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Amazon charging sales tax, bill could add more

Maybe you shop online to avoid paying sales tax.

If you’re shopping with Amazon, that’s about to change.

As of February 1st, the retail giant will be collecting sales tax on all its online purchases within the state of Mississippi. This is a move that many have disagreed with, but it wasn’t a state decision.

“Amazon reached out to us, about nine months ago,” said Commissioner of Revenue Herb Frierson. “They told us they were going to start collecting it.”

Frierson said Mississippi is not the only state where Amazon is charging sales tax.

“They’re doing this in about 35 states,” said Frierson. “They’re adding a few states at a time because it would be an IT nightmare to try to go nationwide at one time.”

The state would benefit from the sales tax collection, however, as all proceeds would be deposited into the state’s general fund.

“We’re looking at a range each year of $10 million to $30 million,” said Frierson.

The money, since it would be in the general fund, could be used for a multitude of different issues, such as education or infrastructure.

“It could be spent on whatever, that’s up to the legislature,” said Frierson. “It’s up to their discretion.”

Frierson said he has received some pushback from people who are disappointed in the change.

“But what people need to realize is that Amazon is doing this, not the state,” said Frierson.

However, other retail websites will still be sales-tax free, for the time being, given a federal ruling by the Supreme Court in the 90’s.

House Bill 480 has passed the state House Ways and Means committee and is headed to the House floor that could allow for the state to redefine what an out-of-state retailer is, and that could bring additional online sales tax into the state.

If you’d prefer not to pay sales taxes on items you buy online, now is the time to pick up the phone and call your representative.


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