1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Holland
House Bill 729
(As Passed the House)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 89-1-23, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE CERTAIN DISCLOSURES TO THE COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR PERTAINING TO THE OWNERSHIP OF ANY INTEREST IN MISSISSIPPI AGRICULTURAL LANDS BY NONRESIDENT ALIENS; TO REQUIRE THE COUNTY TAX ASSESSORS TO PROVIDE NOTICE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT TO ALL AGRICULTURAL LANDOWNERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 89-1-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
89-1-23. (1) Resident aliens may acquire and hold land, and may dispose of it and transmit it by descent, as citizens of the state may. Except as otherwise provided in this section, nonresident aliens shall not hereafter acquire or hold land, but a nonresident alien may have or take a lien on land to secure a debt, and at any sale thereof to enforce payment of the debt may purchase the same, and thereafter hold it, not longer than twenty (20) years, with full power during said time to sell the land, in fee, to a citizen; or he may retain it by becoming a citizen within that time. All land held or acquired contrary to this section shall escheat to the state; but a title to real estate in the name of a citizen of the United States, or a person who has declared his intention of becoming a citizen, whether resident or nonresident, if he be a purchaser or holder, shall not be forfeited or escheated by reason of the alienage of any former owner or other person.
Any person who was or is a citizen of the United States and became or becomes an alien by reason of marriage to a citizen of a foreign country, may hereafter inherit, or if he or she heretofore inherited or acquired or hereafter inherits, may hold, own, transmit by descent or transfer land free from any escheat to the State of Mississippi, if said land has not heretofore escheated by final valid order or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Nonresident aliens who are citizens of Syria or the Lebanese Republic may inherit property from citizens or residents of the State of Mississippi.
Nonresident aliens may acquire and hold not to exceed three hundred twenty (320) acres of land in this state for the purpose of industrial development thereon. In addition, any nonresident alien may acquire and hold not to exceed five (5) acres of land for residential purposes. The nonresident alien may dispose of any such land, but if any land acquired for industrial development ceases to be used for industrial development while owned by a nonresident alien, it shall escheat to the state. The limitation set forth in this paragraph shall not apply to corporations in which the stock thereof is partially or wholly owned by nonresident aliens.
(2) The ownership of any interest in Mississippi agricultural land by individual nonresident aliens or by local or foreign corporations through which a nonresident alien owns an interest in Mississippi agricultural land shall be disclosed by the nonresident alien agricultural landowner or the nonresident alien's agent, including disclosure by a corporation's officer or its agent or by a land management company or its agent, to the county tax assessor of the county in which the agricultural land is located. The disclosure shall include the following:
(a) The owner's name, local and foreign address and local and foreign telephone numbers;
(b) The percentage of ownership in the Mississippi agricultural land; and
(c) The nationality of the nonresident alien or aliens owning an interest in Mississippi agricultural land.
For agricultural land acquired after July 1, 1997, the disclosure required by this subsection must be provided to the tax assessor's office no later than ninety (90) days after the acquisition of the land. For agricultural land acquired before July 1, 1997, the disclosure required by this subsection must be provided to the tax assessor's office within ninety (90) days after the notice required herein has been mailed to ssuch landowners. The tax assessor of each county shall mail by December 1, 1997, notice of the provisions of this act to all agricultural landowners of record on January 1, 1997, in his county.
For purposes of this subsection, "agricultural land" means land used for agricultural purposes as determined under Section 27-35-50.
Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection is subject to a civil penalty imposed by the tax assessor not to exceed ten percent (10%) of the fair market value of the agricultural land on the date of the assessment of the penalty.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.