1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Johnson (19th), White (29th), Nunnelee, Kirby
Senate Bill 2709
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-19-56.5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXEMPT FROM AD VALOREM AND PRIVILEGE TAXES THE MOTOR VEHICLES OF PERSONS WHO ARE ISSUED DISTINCTIVE LICENSE PLATES OR TAGS FOR BEING PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS OR PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE UNMARRIED SURVIVING SPOUSE OF A PERSON WHO IS ISSUED SUCH A LICENSE PLATE OR TAG SHALL BE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR OR RETAIN SUCH A LICENSE PLATE OR TAG; TO PROVIDE A PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS OF THIS SECTION; TO AMEND SECTION 27-51-41, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 27-19-56.5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-19-56.5. (1) In recognition of the patriotic service rendered by Mississippians who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and by Mississippians who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal, any such person is privileged to obtain in his or her county of legal residence, for the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) in total cost regardless of the make or model of the motor vehicle, one (1) distinctive motor vehicle license plate or tag identifying him as a Pearl Harbor survivor or a Purple Heart Medal recipient. The distinctive plates or tags shall be of a color and design designated by the tax commission.
(2) The distinctive license plates shall be prepared by the tax commission and shall be issued through the tax collectors of the counties in the same manner as are other motor vehicle license plates or tags. * * * An applicant for such distinctive plates shall present to the issuing official either (a) written proof that the applicant is an honorably discharged former member of one of the Armed Forces of the United States and, while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, was present during the attack on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, between the hours of 7:55 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., Hawaii time, or (b) written proof that the applicant is a Purple Heart Medal recipient.
(3) (a) The distinctive license plates or tags so issued shall be used only upon a personally or jointly owned private passenger vehicle (to include station wagons, recreational motor vehicles and pickup trucks) registered in the name, or jointly in the name, of the person making application therefor, and when issued to such person shall be used upon the vehicle for which issued in lieu of the standard license plate or license tag normally issued for such vehicle.
(b) Not more than one (1) such motor vehicle license plate or tag shall be issued to each qualified applicant.
(c) The vehicles for which motor vehicle license plates or tags are issued under this section are hereby exempt from all ad valorem and privilege taxes; however, the surviving spouse of a deceased person who was issued a license plate or tag under this section shall be entitled to apply for or retain a license issued under this section and may continue annually to renew registration for one (1) motor vehicle license plate or tag under this section for as long as the spouse remains unmarried. At the time for application or renewal registration, a surviving spouse who desires to retain the distinctive plate or tag issued under this section shall file with the county tax collector a sworn statement that the spouse is unmarried. Any such vehicle when so registered shall be exempt from all ad valorem and privilege taxes.
(d) The distinctive license plates shall not be transferable between motor vehicle owners; and in the event the owner of a vehicle bearing a distinctive plate shall sell, trade, exchange or otherwise dispose of the vehicle, such plate shall be retained by such owner and returned to the tax collector.
(4) Any person evading or violating any of the provisions of this section, or attempting to secure benefits hereunder to which he is not entitled, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).
SECTION 2. Section 27-51-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-51-41. (1) The exemptions from the provisions of this chapter shall be confined to those persons or property exempted by this chapter or by the provisions of the Constitution of the United States or the State of Mississippi. No exemption as now provided by any other statute shall be valid as against the tax levied by this chapter. Any subsequent exemption from the tax levied hereunder shall be provided by amendment to this section which shall be inserted in the bill at length.
(2) The following shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation:
(a) All motor vehicles, as defined in this chapter, and including motor-propelled farm implements and vehicles, while in the hands of bona fide dealers as merchandise and which are not being operated upon the highways of this state, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(b) All motor vehicles belonging to the federal government or the State of Mississippi or any agencies or instrumentalities thereof shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(c) All motor vehicles owned by any school district in the state shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(d) All motor vehicles owned by any fire protection district incorporated in accordance with Sections 19-5-151 through 19-5-207 or by any fire protection grading district incorporated in accordance with Sections 19-5-215 through 19-5-243 shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(e) All motor vehicles owned by units of the Mississippi National Guard shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(f) All motor vehicles which are exempted from highway privilege taxes under Section 27-19-1 et seq. shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes.
(g) All motor vehicles operated in this state as common and contract carriers of property, private commercial carriers of property, private carriers of property and buses, all of which have a gross weight in excess of ten thousand (10,000) pounds, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(h) Antique automobiles as defined in Section 27-19-47 shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(i) Street rods as defined in Section 27-19-56.6 shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(j) Motor vehicles owned by disabled American veterans, or by spouses of deceased disabled American veterans, in accordance with Section 27-19-53, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(k) One (1) motor vehicle owned by the unremarried surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while on active duty, is killed or dies and one (1) motor vehicle owned by the unremarried surviving spouse of a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States or of the National Guard who, while on active duty for training, is killed or dies shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes.
(l) Motor vehicles owned by recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor or by former prisoners of war, or by spouses of such deceased persons, in accordance with Section 27-19-54, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(m) Any religious society, ecclesiastical body or any congregation thereof shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation on one (1) private carrier of passengers, as defined in Section 27-19-3, owned by it, which is used exclusively for such society and not for profit. All motor vehicles owned by any such religious society or any educational institution having a seating capacity greater than seven (7) passengers and used exclusively for transporting passengers for religious or educational purposes and not for profit shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(n) All motor vehicles primarily used as rentals under rental agreements with a term of not more than thirty (30) continuous days each and under the control of persons who are engaged in the business of renting such motor vehicles and who are subject to the tax under Section 27-65-231 shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(o) Antique motorcycles as defined in Section 27-19-47.1, shall be exempt from all ad valorem taxes.
(p) Motor vehicles owned by Mississippians who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mississippians who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal, or by spouses of such persons, who are issued a license plate or tag in accordance with the provisions of Section 27-19-56.5, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation.
(3) Any claim for tax exemption by authority of the above-mentioned code sections or by any other legal authority shall be set out in the application for the road and bridge privilege license, and the specific legal authority for such tax exemption claim shall be cited in said application, and such authority cited shall be shown by the tax collector on the tax receipt as his authority for not collecting such ad valorem taxes, and the tax collector shall carry forward such information in his tax collection reports.
(4) Any motor vehicle driven over the highways of this state to the extent that the owner of such motor vehicle is required to purchase a road and bridge privilege license in this state, yet the legal situs of such motor vehicle is located in another state, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes authorized by this chapter.
(5) If a taxpayer shall sell, trade or otherwise dispose of a vehicle on which the ad valorem and road and bridge privilege taxes have been paid in any county in the state, he shall remove the license plate from the vehicle. Such license plate must be surrendered to the issuing authority with the corresponding tax receipt, if required, and credit shall be allowed for the taxes paid for the remaining tax year on like privilege or ad valorem taxes due on another vehicle owned by the seller or transferor or by the seller's or transferor's spouse or dependent child. If the seller or transferor does not elect to receive such credit at the time the license plate is surrendered, the issuing authority shall issue a certificate of credit to the seller or transferor, or to the seller's or transferor's spouse or dependent child, or to any other person, business or corporation, at the direction of the seller or transferor, for the remaining unexpired taxes prorated from the first day of the month following the month in which the license plate is surrendered. The total of such credit may be used by the person or entity to whom the certificate of credit is issued, regardless of the relative amounts attributed to privilege taxes or to county, school or municipal ad valorem taxes. Any credit allowed for taxes due or any certificate of credit issued may be applied to like taxes owed in any county by the person to whom the credit is allowed or by the person possessing the certificate of credit. No credit, however, shall be allowed on the charge made for the license plate. Such license plates surrendered to the tax collector shall be retained by him, and in no event shall such license plate be attached to any vehicle after being surrendered to the tax collector, nor shall any license plate be transferred from one (1) vehicle to any other vehicle.
(6) If the person owning a vehicle subject to taxation under the provisions of this chapter does not operate such vehicle on the highways of this state from the date of acquisition or, if previously registered, from the end of the anniversary month of the tag and decals to the date on which he makes application for a current license tag or decals, he shall pay such ad valorem tax for a period of twelve (12) months beginning with the first day of the month in which he applies for a current license tag or decals under Chapter 19, Title 27, Mississippi Code of 1972. The owner shall submit an affidavit with an application attesting to the fact that the vehicle was not operated on the highways of this state from the date of acquisition or, if previously registered, from the end of the anniversary month of the tag and decals to the date on which he makes application for the current license tag or decals.
(7) Any person found violating any of the provisions of this section shall be arrested and tried, and if found guilty shall be fined in an amount double the total amount of taxes involved.
SECTION 3. Nothing in this act shall affect or defeat any claim, assessment, appeal, suit, right or cause of action for taxes due or accrued under the highway privilege tax laws or the motor vehicle ad valorem tax laws before the date on which this act becomes effective, whether such claims, assessments, appeals, suits or actions have been begun before the date on which this act becomes effective or are begun thereafter; and the provisions of the highway privilege tax laws and the motor vehicle ad valorem tax laws are expressly continued in full force, effect and operation for the purpose of the assessment, collection and enrollment of liens for any taxes due or accrued and the execution of any warrant under such laws before the date on which this act becomes effective, and for the imposition of any penalties, forfeitures or claims for failure to comply with such laws.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after October 1, 1998.