Online sales tax a good move for state

Published 8:53 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

People who own stores in Mississippi, drive on its roads, send their children to its public school or use any other state service will benefit from a Mississippi Department of Revenue initiative to make many online retailers collect the state sales tax.

The Department of Revenue filed notice last week, as it promised months ago, that starting Dec. 1, it will require online stores without a physical presence in the state that have sales of at least $250,000 per year in Mississippi to start adding and remitting a 7 percent tax on these transactions.

If this mandate survives the likely court challenge, it will help restore balance to a system that has unfairly given internet retailers a 7 percent price advantage over their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

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Internet retailers contribute nothing to Mississippi communities. They don’t employ anyone. They don’t own land or buildings here, so they don’t pay property taxes. They don’t sponsor youth sports teams. They don’t join the chamber of commerce. And up until recently, they didn’t pay the sales taxes that their competitors were required to extract from customers.

That’s un-American.

State Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson simply wants to collect money that is already owed the state by requiring online stores to do the same thing as all other stores. At the same time, he would be helping traditional stores that have been hurt by internet competition. This needs to happen.

— The Greenwood Commonwealth