In December 2017, the Mississippi Department of Revenue finalized a new sales and use tax regulation addressing remote sellers and establishing a $250,000 bright-line nexus standard. The department began that process in January 2017 by issuing a proposed regulation and refined it following a public hearing held in February. The regulation positioned the state to take advantage of any repeal of Quill’s physical presence test, but the department stated it would not enforce the new rule until the Supreme Court took that step. Now that Quill’s physical presence rule has been invalidated in Wayfair, taxpayers should expect the department to move forward with these remote-use tax collection efforts. The following information should help summarize Mississippi’s current rules and identify several important details and questions that have yet to be answered.
Mississippi law [Section 27-67-4(2)(e)] has long required remote sellers to collect use tax if they have nexus with the state by “purposefully or systematically exploiting the consumer market provided by this state.” This could be accomplished “by any media-assisted, media-facilitated or media-solicited means, including, but not limited to, direct mail advertising, unsolicited distribution of catalogues, computer-assisted shopping, television, radio or other electronic media, or magazine or newspaper advertisements or other media.” This collection obligation is contained within the use tax code, not the sales tax code as may be the case in some other states.
Regulatory Bright-Line Rule
The final regulation specifies that sellers have a “substantial economic presence” if their sales into the state exceed $250,000 for the prior 12 months. The original proposed regulation would have based the sales threshold on the prior calendar year, so this change means sellers should track Mississippi transactions on a rolling, monthly basis if they are not otherwise registered. Unlike other states, Mississippi does not specify any minimum number of transactions to create nexus, and Department of Revenue officials have stated informally that a single transaction may meet the requirement when coupled with the other “market exploitation” criteria discussed below. Continue Reading