Sales taxes for Internet shopping

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2017

Shopping on the Internet has become a popular way to purchase items.

One of the many benefits is that there’s no need to be fully dressed, if you are shopping from home at least.

Another benefit of purchasing items online is that sales tax is typically not charged to Mississippi residents.

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But that’s about to change, first with Amazon. The company has voluntarily agreed to start charging Mississippi residents the customary seven percent sales tax on all goods beginning on February 1 of this year.

Other online retailers are also being pushed to do so voluntarily, or be forced to when and if a bill currently in the legislature is passed.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Trey Lamar of Senatoba, is being reviewed during this session, and would strengthen  a use tax that has reportedly been on Mississippi’s books for years.

That use tax basically states that any purchase from the Internet or via a catalog should incur a tax, to be paid by the purchaser when they file their taxes at the end of the year.

That means a number of Mississippi residents have been skirting the tax law for some time. But should we be paying tax on purchases outside of brick and mortar stores?

Technically, it’s only fair. If sales tax were charged on all purchases, then maybe the state could balance its budget and ensure that education is fully funded, in addition to many other programs and agencies.

That is until the budget falls out of line again, and state lawmakers begin to scramble for other avenues for more funding to cover the deficit.