MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Ways and Means

By: Representative Reynolds

House Bill 1366

AN ACT TO CREATE THE TAXPAYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE TAX COMMISSION ATTACH THE TAXPAYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS TO EACH TAX RETURN, FORM OR BOOKLET GIVEN TO A MISSISSIPPI TAXPAYER; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

SECTION 1. The Mississippi State Legislature finds that:

(a) All taxpayers are accorded the basic rights of fair and equitable treatment under the law;

(b) Mississippians should be informed of their tax-related rights and responsibilities under the laws as a Mississippi taxpayer;

(c) Mississippi citizens should be given the information and assistance to understand and meet their state tax responsibilities;

(d) Tax laws not only include strong incentives for a citizen's voluntary compliance, but also protect citizens from inappropriate tax collection procedures; and

(e) No clear rights exist to give taxpayers the confidence that they are protected under the laws of this state with regard to tax issues.

SECTION 2. (1) The tax commissioner shall:

(a) Attach a copy of the "Mississippi Taxpayers' Bill of Rights" specified in Section 3 of this act to each tax return, form or booklet given to a Mississippi taxpayer.

(b) Provide a toll-free telephone number, toll-free facsimile number and the necessary forms to contact the Mississippi Tax Commission to obtain information about any of the rights specified in Section 3 of this act or to make a complaint based on any of the rights enumerated in Section 3 of this act.

(c) Make an annual report to all Mississippi residents, by means of Internet access or providing paper copies of the report to any resident requesting same, evaluating the performance of the Tax Commission or companies offering the tax return services.

(2) The bill of rights described in Section 3 of this act shall supercede any bill of rights pertaining to the same subject matter that may be promulgated by the Tax Commission.

SECTION 3. The following shall be attached to every tax return, form or booklet provided to citizens of this state:

"MISSISSIPPI TAXPAYERS' BILL OF RIGHTS

This Bill of Rights is a summary of your rights. The Mississippi Legislature adopted the Bill of Rights and requires the State Tax Commission to provide you a copy for each tax return, form or booklet provided to you. Mississippi law gives you certain rights regarding state tax laws. This Bill of Rights identifies your rights specified by this statute, but it does not include all your rights.

You have the right to call the commission, free of charge at [insert toll-free telephone number of the Mississippi State Tax Commission] to learn more about:

Your rights as a taxpayer;

Your tax history;

Your right to appeal;

Location of necessary documents to comply with state law; and

The use of tax information by companies or other state agencies.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS AS A TAXPAYER

1. PROTECTION OF PRIVACY. It is your right to have information to your tax history, financial situation, assessments or reviews held in strict confidence. Any tax return information, correspondence, or departmental discussions concerning your tax situation will be completely confidential. Employees or former employees of the Tax Commission who violate this confidentiality are subject to criminal prosecution that may result in dismissal plus fines.

2. EXAMINATIONS. You are entitled to a fair examination and explanation of any changes we may propose to your tax return. The Mississippi Tax Commission routinely examines tax returns to ensure that taxpayers comply with state tax statutes. If we examine your tax return, we may ask you to provide information to verify figures on your return.

Examinations are done by mail or through personal interviews with auditors. You have the right to ask that the examination be held at a time and place convenient for you and the auditor.

3. REPRESENTATION. You have the right to have an attorney, accountant or designated agent present at your own expense during any examination. You may consult with your authorized agent during the examination.

You may make an audio recording of the proceeding at your own expense.

4. APPEALS. You have the right to appeal any decision of the State Tax Commission.

5. HEARINGS. The Tax Commission will notify you of the time and place of an administrative hearing within a reasonable time after you request the hearing. All parties attending the hearing may present information and ask questions. Written decisions are mailed to the taxpayer following a hearing. You have the right to appeal written decisions to the circuit court for your county of residence.

6. REFUND. You have the right to file a claim for a refund if you believe that you have overpaid your taxes.

7. PENALTIES AND INTEREST. The Tax Commission may assess penalties for violations of tax laws.

8. EQUAL TREATMENT. All citizens shall be treated fairly and equally in the Tax Commission's application of the law."

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.