MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Robertson

Senate Bill 2810

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-65-19, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCORPORATE DEFINITIONS REGARDING THE TELECOMMUNICATION INDUSTRY THAT HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY THE STREAMLINED SALES TAX PROJECT INTO THE PROVISIONS OF LAW THAT PLACE A SALES TAX ON TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

SECTION 1. Section 27-65-19, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-65-19. (1) (a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, upon every person selling to consumers, electricity, current, power, potable water, steam, coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel, there is hereby levied, assessed and shall be collected a tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income of the business. Provided, gross income from sales to consumers of electricity, current, power, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel for residential heating, lighting or other residential noncommercial or nonagricultural use, and sales of potable water for residential, noncommercial or nonagricultural use shall be excluded from taxable gross income of the business. Provided further, upon every such seller using electricity, current, power, potable water, steam, coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel for nonindustrial purposes, there is hereby levied, assessed and shall be collected a tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the cost or value of the product or service used.

(b) There is hereby levied, assessed and shall be collected a tax equal to one and one-half percent (1-1/2%) of the gross income of the business when the electricity, current, power, steam, coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel is sold to or used by a manufacturer, custom processor, technology intensive enterprise meeting the criteria provided for in Section 27-65-17(1)(f), or public service company for industrial purposes, which shall include that used to generate electricity, to operate an electrical distribution or transmission system, to operate pipeline compressor or pumping stations or to operate railroad locomotives; however,the tax imposed on natural gas under this paragraph shall not exceed Ten and One-half Cents (10.5) per one thousand (1,000) cubic feet and sales of fuel used to produce electric power by a company primarily engaged in the business of producing, generating or distributing electric power for sale shall be exempt from sales tax as provided in Section 27-65-107.

(c) The one and one-half percent (1-1/2%) industrial rate provided for in this subsection shall also apply when the electricity, current, power, steam, coal, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel is sold to a producer or processor for use directly in the production of poultry or poultry products, the production of livestock and livestock products, the production of domesticated fish and domesticated fish products, the production of marine aquaculture products, the production of plants or food by commercial horticulturists, the processing of milk and milk products, the processing of poultry and livestock feed, and the irrigation of farm crops.

(d) The one and one-half percent (1-1/2%) rate provided for in this subsection shall not apply to sales of fuel for automobiles, trucks, truck-tractors, buses, farm tractors or airplanes.

(e) (i) Upon every person providing services in this state, there is hereby levied, assessed and shall be collected:

1. A tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income received from all charges for intrastate telecommunications services. * * *

2. A tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income received from all charges for interstate telecommunications services.

3. A tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income received from all charges for international telecommunications services.

4. A tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income received from all charges for ancillary services.

5. A tax equal to seven percent (7%) of the gross income received from all charges for products delivered electronically, including, but not limited to, software, music, games, reading materials or ring tones.

(ii) A person, upon proof that he has paid a tax in another state on an event described in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph (e), shall be allowed a credit against the tax imposed in this paragraph (e) on interstate telecommunications service charges to the extent that the amount of such tax is properly due and actually paid in such other state and to the extent that the rate of sales tax imposed by and paid in such other state does not exceed the rate of sales tax imposed by this paragraph (e).

(iii) Charges by one telecommunications provider to another telecommunications provider holding a permit issued under Section 27-65-27 for services that are resold by such other telecommunications provider, including, but not limited to, access charges, shall not be subject to the tax levied pursuant to this paragraph (e).

(iv) For purposes of this paragraph (e):

1. "Telecommunications service" means the electronic transmission, conveyance or routing of voice, data, audio, video or any other information or signals to a point, or between points. The term "telecommunications service" includes such transmission, conveyance or routing in which computer processing applications are used to act on the form, code or protocol of the content for purposes of transmission, conveyance or routing without regard to whether such service is referred to as voice over Internet protocol services or is classified by the Federal Communications Commission as enhanced or value added. The term "telecommunications service" shall not include:

a. Data processing and information services that allow data to be generated, acquired, stored, processed or retrieved and delivered by an electronic transmission to a purchaser where such purchaser's primary purpose for the underlying transaction is the processed data or information;

b. Installation or maintenance of wiring or equipment on a customer's premises;

c. Tangible personal property;

d. Advertising, including, but not limited, to directory advertising;

e. Billing and collection services provided to third parties;

f. Internet access service;

g. Radio and television audio and video programming services regardless of the medium, including the furnishing of transmission, conveyance and routing of such services by the programming service provider. Radio and television audio and video programming services shall include, but not be limited to, cable service as defined in 47 USC 522(6) and audio and video programming services delivered by commercial mobile radio service providers, as defined in 47 CFR 20.3;

h. Ancillary services; or

i. Digital products delivered electronically, including, but not limited to, software, music, video, reading materials or ring tones.

2. "Ancillary services" means services that are associated with or incidental to the provision of telecommunications services, including, but not limited to, detailed telecommunications billing, directory assistance, vertical service and voice mail service.

a. "Conference bridging" means an ancillary service that links two (2) or more participants of an audio or video conference call and may include the provision of a telephone number. Conference bridging does not include the telecommunications services used to reach the conference bridge.

b. "Detailed telecommunications billing service" means an ancillary service of separately stating information pertaining to individual calls on a customer's billing statement.

c. "Directory assistance" means an ancillary service of providing telephone number information and/or address information.

d. "Vertical service" means an ancillary service that is offered in connection with one or more telecommunications services, which offers advanced calling features that allow customers to identify callers and to manage multiple calls and call connections, including conference bridging services.

e. "Voice mail service" means an ancillary service that enables the customer to store, send or receive recorded messages. Voice mail service does not include any vertical services that the customer may be required to have in order to utilize the voice mail service.

3. "Intrastate" means telecommunication service that originates in one United States state or United States territory or possession, and terminates in the same United States state or United States territory or possession.

4. "Interstate" means a telecommunications service that originates in one United States state or United States territory or possession, and terminates in a different United States state or United States territory or possession.

5. "International" means a telecommunications service that originates or terminates in the United States and terminates or originates outside the United States, respectively.

(v) For purposes of paragraph (e), the following sourcing rules shall apply:

1. Except for the defined telecommunications services in item 3 of this subparagraph, the sales of telecommunications services sold on a call-by-call basis shall be sourced to:

a. Each level of taxing jurisdiction where the call originates and terminates in that jurisdiction, or

b. Each level of taxing jurisdiction where the call either originates or terminates and in which the service address is also located.

2. Except for the defined telecommunications services in item 3 of this subparagraph, a sale of telecommunications services sold on a basis other than a call-by-call basis, is sourced to the customer's place of primary use.

3. The sale of the following telecommunications services shall be sourced to each level of taxing jurisdiction as follows:

a. A sale of mobile telecommunications services other than air-to-ground radiotelephone service and prepaid calling service is sourced to the customer's place of primary use as required by the Mobile Telecommunication Sourcing Act.

A. A home service provider shall be responsible for obtaining and maintaining the customer's place of primary use. The home service provider shall be entitled to rely on the applicable residential or business street address supplied by such customer, if the home service provider's reliance is in good faith; and the home service provider shall be held harmless from liability for any additional taxes based on a different determination of the place of primary use for taxes that are customarily passed on to the customer as a separate itemized charge. A home service provider shall be allowed to treat the address used for purposes of the tax levied by this chapter for any customer under a service contract in effect on August 1, 2002, as that customer's place of primary use for the remaining term of such service contract or agreement, excluding any extension or renewal of such service contract or agreement. Month-to-month services provided after the expiration of a contract shall be treated as an extension or renewal of such contract or agreement.

B. If the commissioner determines that the address used by a home service provider as a customer's place of primary use does not meet the definition of the term "place of primary use" as defined in the paragraph, the commissioner shall give binding notice to the home service provider to change the place of primary use on a prospective basis from the date of notice of determination; however, the customer shall have the opportunity, prior to such notice of determination, to demonstrate that such address satisfies the definition.

C. The commission has the right to collect any taxes due directly from the home service provider's customer that has failed to provide an address that meets the definition of the term "place of primary use" which resulted in a failure of tax otherwise due being remitted.

b. A sale of post-paid calling service is sourced to the origination point of the telecommunications signal as first identified by either:

A. The seller's telecommunications system; or

B. Information received by the seller from its service provider, where the system used to transport such signals is not that of the seller.

c. A sale of a prepaid calling service or prepaid wireless calling service shall be subject to the tax imposed by this paragraph if the sale takes place in this state. If the customer physically purchases a prepaid calling service or prepaid wireless calling service at the vendor's place of business, the sale is deemed to take place at the vendor's place of business. If the customer does not physically purchase the service at the vendor's place of business, the sale of a prepaid calling card or prepaid wireless calling card is deemed to take place at the first of the following locations that applies to the sale:

A. The customer's shipping address, if the sale involves a shipment;

B. The customer's billing address;

C. Any other address of the customer that is known by the vendor; or

D. The address of the vendor, or alternatively, in the case of a prepaid wireless calling service, the location associated with the mobile telephone number.

4. A sale of a private communication service is sourced as follows:

a. Service for a separate charge related to a customer channel termination point is sourced to each level of jurisdiction in which such customer channel termination point is located.

b. Service where all customer termination points are located entirely within one (1) jurisdiction or levels of jurisdiction is sourced in such jurisdiction in which the customer channel termination points are located.

c. Service for segments of a channel between two (2) customer channel termination points located in different jurisdictions and which segment of channel are separately charged is sourced fifty percent (50%) in each level of jurisdiction in which the customer channel termination points are located.

d. Service for segments of a channel located in more than one jurisdiction or levels of jurisdiction and which segments are not separately billed is sourced in each jurisdiction based on the percentage determined by dividing the number of customer channel termination points in such jurisdiction by the total number of customer channel termination points.

5. A sale of ancillary services is sourced to the customer's place of primary use.

(vi) For purpose of subparagraph (v) of this paragraph (e):

1. "Air-to-ground radiotelephone service" means a radio service, as that term is defined in 47 CFR 22.99, in which common carriers are authorized to offer and provide radio telecommunications service for hire to subscribers in aircraft.

2. "Call-by-call basis" means any method of charging for telecommunications services where the price is measured by individual calls.

3. "Communications channel" means a physical or virtual path of communications over which signals are transmitted between or among customer channel termination points.

4. "Customer" means the person or entity that contracts with the seller of telecommunications services. If the end user of telecommunications services is not the contracting party, the end user of the telecommunications service is the customer of the telecommunications service. Customer does not include a reseller of telecommunications service or for mobile telecommunications service of a serving carrier under an agreement to serve the customer outside the home service provider's licensed service area.

5. "Customer channel termination point" means the location where the customer either inputs or receives the communications.

6. "End user" means the person who utilizes the telecommunications service. In the case of an entity, "end user" means the individual who utilizes the service on behalf of the entity.

7. "Home service provider" has the meaning ascribed to such term in Section 124(5) of Public Law 106-252 (Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act).

8. "Mobile telecommunications service" has the meaning ascribed to such term in Section 124(7) of Public Law 106-252 (Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act).

9. "Place of primary use" means the street address representative of where the customer's use of the telecommunications service primarily occurs, which must be * * * the residential street address or the primary business street address of the customer. In the case of mobile telecommunications services, the place of primary use must be within the licensed service area of the home service provider.

10. "Post-paid calling service" means the telecommunications service obtained by making a payment on a call-by-call basis either through the use of a credit card or payment mechanism such as a bank card, travel card, credit card or debit card, or by charge made to a telephone number which is not associated with the origination or termination of the telecommunications service. A post-paid calling service includes a telecommunications service, except a prepaid wireless calling service that would be a prepaid calling service except it is not exclusively a telecommunications service.

11. "Prepaid calling service" means the right to access exclusively telecommunication services, which must be paid for in advance and which enables the origination of calls using an access number or authorization code, whether manually or electronically dialed, and that is sold in predetermined units or dollars of which the number declines with use in a known amount.

12. "Prepaid wireless calling service" means a telecommunications service that provides the right to utilize mobile wireless service as well as other nontelecommunications

services, including the download of digital products delivered electronically, content and ancillary service, which must be paid for in advance that is sold in predetermined units or dollars of which the number declines with use in a known amount.

13. "Private communication service" means a telecommunication service that entitles the customer to exclusive or priority use of a communications channel or group of channels between or among termination points, regardless of the manner in which such channel or channels are connected, and includes switching capacity, extension lines, stations and any other associated services that are provided in connection with the use of such channel or channels.

14. "Service address" means:

a. The location of the telecommunications equipment to which a customer's call is charged and from which the call originates or terminates, regardless of where the call is billed or paid.

b. If the location in sub-item a of this item 14 is not known, the origination point of the signal of the telecommunications services first identified by either the seller's telecommunications system or in information received by the seller from its service provider, where the system used to transport such signals is not that of the seller.

c. If the location in sub-items a and b of this item 14 are not known, the location of the customer's place of primary use.

(vii) 1. For purposes of this subparagraph (vii), "bundled transaction" means a transaction that consists of distinct and identifiable properties or services which are sold for a single nonitemized price but which are treated differently for tax purposes.

2. In the case of a bundled transaction that includes telecommunications services, ancillary services, Internet access, or audio or video programming services taxed under this chapter in which the price of the bundled transaction is attributable to properties or services that are taxable and nontaxable, the portion of the price that is attributable to any nontaxable property or service shall be subject to the tax unless the provider can reasonably identify that portion from its books and records kept in the regular course of business.

3. In the case of a bundled transaction that includes telecommunications services, ancillary services, Internet access, audio or video programming services subject to tax under this chapter in which the price is attributable to properties or services that are subject to the tax but the tax revenue from the different properties or services are dedicated to different funds or purposes, the provider shall allocate the price among the properties or services:

a. By reasonably identifying the portion of the price attributable to each of the properties and services from its books and records kept in the regular course of business; or

b. Based on a reasonable allocation methodology approved by the commission.

4. This subparagraph (vii) shall not create a right of action for a customer to require that the provider or the commission, for purposes of determining the amount of tax applicable to a bundled transaction, allocate the price to the different portions of the transaction in order to minimize the amount of tax charged to the customer. A customer shall not be entitled to rely on the fact that a portion of the price is attributable to properties or services not subject to tax unless the provider elects, after receiving a written request from the customer in the form required by the provider, to provide verifiable data based upon the provider's books and records that are kept in the regular course of business that reasonably identifies the portion of the price attributable to the properties or services not subject to the tax.

(2) Persons making sales to consumers of electricity, current, power, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas or other fuel for residential heating, lighting or other residential noncommercial or nonagricultural use or sales of potable water for residential, noncommercial or nonagricultural use shall indicate on each statement rendered to customers that such charges are exempt from sales taxes.

(3) There is hereby levied, assessed and shall be paid on transportation charges on shipments moving between points within this state when paid directly by the consumer, a tax equal to the rate applicable to the sale of the property being transported. Such tax shall be reported and paid directly to the State Tax Commission by the consumer.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.