2002 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Brown, Whittington, Mayo
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE STATE TAX COMMISSION, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS TO CREATE A TASK FORCE TO FACILITATE THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF DRUG TRAFFICKING KINGPINS REGARDING TAX EVASION AND OTHER CRIMES; TO REQUIRE REPORTING AND DETERMINATIONS OF POSSIBLE VIOLATIONS OF LAW BEFORE PROSECUTION; TO AUTHORIZE A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR TO BE EMPLOYED BY THE STATE TAX COMMISSION; TO REQUIRE THAT CERTAIN INFORMATION SHALL BE CONFIDENTIAL; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO AMEND SECTION 27-3-79, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; TO AUTHORIZE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Attorney General, the State Tax Commission, the Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Narcotics shall create a task force to facilitate the transfer of information from law enforcement agencies to the Attorney General indicating that an individual is a drug trafficking kingpin, is laundering money received from drug trafficking and is likely evading the income reporting requirements of state law. The Attorney General shall examine all relevant information to determine the probability that such violations of law exist. The Attorney General may enlist the aid of any other law enforcement agency in the state in an investigation under this section. If the Attorney General determines that tax evasion is probably occurring, he shall forward the information to the State Tax Commission with a request that the State Tax Commission perform a criminal tax evasion investigation. The State Tax Commission shall report its preliminary findings to the Attorney General within one hundred twenty (120) days after receiving the information.
(2) If the State Tax Commission's report to the Attorney General indicates that the individual who is the subject of the investigation has failed to report income as required by law and such failure constitutes a criminal violation, the Attorney General is authorized to prosecute the individual for criminal tax violations. The Attorney General is authorized to file an exparte petition for release of tax information pursuant to Section 27-7-83 to the Bureau of Narcotics for presentation to appropriate state or federal prosecutors for the prosecution of federal tax offenses or other applicable offenses.
(3) Subject to available funding, the State Tax Commission is authorized to employ a criminal investigator to carry out the investigative and reporting requirements of this section.
(4) Any information received by the Attorney General, the State Tax Commission, the Bureau of Narcotics or other law enforcement agency shall be confidential except to the extent that disclosure is necessary to pursue tax evasion or other criminal tax charges or unless a proper judicial order is obtained pursuant to Section 27-7-83. Information received under this section is exempt from the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.
(5) As used in this section:
(a) "Drug trafficking kingpin" means an individual who directs or participates in directing the illegal activities of a kingpin organization.
(b) "Kingpin organization" means a group of
individuals, operating as a group either formally or informally, who sell, transport and/or deliver controlled substances in felony violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law. To qualify as a kingpin organization, the group would either have to distribute major quantities of controlled substances, or their trafficking activities would have to occur in or affect more than one (1) circuit court district.
SECTION 2. Section 27-3-79, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
27-3-79. (1) The State Tax Commission shall develop and implement a tax amnesty program in accordance with the provisions herein contained. The program shall commence on September 1, 1986, and end on November 30, 1986. The program shall apply to all taxes which are required to be collected by the State Tax Commission or Commissioner and which were first due and payable in any year prior to 1986. Tax amnesty shall be available to any individuals or corporations who are liable for such taxes and who have failed to pay all or any portion of their taxes, failed to file returns or filed inaccurate returns; however, tax amnesty shall not be available to individuals or corporations subject to tax-related criminal investigations or prosecution, or where the taxes have been previously assessed by the commission, or to estimated tax payments required to be made under Section 27-7-319. All civil and criminal penalties for nonpayment of taxes, including the penalties set forth in subsection (2) of this section, shall be waived for any eligible individual or corporation who, during the tax amnesty period, makes total payment of the taxes due. The State Tax Commission is authorized to do all things necessary to carry out the tax amnesty programs which are not inconsistent with this section.
(2) Any person eligible for the tax amnesty program and who fails to make total payment of the taxes due during the tax amnesty period or any person who, after July 1, 1986, willfully attempts in any manner including violations determined under Section 1 of House Bill No._____, 2002 Regular Session, to evade or defeat any tax imposed by the State Tax Commission, or assists in the evading of such tax or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) and, in the case of a corporation, not more than Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00), or imprisoned not more than five (5) years, or both.
(3) Any prosecutions for tax evasion as described in this section shall be commenced within six (6) years next after the statutory due date for the taxes in issue.
SECTION 3. The Attorney General is authorized to promulgate any necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this act.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.