by WAPT US
July 7, 2017
Jackson City Councilman Ashby Foote said the capital city is getting ripped off on internet sales and believes the city should get its fair share.
Foote is from Ward One and said the state should be sharing with the city revenue that it collects in online sales tax residents pay on products from Amazon.com.
“They estimate they’re going to collect $150 million this year in sales tax from Amazon, but that’s going straight into the general fund and none of that is coming to the city,” Foote said.
Amazon voluntarily collects the tax, but state leaders said they don’t have to share it with cities because by law the sales tax is classified as a “use tax.”
Foote is not buying that argument.
Yeah that’s really playing games with words, it’s not really being forthright with the people who are paying the money.
“The use tax, which is what’s being collected on these internet sales, that comes to the state and is not distributed to cities because the sales tax is based on where selling business is located, not where the the buyer is located,” Forest Thigpen with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy said.
State lawmakers dropped plans this year to force online retailers to start paying the sales tax after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a state can’t collect sales taxes from a company without a physical presence in that state.
However, now that Amazon plans to buy Whole Foods, which has a store in Jackson, there is a question on whether the company will actually have a presence, but Amazon is choosing to collect the tax now anyway.
“If they are collecting the money in an agreement with the Department of Revenue, our fair share of those sales tax revenues should come to the city of Jackson,” Foote said.