2005 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Robertson

Senate Bill 2983

(As Passed the Senate)



     SECTION 1.  Section 27-65-85, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-65-85.  It shall be unlawful for any person to engage or continue in any business for which a tax is imposed by this chapter without procuring a license as required by Section 27-65-27 of this chapter, or after such license has been revoked     It shall be unlawful for any person to fail or refuse to make the return provided to be made in Section 27-65-33 of this chapter.

     It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to pay any sales tax levied by this chapter.

     It shall be unlawful for any person to make any false or fraudulent return or false statement in any return, with intent to defraud the state or to evade the payment of the tax or any part thereof

     It shall be unlawful for any person to aid or abet another in any attempt to evade the payment of the tax, or any part thereof.

     It shall be unlawful for the president, vice president, secretary or treasurer of any company to make or permit to be made for any company or association any false return, or any false statement in any return required by this chapter with the intent to evade the payment of the tax due.

     It shall be unlawful for any person to fail or refuse to permit the examination of any book, paper, account, record, or other data by the commissioner, or his duly appointed agent, as required by this chapter, including the records of any common carrier, bank, wholesale or retail dealer in any kind of merchandise whether in regard to his own or another's return.

     It shall be unlawful to fail or refuse to permit the inspection or appraisal of any property by the commissioner or his duly appointed agent.

     It shall be unlawful to refuse to offer testimony or produce any record as required by this chapter.

     It shall be unlawful for any person using the public roads and highways of this state for the transportation of merchandise for sale, whether such person be a contract carrier or operating a private vehicle, other than a common carrier operating under the Interstate Commerce Commission or the Mississippi Public Service Commission, and having a permanent office in this state where proper records of merchandise transported are kept and available for inspection by the commissioner or his agents, to fail to have in his or her possession at all times while such merchandise is being transported, and allow inspection of, the invoices or sales tickets correctly disclosing the nature and quantity of such merchandise and the consignor and consignee of each article being transported.  However, the records of a common carrier shall be open for inspection at any time for the purpose of obtaining any information bearing upon the administration of this chapter.  In the case of any vehicle engaged in the transportation of merchandise for sale, neither belonging to nor operated by a regulated common carrier and not keeping complete records in this state, the commissioner or his authorized agents may examine any invoices or sales tickets carried by the person in charge of such vehicle, and may compare them with the character and quantity of merchandise being transported and the consignee thereof, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the provisions of law are being complied with.  The absence of such invoices or delivery or sales tickets indicating to whom said merchandise belongs, or is to be delivered, in the hands of such person so engaged in transporting the merchandise, shall be prima facie evidence that such person is transporting such merchandise in violation of this chapter and liable for all penalties imposed under this section.

     Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months in the county jail, or punished by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court, within the limitations aforesaid.  In addition to the foregoing penalties, any person who shall knowingly swear to or verify any false or fraudulent return or statement, with the intent aforesaid shall be guilty of the offense of perjury and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished in the manner provided by law.

     The commissioner may require the attendance of any person and take his testimony with respect to any matter pertaining to any taxpayer's liability for taxes under this chapter, with power to administer oaths to such person or persons.  If any person summoned as a witness shall fail to obey any summons to appear before the commissioner or his authorized agent, or shall refuse to testify or answer any material question or to produce any book, record, paper or other data when required to do so, such failure or refusal shall be reported to the Attorney General, the district attorney or county attorney, who shall thereupon institute proceedings in the circuit court of the county where such witness resides to compel obedience to any summons of the commissioner, or his authorized agent.  Said proceedings shall be by petition for citation to such person refusing to obey such summons, to show cause why such person should not be required to obey such summons; and the circuit judge of the district may hear such petition in termtime or vacation upon two (2) days' notice to the person sought to be cited; and the circuit judge may enter such order as he may deem proper, and punish any failure to comply with such order as for any other contempt of said court.  Officers who serve summonses or subpoenas, and witnesses attending, shall receive like compensation as officers and witnesses in the justice of the peace courts; and such compensation shall be paid from the proper appropriation for the administration of this chapter.

     SECTION 2.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.