Equipment Supplier Not Liable for Tax on Sales to Contractors at Reduced Rate in Mississippi

A company that sold commercial kitchen equipment and supplies to contractors was not liable for a sales tax assessment that was based on the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s claim that the company should have charged 7% instead of the state’s 3.5% contractor’s tax rate on certain sales. Mississippi allows a 3.5% contractor’s tax rate to be applied instead of the standard 7% state sales tax rate if the sale is made under a Material Purchase Certificate (MPC) and the items become a component part of the structure that the contractor is building.The Mississippi Supreme Court noted in the case that no language in any of the cited statutes or regulations required the taxpayer to inquire about whether items should or should not be purchased under a MPC.The onus of complying with the statutes is placed clearly on the contractor who applies for and obtains a MPC. The Department can audit the contractor and have the contractor pay the correct amount.(Mississippi Department of Revenue v. Hotel and Restaurant Supply, Mississippi Supreme Court, No. 2014-CA-01685-SCT, March 10, 2016)

Posted on May 9, 2016