an excise through my fire insurance? I could elect not to pay that. No way a bank is going to lend me money to buy a home if I don't pay for that. Hell, they require folks to pay PMI if they fail to reach a down payment threshold. Talk about government bloat? JFD is paid in relation to how JPD is paid, due to Union contracts. If I go to my local grocer and buy bread, the price of Blue Bunny is not tied to Wonder because of Union pressure, but my fire service is. I can refuse to buy either Blue Bunny or Wonder. I can't refuse my fire service because you will throw me in a cage and confiscate my property if I refuse to pay my taxes. I can never choose to live on my land, eschewing all government service as a hermit. Let that sink in. One can never, truly own one's land.

That leaves us to the third, more difficult example, the Guard. First of all, let me say 'Merica and let my Bald Eagle scream his affirmation. We could make the Guard more like militias once were. An armed citizenry could swear to keep a weapon and equipment ready to defend their own homes. Nah, too busy fighting brush fire wars all over the globe for our federal masters. Let me drone on (what I did there, see it?) about the Guard. Before we started nationalizing them to fight overseas we used them to respond to emergencies here at home. Ignore my arguments not to tax. What if my rulers in Jackson were just smarter with the taxes I'm already paying. First. Eliminate MEMA. I know, a shame after building that Taj Mahal in Pearl so that Feeeeel can wear his monogrammed MEMA gear in front of the cameras every time it rains. Pretend the Guard stays at home. Fund the Guard to do their 2 week a year service doing an exercise responding to a huge natural disaster. If it doesn't come, great, they know how to respond. If it does come, they know how to respond and it's already paid for. Plus, it keeps surprise in the mix.

But you're not really interested in doing that 4:22. My rulers have proven to be incredibly poor stewards of my tax dollars and only show signs of getting worse. Shame on the Democrats for their one party rule for so long and making us last in everything. And Republicans, shame on you for doubling down on it.

Keep kissing government's collective ass, 4:22.

Anonymous said...

This is negative for everyone. I just cancelled the renewal of my Amazon Prime Membership. I will no longer go to Amazon first for online purchases.

The state is not going to receive much money because others will do something similar. Why pay the extra 7%?

The state should review how it collects it's revenue and, more importantly, review how it spends the hard earned dollars of it's taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Finally you cheaters will have to pay..haha
Only thing about this is, is that it will save Tater, and believe me it wouldn't be happening if he didn't approve.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry I am so ignorant but I look at JJ most every night.
The information seems pretty accurate with more truth in the
comments section that the referenced news article. Things are changing
out there. Enjoy.

Kingfish said...

I never used Amazon prime because it was tax free. The dog food I buy is $15-20 cheaper per bag than the local pet store. At five times a year it adds up. If I want to get dvd's, especially box sets, I usually can't find them in town anymore. Best Buy usually doesn't have a computer with the specs or brand I want so Amazon or Newegg fit the bill. I got my drone for $250 cheaper on Amazon then I could at a local store. It adds up. I don't mind paying if it's in the ballpark but not when it is in a different universe.

Oh, and when they knock down Instantpot 7-1 down to $69, its great to get or give as a gift. Then there are things such as SD cards and HDMI cables that are way overpriced at the stores.

Smokeless Keyboard.. said...

5:42; I might buy your bullshit if I were camped out on a city or county street, utilizing the services of a policeman to direct traffic around me as I keyed in my internet order. Or, if my computer were smoking and the fire department had to dispatch six men to my house to stand-by while my order was sent. Otherwise, Goober, the state, county nor municipality has jack shit to do with my transaction.

Anonymous said...

People already owe this tax, but they are supposed to pay it themselves if the retailer doesn't collect. Sounds like a bunch of tax cheats on this board.

Cancelled Amazon Prime said...

I never used Amazon prime due to the lack of 7% sales tax either, but I am cancelling it never-the-less.

It's one thing for the state to over-reach, but there is not a law that requires Amazon to collect this tax.

Amazon's choice, simply opens up my choices for on-line shopping. Amazon does not have the best price on but a few things but the prices are close enough to justify the ease of prime and 2 day shipping.

Now, that is removed and I'll simply shop online like I did before I started using Amazon. I buy 15-20 items per month from Amazon, but still have to search and research. Lately, most amazon searches bring up Chinese sourced items and I've received 3 counterfeit items in the past 6 months.

Anonymous said...

"IM CANCELLING MUH PRIME!" AMAZON SELLS FAKE STUFF!" "WHY WE GOTTA PAY TAXES NOW!" The bedwetters in this thread are a hoot.

Anonymous said...

Feel Bryant just raised yo taxes. remember, it's not a new tax unless Feel says it is. i'm just glad to hear how proud he is about the new "Feel" tax on Amazon purchases.

Anonymous said...

The comments on this just make me want to beat my head against the wall. It is not a new tax, they are just making sure you pay the damn thing now.

It is just like if the state made a toll road and set up a toll booth for payment, unmanned and unmonitored. Using the "honor system" to drop your payment at the booth. After no one paid the toll for years, they put an attendant in the toll booth to collect what was due to them. IT IS THE SAME PRINCIPLE!

Everyone had the opportunity to pay the Use Tax on their taxes, but they didn't. The "Honor System" did not work, so they are now fixing the problem.

Anonymous said...

Phil is having a banner year: new taxes, blown Raytheon deal, and no early voting. Let's party!

Anonymous said...

I have zero problem paying the "Amazon" tax. What I do have a problem with: the return on the taxes I pay to live in this state is piss poor and continues to get worse. I also have an issue with the state GOP's addiction to spending money they don't have while continuing to provide tax cuts to their business buddies. They NEED this money. That's the problem. You cannot continue to tax your highest earners without consequences. With the money I spend on taxes (of every sort) and insurance (crazy rates because of the population and risk pool) I could easily live somewhere else with better amenities and a much healthier economy than this state. It's no wonder we continue to lose population. I'm out of here as soon as my last child graduates! DONE. Tater and co. can HAVE IT ALL to themselves,

Anonymous said...

Feel said 'I'.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish - because of the savings you mentioned a lot of state agencies have used Amazon for some purchases and it has saved the state a lot of money in the past.
Well, Amazon says they will not have a way not to charge state government agencies sales tax. So, no more Amazon for state or local purchases.

Cancelled Amazon Prime said...

@ 8:35pm

I cancelled my Amazon Prime.

If your desire is to give something a name to make yourself feel more special, give it a hoot.

The use tax does not apply across the board. When you travel by vehicle, do you willing submit to the use tax for the amount of gasoline that you purchased out of state? Why does a use tax become exempt solely because you paid a sales tax in another state?

Perhaps some of you millennials should give some critical thought to the role of government in a life that is supposed to be free. Targeted taxation is social governing and has never, in the history of man, created the Utopia you believe to be at the end of such a dangling noose.

Anonymous said...

January 25, 2017 at 5:50 PM,

LIKE! +1 xEleventybillion etc

Anonymous said...

IT SI NOT NEW TAX. It is only a collection method to collect taxes already due that are not being collected. Those of you so adamant against taxes, do you want police protection? Fire Protection? Good roads? These things cost money and when the tax base is moving from the retailer down the street to the internet, government loses this money.

Anonymous said...

The government isn't losing anything, 8:56, it was never theirs to begin with. They have nothing that they don't take from others.

And look around. Your roads are awful. Let's be honest, volunteer fire departments would probably serve most Mississippi areas well enough. And police protection? No, the police come after a crime has been committed. And more often than not, they're stretched too thin to prevent/police violent crime because they're raising revenue by either the ridiculous war on drugs or DUI hustles. Richland PD Buildings ain't gonna build themselves.

What you are getting? Interior design contracts going to the kid of members of the Executive Branch. DoR with outdated computers, but sitting in a nice building in Clinton, in an inconvenient location, costing taxpayers millions more than the plan to move them into downtown Jackson so that Mistah Speakah can continue to get elected. You're getting Arts Commission, a brand spanking new Farmers' Market open a couple of days a week because they can only sell Mississippi products...but that's fine, at least a City Council Person's child got the restaurant contract; a contract separated from fairgrounds vending for the first time, BTW. Go see the two vendors at the old Farmers' Market...doing a booming business seven days a week. You're getting MEMA, full time spokespeople for departments, Homeland Security, padded contracts with set asides for favored constituencies. You're getting Legislative Special Sessions costing out the yin yang so these idiots can play stupid games. You're getting failing schools with budgets geared to failing, overpaid administrators when classrooms aren't getting resources. You're getting lawsuits against stupid legislation signed by a guy with a Masters in Political Science who either knows better or is playing the base to keep control.

Forget any ideology about taxation. Were your teenager to act this foolishly with money you gave them...you'd turn off the spigot.

Enjoy your crumbling roads, high crime, and failing schools.

Anonymous said...

@8:56 Technically - you might be correct. However, it was a nice perk while it lasted. YOU are missing the point though. We already pay taxes for: police protection (local taxes) fire protection (local taxes & fees), roads (state and federal taxes...gas tax). I pay property taxes, car tags (which include property taxes for local services), state income tax, federal income tax, one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, gas taxes, FICA, taxes on interest earned, and more. So please explain to those of us who just don't seem to get it, why Mississippi's GOP had to go for this "cash grab" again? I can assure you I pay more than my share in taxes already and see little in return. Crappy roads. Crappy schools, local and state government boondoggles galore, and cost of higher education that is inflated too. No, @8:56 we don't have a tax problem. We have a spending problem. We have an economic development problem. We have a leadership problem. We have political system that is rotten to the core. Last I checked we are still at the bottom of just about every national ranking that matters. If Herb and co. feel like they've accomplished something important with the collection of our Amazon taxes; my congratulations. But as a taxpayer and a lifelong resident it just feels like one more kick in the gut.

Anonymous said...

One thing some people seem not to know. Amazon is not paying the tax. The people are paying the tax.

We are already taxed to death. The state has nothing to do with internet sales. We already pay taxes on taxes. What the state does not tax they demand a license or a permit or user fee.

There is little evidence of the proper use of the taxes we already pay. Roads are in terrible shape. Fire trucks have even gotten stuck in potholes on the way to a fire. School buses get stuck in potholes. Law enforcement is a joke. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Our troopers are too busy satisfying the urges of truckers and assaulting little old ladies.

We need to reduce taxes until the leaders decide to reduce waste.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can build a wall around Jackson with the extra tax money.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you like to bitch slap the politicians who come up with ideas like this? Maybe if they passed a law that a person had that right every time a politician passed something like this we could legally bitch slap the next politician we see we would feel much better.
Might wake up a few politicians also.

Anonymous said...

Republicans' first tax increase in many years disguised as something else. More to come my friends. At least the dems admit their love for a tax. Repubs prefer to sneak around with it.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if some of the posters on this topic were running state government. We would have no taxes, a fantastic road and highway system, no crime, a perfect utopia tax free. I don't agree with every thing the government, local, srate or federal does but I'm not stupid enough to believe that we can do without some government services and regulations. I currently reside in Texas and Bubba everything ain't perfect here either nor is it in any state.

Anonymous said...

May not be perfect in Texas but you do not pay state tax. Here in Ms. we pay a good amount of state tax and it sure isn't perfect either. Last time I was in Texas the roads were quite a bit better than here.

Anonymous said...

Can you "feel" the tax now?

Anonymous said...

3:20
There are some good roads but try I 35 from San Antonio to Dallas. Austin is devoid of freeways traffic is awful. A large majority of new road ways are toll roads in town even in cities. Yep no state income tax but in larger cities property taxes are more than MS state income tax. If you are young (under 60) and educated there are lots of good job opportunities but be prepared for much more expensive housing and commutes of over an hour if you are more than 15 miles from your job. All depends on what you want and what you are giving up to get it.

Anonymous said...

5:49, this 3:20, I lived in Texas for about 20 years. In Ms. we have high state tax and high property taxes. Car tags are much higher than Texas also. There are a lot of smaller towns where commuting is not a problem.
I lived in Sherman, Texas. Lots of jobs, low cost of living, no state taxes, cheap tags. Still can't figure out why I ended up in Ms.

Why Indeed said...

"Still can't figure out why I ended up in Ms."

Leave, think about, then get back to us.

Anonymous said...

5:39, after some thought I remembered why I am in Ms. It was so easy to get a job here. Most of the people here cannot fill out a job application. You are assured to get the job if you have a resume and can sign your own name.
When I left Texas and moved to Ms. I raised the average IQ in both states.

Anonymous said...

This is not a new tax though, right? The law requiring the payment of taxes on internet purchases is already on the (IRS) books, right? This conversation only address the collection of the taxes, right? How does this equate to a 'new' tax?

Anonymous said...

10:03; Do you actually realize what you just stepped in?

Anonymous said...

5:50 - why don't you move to a bunker out in the wilderness where you don't need a trooper, don't have to have fire insurance so you don't care about fire protection, etc. and bullshit. Your mentality shows through, and we all can appreciate your comments because of your obvious 'intelligence'. Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

Love all these comments - particularly the ones that don't think they get any services at all from the state (or city for that matter) but don't think they should pay anything in any form. But that's actually another topic for another day.

The shocking thing about this Amazon story is missed. Feel didn't do it. Tater didn't do it. Speakah didn't do it.

Amazon - on their own - agreed to collect and pay this tax to MS. They have done the same thing in other states where they don't have a 'brick and mortar' presence. Why? Because most every state, and the congress, are moving toward this anyway, and it was an easier route for Amazon.

Is the state happy about it (Feel, Tater, Speakah)? Absolutely. It makes collecting a tax easier than it has been, and it will add to the state's revenue stream.

Do the local mom and pop stores like it? Damn right. Does away with that non-competitive advantage that Amazon had over them, although I doubt it will really affect many people's buying habits.

So all you that want to bitch about your favorite politician to try to place blame for everything, go right ahead. Show your ignorance on here where you can hide behind your bitching. Claim your 'pure conservatism' that you don't want to pay a damn tax for anything, while all the time complaining about what services you aren't getting.

Amazon will start sending in their tax payments to the state. Life will go on. You can have another post tomorrow to bitch about Feel, or Tater, or Speakah. Help yourself. We all need a chuckle every now and then.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Frierson, you need to settle down and get some rest. You sound a little too wound up. And, put down that whiskey glass. It's after 10 pm on a Friday night and you are ranting on a blog entry that only a handful of other people will read.

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