Gov. Bryant Signs MS Taxpayer Fairness Act Into Law

The Mississippi Taxpayer Fairness Act, an MEC priority issue, was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant following the luncheon at MEC’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 10.

Thanks to the leadership of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Joey Fillingane and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith this law will provide meaningful reform in tax administration in Mississippi. The act is designed to create a level playing field so there is fairness in the appeals process. This provides certainty for all taxpayers.

The act provides solutions that protect the rights of taxpayers, yet preserve the state's ability to address abusive and unique situations. Specifically, this important legislation standardizes the Department of Revenue's (DOR) apportionment procedures, removing uncertainty by providing reliable guidelines for all taxpayers. The party requesting deviation from these guidelines would bear the burden of proof to justify the change.

The legislation also increases taxpayer's access to an independent on-the-record appeal by removing the current "pay-to-play" restriction. This burden has affected all taxpayers - businesses and individuals alike - when dealing with tax audit appeals. These changes remove the current "guilty-until-proven-innocent" approach that impedes Mississippi's economic development efforts.

The act also:

Sets clear best-business practices for the DOR's notification process
Aligns Mississippi tax interest rates with today's market rates
Clarifies penalties and provide uniform language among statutes
The support of Lt. Gov Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn was also vital in ensuring this legislation was bought before both chambers. The Senate passed the measure by a 40-9 vote, while in the House it passed 121-0.