MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2013 Regular Session

To: Ways and Means

By: Representative Boyd

House Bill 4

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 27-59-3, 27-59-7, 27-59-11 AND 27-59-12, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS FOR PURPOSES OF THE STATE LIQUEFIED COMPRESSED GAS TAX LAWS; TO PROVIDE FOR A PRIVILEGE TAX ON NATURAL GAS SOLD OR DELIVERED BY A UTILITY TO THE OWNER OF A PRIVATE REFUELING SYSTEM OR TO A PUBLIC REFUELING STATION FOR COMPRESSION INTO COMPRESSED NATURAL GAS FOR USE AS FUEL IN MOTOR VEHICLES; TO PROVIDE THAT A UTILITY THAT SELLS OR DELIVERS NATURAL GAS TO THE OWNER OF A PRIVATE REFUELING SYSTEM OR TO A PUBLIC REFUELING STATION FOR SUCH PURPOSES SHALL INSTALL OR CAUSE TO BE INSTALLED A SEPARATE METER FOR THE NATURAL GAS TO BE USED BY THE PRIVATE REFUELING SYSTEM OR PUBLIC REFUELING STATION FOR SUCH PURPOSES; TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON DESIRING TO OPERATE A PRIVATE REFUELING SYSTEM OR A PUBLIC REFUELING STATION MUST FIRST OBTAIN A PERMIT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE; TO BRING FORWARD SECTIONS 27-59-9, 27-59-13, 27-59-17, 27-59-23, 27-59-25, 27-59-29, 27-59-31, 27-59-33, 27-59-35, 27-59-41 AND 27-59-47, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH ARE SECTIONS OF THE LIQUEFIED COMPRESSED GAS TAX LAWS, FOR PURPOSES OF AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

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

SECTION 1. Section 27-59-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-59-3. The words, terms and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context requires otherwise:

(a) "Person" means any individual, firm, copartnership, joint venture, association, corporation, estate, trust, or any other group or combination acting as a unit, and the plural as well as the singular number unless the intention to give a more limited meaning is disclosed by the context.

(b) "Highway" means and includes every way or place, of whatever nature, including public roads, toll roads, streets, and alleys of the state generally open to the use of the public or to be opened or reopened to the use of the public for the purpose of vehicular travel, and notwithstanding that the same may be temporarily closed for the purpose of construction, reconstruction, maintenance or repair. Provided further, that the confines of a highway shall include the entire width and length of the right-of-way.

(c) "Motor vehicle" means every vehicle licensed for highway use by which any person or property is transported or drawn upon the highways of this state and which is self-propelled.

(d) "Liquefied compressed gas" means gases derived from petroleum or natural gas which are in the gaseous state at normal atmospheric temperature and pressure, but which may be maintained in the liquid state at normal atmospheric temperature by suitable pressure. As used herein, the term shall be deemed to mean and include methane, ethane, propane, ethylene, propylene, butylene, butane, isobutane, and any and all liquid flammable materials derived from petroleum or natural gas having a vapor pressure exceeding forty (40) pounds per square inch, absolute, at one hundred (100) degrees F. Normal storage of these gases is a liquid under pressure.

(e) "Compressed natural gas" and "liquefied natural gas" mean natural gas after it has been compressed or liquefied for use as a fuel in a motor vehicle and shall not include natural gas prior to such final compression or liquefication.

(f) "Compressed gas" means "liquefied compressed gas," "liquefied natural gas," "compressed natural gas" and any other liquefied or compressed gas that is used or is usable as fuel in a motor vehicle.

(g) "Use" means, in addition to its original meaning, the receipt of compressed gas by any person into the fuel supply tank of a motor vehicle or into a receptacle from which compressed gas is supplied by any person to his own or other motor vehicles.

(h) "Terminal" means a tank farm within this state with the minimum storage capacity for the receipt of a full barge delivery or common carrier pipeline delivery of compressed gas.

(i) "Refiner" or "processor" means every person who shall produce, manufacture, refine, distill, compress or liquefy compressed gas in this state, excluding, however, any person operating a private refueling system.

(j) "Public utility" means a person engaged in the distribution of natural gas whose rates are subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission of the State of Mississippi.

(k) "Distributor" means any person who sells or delivers compressed gas for use in the operation of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state and any person who shall import, receive, purchase, acquire, manufacture, refine, use, store or sell any compressed gas in this state, on which the excise taxes hereinafter levied by this chapter have not been paid or the payment of which is not covered by the bond of a qualified Mississippi distributor of compressed gas, excluding, however, any person operating a private refueling system. All "refiners" and "processors" shall qualify as distributors of compressed gas. All persons operating marine or pipeline terminals and all persons operating underground storage facilities exclusive of those storing natural gas shall qualify as distributors of compressed gas. No person may qualify as a distributor for the sole purpose of using compressed gas as a fuel to propel a motor vehicle or motor vehicles owned by him on the highways of this state.

(l) "User" means any person who uses compressed gas to propel a motor vehicle over the highways of this state.

(m) "Commission" or "department" means the Department of Revenue of the State of Mississippi, either acting directly or through its duly authorized officers, agents and employees.

(n) "United States government" means and includes all purchasing officers of the Armed Forces of the United States and the United States Property and Fiscal Officer for the State of Mississippi or any other state, appointed pursuant to Section 708, Title 32, United States Code, when purchasing compressed gas with federal funds for the account of and use by a component of the Armed Forces as defined herein.

(o) "Armed Forces" means and includes all components of the Armed Forces of the United States, including the Army National Guard, the Army National Guard of the United States, the Air National Guard and the Air National Guard of the United States, as those terms are defined in Section 101, Title 10, United States Code, and any other reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States enumerated in Section 261, Title 10, United States Code.

(p) "Private refueling system" means compressed gas refueling equipment necessary in order for natural gas to be delivered directly through the transportation system of a utility to a private residence or place of business of a user for compression into compressed natural gas for use in the operation of the user's own motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state.

(q) "Compressed gas refueling equipment" means compressors (whether used separately or in combination with cascade tanks), process piping, hoses, dispensing units at the point where compressed natural gas is delivered into motor vehicles as fuel, meters and other parts and equipment that constitute a refueling system capable of dispensing compressed natural gas into fuel tanks of motor vehicles for use as a fuel.

(r) "Public refueling station" means compressed gas refueling equipment and other property necessary in order for natural gas to be delivered directly through the transportation system of a utility to a distributor for compression into compressed natural gas for sale to a third-party user or users for use in the operation of such third-party user's or users' motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state, including, but not limited to, sales to the general public, as well as for use in the motor vehicle or motor vehicles owned by the distributor on the highways of this state.

(s) "Private utility" means a person engaged in the distribution and sale of natural gas whose rates are not subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission of the State of Mississippi, including, but not limited to, municipal natural gas utilities, cooperative natural gas associations, and producers, gatherers and distributors of natural gas.

(t) "Utility" means a public utility and a private utility. A utility is not a refiner, processor or distributor based solely upon its sale of natural gas to a refiner, processor or distributor of compressed gas.

SECTION 2. Section 27-59-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-59-7. (1) Before any person shall engage in business as a distributor of compressed gas, he shall first make application to the * * * commissiondepartment, upon forms prescribed by the * * * commissiondepartment, for a permit to engage in said business.

(2) (a) If said application is approved, the * * * commissiondepartment may require said applicant to enter into a good and sufficient surety bond, written by a company qualified to write such bonds in the State of Mississippi, which bond shall be made payable to the State of Mississippi, in a sum not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00); or in lieu thereof, deposit with the * * * commissiondepartment a cash bond in the aforesaid amount. A personal bond in the aforesaid amounts shall also be acceptable if the same is secured by the bonds of the State of Mississippi or the United States Government. Such bond or bonds shall be in an amount not to exceed Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00), and not to exceed the compressed gas taxes estimated to become due by the said distributor for any ninety-day period. The bond herein required shall be increased within the limits hereinbefore set forth from time to time if deemed insufficient by the * * * commissiondepartment, giving to the distributor fifteen (15) days' notice, in writing, to increase said bond, said notice to state the amount of increase demanded.

(b) Said bond shall be conditioned that the distributor will fully comply with all laws pertaining to distributors of compressed gas as regulated by this chapter and to pay the compressed gas taxes and penalties provided. Provided, however, that any person who has already furnished bond under a prior petroleum tax law or shall furnish a bond to meet the requirements of any petroleum tax law administered by the * * * commissiondepartment shall not be required to furnish an additional bond, but said person shall be subject to all other conditions, requirements and liabilities imposed herein upon a distributor of compressed gas.

(3) Before any * * * publicutility sells or delivers natural gas to the private refueling system of a user or the public refueling station of a distributor for use as a fuel in a motor vehicle * * * to a user, as defined herein,or motor vehicles on the highways of this state, the * * * publicutility shall notify, in writing, the * * * commissiondepartment of its intention to engage in such activity.

(4) A utility that sells or delivers natural gas to the owner of a private refueling system to be compressed by a user or to the owner of a public refueling station to be compressed and sold by a distributor for use as a fuel in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state shall install or cause to be installed a separate meter for the natural gas to be used by the private refueling system or the public refueling station. Prior to the installation of the meter by or on behalf of the utility, the user or distributor, as applicable, shall provide a copy of its private refueling system or public refueling station permit, issued pursuant to Section 27-59-11(7), to the utility. No utility shall install or cause to be installed any such separate meter for or sell or deliver natural gas to a private refueling system or to a public refueling station without first receiving a copy of such private refueling system or public refueling station permit from the user or distributor, as applicable, and no utility shall install or cause to be installed such meter for or sell or deliver natural gas to a private refueling system or to a public refueling station except in accordance with such permit.

A * * * publicutility who sells or delivers natural gas to a user or distributor, as defined herein, shall be subject to the same requirements and penalties as distributors of compressed gas except that the * * * publicutility shall not be required to comply with Section 75-57-49.

SECTION 3. Section 27-59-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-59-11. (1) A tax at the rate of One-fourth Cent (1/4) per gallon is hereby levied upon any person engaged in business as a distributor of compressed gas, excepting natural gas, for the privilege of engaging in such business or acting as such distributor. The tax shall be based on all compressed gas, excepting natural gas, stored, used, distributed, manufactured, refined, distilled, blended or compounded in this state or received in this state for sale, storage, distribution or for any other purpose.

The tax levied herein shall become due and payable when:

(a) Compressed gas is withdrawn from storage at a refinery, marine or pipeline terminal, or underground caverns or cavities except when withdrawal is by pipeline or barge;

(b) Compressed gas imported by a common carrier is unloaded by that carrier unless the compressed gas is unloaded directly into an underground cavern or cavity for storage or directly into the storage tanks of a refinery, marine or pipeline terminal; or

(c) Compressed gas imported by any person, other than a common carrier, enters the State of Mississippi, unless the compressed gas is unloaded directly into an underground cavern or cavity for storage or directly into the storage tanks of a refinery, marine or pipeline terminal.

(2) (a) A tax at the rate of Seventeen Cents (17) per gallon until the date specified in Section 65-39-35, and Thirteen and Four-tenths Cents (13.4) per gallon thereafter, is levied upon any distributor of compressed gas for the privilege of engaging in the business of selling or delivering compressed gas, excepting compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, for use in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state.  * * * A tax at the rate of Eighteen Cents (18) per one hundred (100) cubic feet until the date specified in Section 65‑39‑35, and Fourteen and Four‑tenths Cents (14.4) per one hundred (100) cubic feet thereafter, is levied upon any distributor of compressed gas for the privilege of engaging in the business of selling or delivering compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas for use in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state.

(b) A tax at the rate of Eighteen Cents (18) per one hundred (100) cubic feet until the date specified in Section 65-39-35, and Fourteen and Four-tenths Cents (14.4) per one hundred (100) cubic feet thereafter, is levied upon any * * * publicutility for the privilege of engaging in the business of selling or delivering natural gas to * * * a user for the purpose of being used as a fuel in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state, and the taxes shall be collected from the user whenever practicalthe owner of a private refueling system or to a public refueling station to be used for the purposes described in Section 27-59-7(4).

(c) The taxes levied in paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not apply when sales or deliveries are made to persons who are holders of permitted compressed gas user's decals.

(3) Upon every person operating on the highways of this state a motor vehicle or motor vehicles using or capable of using compressed gas, except compressed natural gas, as a motor fuel and having a gross license tag weight classification of ten thousand (10,000) pounds or less, there is hereby levied an annual privilege tax of One Hundred Ninety-five Dollars ($195.00) until the date specified in Section 65-39-35, and One Hundred Sixty-five Dollars ($165.00) thereafter.

(4) Upon every person operating on the highways of this state a motor vehicle or motor vehicles using or capable of using compressed gas and having a gross license tag weight classification greater than ten thousand (10,000) pounds, there is hereby levied a privilege tax of Seventeen Cents (17) per gallon until the date specified in Section 65-39-35, and Thirteen and Four-tenths Cents (13.4) per gallon thereafter, on all compressed gas, excepting compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas, used on the highways of this state.  * * * There is hereby levied a privilege tax of Eighteen Cents (18) per one hundred (100) cubic feet until the date specified in Section 65‑39‑35, and Fourteen and Four‑tenths Cents (14.4) per one hundred (100) cubic feet thereafter, on all compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas used on the highways of this state.The taxes levied in this paragraph shall not apply to owners or operators classified by the * * * commissiondepartment as nonpermitted users.

(5) All owners and operators of motor vehicles that have a gross license tag weight classification greater than ten thousand (10,000) pounds, but not exceeding twenty thousand (20,000) pounds shall prepay Two Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($225.00) of such tax annually, and all owners and operators of motor vehicles that have a gross license tag weight classification greater than twenty thousand (20,000) pounds shall prepay Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) of such tax annually. On motor vehicles that have a gross license tag weight exceeding ten thousand (10,000) pounds, that are exclusively used by a farmer for transporting farm products produced on his own farm and also farm supplies, materials and equipment used in the growing or production of his agricultural products and have a "farm" or "F" motor vehicle license tag, the prepaid portion of said privilege tax shall be One Hundred Fifty Dollars ($150.00).

(6) The * * * commissiondepartment, in its discretion, may authorize or require the owner or operator of five (5) or more motor vehicles that use or are capable of using compressed gas, except compressed natural gas, on the highway to pay the excise tax on all compressed gas purchased for any purpose and the excise tax shall be collected by the distributor of compressed gas at the time of sale or delivery. The owners or operators authorized or required to do so shall be classified as nonpermitted users.

(7) Every person desiring to operate a private refueling system or public refueling station shall first file an application with the department for a permit for such private refueling system or public refueling station and pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee to the department of Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) at the time of filing the application. Upon the issuance of a private refueling system or public refueling station permit by the department to the user or distributor, the user or distributor, as applicable, shall then be entitled to have installed a private refueling system or public refueling station in accordance with the permit.

SECTION 4. Section 27-59-12, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-59-12. There shall not be included in the measure of the tax levied in this chapter any compressed gas:

(a) Sold or delivered by a permitted distributor of compressed gas to a second permitted distributor of compressed gas, who shall become liable for the tax unless said compressed gas is sold by the second permitted distributor to a third permitted distributor. The third permitted distributor of compressed gas shall be liable for the tax; however, a utility selling natural gas to the owner of a public refueling station shall be liable for the tax even though the owner is also a distributor.

(b) Which as an unfinished product, is used by a refinery in the manufacturing or refining of petroleum products.

(c) Sold to the United States government for use of the armed forces only, and delivered in quantities of not less than four thousand (4,000) gallons.

(d) Delivered to a bonded warehouse for storage within this state for the United States Department of Interior.

(e) Exported to a destination beyond the boundaries of this state by a permitted distributor of compressed gas, when the tax on such compressed gas has been paid or on which the tax liability imposed by this chapter has accrued against said permitted distributor.

(f) Exported by any person to a destination beyond the borders of this state in quantities of not less than three thousand (3,000) gallons by ship, vessel, barge, railroad tank car, or pipeline, or by tank truck if such tank truck is operated by a common or contract carrier.

(g) Sold or delivered to any person within this state to be used in a commercial process where it becomes a component part of any manufactured product or where used as a processing agent in the treatment of raw material in any manufacturing process.

(h) Sold or delivered to be used for test purposes at any regularly established testing laboratory in this state.

(i) Sold or delivered to be used for the purpose of generating electricity.

When compressed gas is excluded from the tax levied in this chapter by one or more of the exemptions provided, the deduction for the exemption may be taken, without the prior approval of the * * * commissiondepartment, on the monthly tax report of the distributor of compressed gas importing, selling, delivering or exporting such compressed gas. The * * * commissiondepartment may require such proof as is reasonably necessary for the administration of this chapter.

Any person who has delivered or sold compressed gas on which the tax has been paid by him to the vendor may, if the compressed gas is subject to exemption under this chapter, assign his claim for exemption to any permitted distributor of compressed gas in this state. Such distributor may deduct the amount of the tax exemption from his next compressed gas tax report, provided the distributor furnishes evidence satisfactory to the * * * commissiondepartment that the claim for exemption is valid.

In order to claim exemptions provided for under this chapter, the distributor of compressed gas must file claims therefor within three (3) years from the date of sale or delivery; otherwise, claims for such exemptions shall be disallowed.

SECTION 5. Section 27-59-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-9. If the commission approves the application and bond, it shall issue a permit authorizing said applicant to engage in business as a distributor and said permit shall not be assignable or otherwise transferable, provided, however, that no such permit shall be issued unless the applicant has complied with the provisions of Section 75-57-49, Mississippi Code of 1972. Said permit may be revoked for a single business location or any such locations by the commission at any time upon ten (10) days' written notice, if said distributor shall fail to pay the compressed gas taxes and penalties due within the time provided by law, or shall fail in any way to comply with all the provisions of this chapter, but such cancellation shall not relieve the distributor or his sureties from liability on the distributor's bond. No permit shall be issued any applicant who is in arrears, or default to the state or any subdivision thereof for any taxes.

Any person engaging in the business of a distributor without a permit having first been obtained as provided herein, or after any permit granted a distributor has been revoked, shall forfeit all right to do business as a distributor in the State of Mississippi for a period of not less than one (1) year, nor more than five (5) years. It shall be the duty of the commission, when it shall have knowledge, that any person is engaging in business as a distributor without a valid permit, to proceed by injunction or otherwise to prevent the continuance of said business of distributor of compressed gas, and any judge or chancellor, now authorized to grant injunctions, shall grant an injunction enjoining the continuance of said business for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years.

SECTION 6. Section 27-59-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-13. The excise taxes levied in this chapter shall become due and payable on or before the twentieth day of the month succeeding the month in which the tax accrues. Each distributor shall file with the commission a monthly report setting forth the quantity of compressed gas received within this state, less any authorized exemptions; the quantity of compressed gas sold for use on the highways of this state; and any other information as may be reasonably necessary for the administration of this chapter. The distributor shall remit to the commission, with the monthly report, the full amount of the excise tax shown thereon to be due.

Reports and payments sent to the commission by mail must be postmarked by the due date in order to be considered timely filed, except when the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, in which case such reports and payments must be postmarked by the first working day following the due date in order to be considered timely filed.

An amount equal to One-fourth Cent (1/4) per gallon on all compressed gas shown to be taxable for highway use may be deducted; provided, that the One-fourth Cent (1/4) per gallon tax on such compressed gas has been paid or is covered by the bond of a distributor of compressed gas.

The monthly report of the distributor shall be prepared and filed with the commission on forms prescribed by the commission or the distributor may, with the approval of the commission, furnish the required information on machine-prepared schedules. Such monthly reports shall be signed by the distributor or his duly authorized agent and contain a declaration that the statements contained therein are true and are made under the penalty of perjury.

All persons storing compressed gases, excepting natural gas, in underground caverns or cavities in this state shall make monthly reports of withdrawals of such compressed gases from storage, on forms prescribed by the commission at the same time, in the same manner, and subject to the same terms, conditions and penalties as is otherwise provided for distributors of compressed gas. Sales and deliveries of compressed gases to nonpermitted distributors shall be listed and reported on such reports separately from sales and deliveries to permitted distributors.

SECTION 7. Section 27-59-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-17. If a permittee shall at any time file a false report of any date or information required by this chapter, or shall fail, refuse or neglect to file any report as required by this chapter, or to pay the full amount of any tax required by this chapter, or fail to maintain accurately any required records, the comptroller may cancel his permit; provided, however, that, before canceling any such permit, the comptroller shall notify the permittee to show cause within ten (10) days of the date of the notice why such permit should not be canceled; and provided also that at any time prior to and pending such hearing the comptroller may, in the exercise of reasonable discretion, suspend such permit.

SECTION 8. Section 27-59-23, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-23. When any distributor or other person shall fail to submit his or its monthly report as hereinabove provided, or when any distributor or other person shall fail to keep such records as required hereinabove, or fail to allow inspection of such required records as provided in this chapter, such distributor or other person shall forfeit his right to do business as a distributor in this state for a period of not less than three (3) months, and an injunction shall be issued by any judge or chancellor, authorized to issue injunctions, enjoining said distributor or other persons from continuing said business of distributor for not less than three (3) months.

SECTION 9. Section 27-59-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-25. Each distributor of compressed gas shall maintain and keep for a period of three (3) years a record of all compressed gas received, acquired, manufactured, refined, purchased, sold or delivered within this state, together with invoices, bills of lading and other pertinent records and papers as the commission may deem reasonably necessary for the administration of this chapter.

Any person owning or operating a motor vehicle or motor vehicles, with a gross license tag weight classification exceeding ten thousand (10,000) pounds, that use or are capable of using compressed gas as a motor fuel shall maintain and keep for a period of three (3) years records from which an accurate determination of the number of miles traveled in this state and the quantity of compressed gas purchased and consumed in this state can be made.

If a distributor of compressed gas or the owner or operator fails to maintain adequate records, or if an audit of the records of the distributor or owner or operator, or any report filed by him, or any other information discloses that taxes are due and unpaid, the commission shall make assessments of taxes, damages and interest from any information available, which assessments shall be prima facie correct.

If, in the normal conduct of a distributor's or owner's or operator's business, the records of the distributor, owner or operator are maintained and kept at an office outside the State of Mississippi, it shall be a sufficient compliance with this section if the records shall be made available for audit and examination by the commission at such office location outside Mississippi. If a distributor, owner or operator fails or refuses to permit the commission or any of its employees to check and audit his records during the usual business hours of the day, the commission shall have authority to subpoena the records and have them brought to the office of the commission within ten (10) days after the subpoena is served on the distributor, owner or operator.

All actions by the state for the recovery of additional amounts claimed as tax due under this chapter must be commenced within a period of three (3) years from the date of the filing of the required report with the commission, provided that in the case of fraudulent or false report with intent to evade tax or of a failure to file a report, action may be commenced at any time. However, when an examination of a taxpayer's records to verify returns made under this chapter has been initiated and the taxpayer notified thereof either by certified mail or personal delivery of a notice by an agent of the commissioner, within the thirty-six-month examination period provided herein, the determination of the correct tax liability may be made by the commission after the expiration of said thirty-six-month examination period, provided that the determination shall be made with reasonable promptness and diligence.

SECTION 10. Section 27-59-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-29. Any person operating a motor vehicle or motor vehicles of any type on the highways of the State of Mississippi that use or are capable of using compressed gas as a motor fuel shall, before operating such motor vehicle or motor vehicles, obtain from the commission a compressed gas user's decal.

The owner or operator of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles shall no later than fifteen (15) days after the installation of the compressed gas carburetion equipment or the acquisition of such motor vehicle or motor vehicles, file with the commission an application for a compressed gas user's decal for each vehicle. Such application shall be made on forms prescribed by the commission and shall contain such information as the commission may deem reasonably necessary for administration of this chapter.

No motor vehicle privilege license tag and decal shall be issued by the county tax collector to the operator of a motor vehicle that uses or is capable of using compressed gas on the highways of this state unless an application for a compressed gas user's decal has been filed or the motor vehicle bears a current compressed gas user's decal. The county tax collector shall require an application and the annual privilege tax required by this chapter from each applicant for a motor vehicle privilege license tag and decals, whether the tag and decals are to be issued by the tax collector or by the commission. If said applicant has obtained the approval of the commission to operate as a "nonpermitted user," then the prepayment of taxes is not required; however, an application for a decal must be made. The county tax collector shall forward the application and fee to the commission within fifteen (15) days from the date received by him, and the county tax collector shall be entitled to retain One Dollar ($1.00) for each application and fee received by him and forwarded to the commission. Said fee shall be forfeited by the county tax collector if he fails to forward any application and remittance within fifteen (15) days of receipt by him. Every person engaged in business as a dealer of compressed gas carburetion equipment or in the business of installing such equipment shall, at the time of installation, collect the compressed gas user's annual privilege tax. If the operator of said motor vehicle has obtained the approval of the commission to operate as a nonpermitted user, then the prepayment of taxes is not required; however, an application for a decal must be made. The dealer or installer shall forward any application and remittance to the commission within fifteen (15) days of receipt by him. The dealer and installer shall be subject to the same requirements and penalties as a distributor of compressed gas.

No automobile or truck dealer shall operate any motor vehicle, for demonstration purposes bearing a Mississippi motor vehicle dealer tag, that uses or is capable of using compressed gas on the highways of this state, unless said dealer has paid the annual privilege tax applicable to each vehicle and secured from the commission a certificate of authority to operate the motor vehicle or motor vehicles on the highways of this state for demonstration purposes only. No dealer may receive or use a certificate of authority for the operation of any motor vehicle that does not bear a Mississippi dealer tag.

Motor vehicles using or capable of using compressed gas as a motor fuel and:

(a) Having a gross license tag weight classification of ten thousand (10,000) pounds or less shall be designated "Class I" motor vehicles;

(b) Having a gross license tag weight classification of ten thousand (10,000) pounds but not exceeding twenty thousand (20,000) pounds shall be designated "Class II" motor vehicles;

(c) Having a gross license tag weight classification greater than twenty thousand (20,000) pounds shall be designated "Class III" motor vehicles; and

(d) Owned or operated by nonpermitted users shall be designated "Class IV" motor vehicles.

The commission shall provide for the issuance of decals for each of the aforesaid user's classifications and such decals shall be in such form and size as the commission may prescribe. Such decals shall be displayed on the motor vehicle at all times and in a manner prescribed by the commission.

The decals shall expire at the same time as the motor vehicle privilege license tag expires and shall be valid for one (1) year; provided, however, that when a motor vehicle is converted to compressed gas in a month other than when the license tag is purchased or renewed, then the pro rata portion of the annual privilege tax shall be due on the number of months until the motor vehicle privilege license tag expires. Provided further, that when a motor vehicle equipped with a compressed gas carburetion system is acquired or a motor vehicle is converted to compressed gas, the compressed gas decal year shall begin with the month following the month in which the motor vehicle is acquired or converted.

SECTION 11. Section 27-59-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-31. No person shall operate or cause to be operated, upon the highways of this state, a motor vehicle or motor vehicles that use or are capable of using compressed gas as a motor fuel, when such person has not paid the taxes levied in this chapter and the motor vehicle does not display a compressed gas user's decal.

Any person who does not file an application to obtain a compressed gas user's decal within fifteen (15) days from the date of the installation of the compressed gas carburetion equipment or the acquisition of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles with such equipment attached or who fails to file a renewal application within fifteen (15) days after the expiration of the compressed gas user's decal shall be liable for the full amount of the annual privilege tax or prepaid portion thereof and a penalty of twenty-five percent (25%) of the taxes levied herein may be added as damages.

If any county tax collector shall enforce the collection of any delinquent annual privilege tax or annual permit fee, together with the penalty thereon required by law, then such county tax collector shall be entitled to one-half (1/2) of the penalty. The fee shall be forfeited by the county tax collector if he shall fail to forward any application and remittance within fifteen (15) days of receipt by him.

SECTION 12. Section 27-59-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-33. Each person to whom a Class II or Class III compressed gas user's decal is issued shall file an annual report with the commission. Such report shall be filed at a time designated by the commission, shall be on forms prescribed by the commission and shall contain such information as the commission deems reasonably necessary for the administration of this chapter.

The commission is authorized and empowered to promulgate rules and regulations setting forth the method for determining the quantity of compressed gas used on the highways of this state.

The portion of the privilege taxes prepaid at the time the application for the permit was made shall be deducted from the amount of tax shown to be due on the quantity of compressed gas used on the highways. Any balance due shall be paid to the commission at the same time the annual report is filed. If the amount prepaid exceeds the amount of tax shown to be due, a claim for refund or credit may be made. All such claims shall be supported by sufficient proof as to the extent of the claimant's tax liability on each motor vehicle. Refunds shall be made as provided in Section 27-55-19.

The operator of any motor vehicle or motor vehicles which are equipped so that more than one (1) type of fuel can be used shall be liable for the tax upon the total quantity of compressed gas consumed within the state, with no credit allowed for the purchase of any fuel other than compressed gas.

SECTION 13. Section 27-59-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-35. If a motor vehicle on which the annual privilege tax or portion thereof has been paid is damaged to the extent it cannot be used or the compressed gas carburetion equipment has been removed from such motor vehicle, the owner or operator may obtain a refund of the unexpired portion of the tax. Such refund shall be prorated from the first day of the month succeeding the month in which the motor vehicle was damaged to the extent it cannot be used or the compressed gas equipment was removed. In order to obtain such refund the claimant shall prove to the satisfaction of the commission that the motor vehicle was damaged to the extent it cannot be used or the compressed gas carburetion equipment was removed.

When a motor vehicle that uses or is capable of using compressed gas is sold or traded, the decal may be transferred to the new owner or the former owner may remove it, return it to the commission and file a claim for a refund on the unexpired portion.

If a claim for refund is approved, the amount thereof shall be refunded as provided in Section 27-55-19.

SECTION 14. Section 27-59-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-41. The commission shall have full access, ingress, and egress at all reasonable hours to and from any place or building where compressed gas may be received, stored, transported, sold, offered or exposed for sale, manufactured, refined, distilled, compounded or blended. The commission shall have the right to open and inspect any case, package, or other container, and any tank, pump, tank car or storage tank in which compressed gas is kept and enter upon any barge, vessel, or other vehicle transporting compressed gas and, with instruments conforming to the weights and measures adopted by the United States Bureau of Standards, check any measuring device or volume of weight of the contents of any such container.

The commission shall have the right, at any time, to stop any motor vehicle traveling on the highways of this state, and make any examination necessary to ascertain that the provisions of this chapter are complied with fully. The commission is also authorized to impound any motor vehicle operating in violation of this chapter and hold it until such time as all taxes and fines have been paid and until the owner or operator has obtained necessary permit decal or permit decals.

SECTION 15. Section 27-59-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

27-59-47. In the event that any taxes, permit fees or penalties imposed by this chapter have been erroneously or illegally collected from a distributor or other person, the commission may, upon approval by the commission, permit such distributor or other person to take credit against a subsequent tax report for the amount of the erroneous overpayment, or may issue payment for that amount. The amount thereof may be refunded to the distributor or other person in the same manner as provided in Section 27-55-19.

No refunds shall be made under the provisions of this section unless a written claim is filed setting forth the circumstances by reason of which such refund should be allowed. Said claim shall be in such form as the commission shall prescribe, and shall be filed with the commission within three (3) years from the date of payment of the taxes or permit fees erroneously or illegally collected.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit a refund or credit for tax paid on liquefied compressed gas not subject to tax or which is exempt from tax, provided there has not been a willful disregard of the provisions of this chapter, and provided this claim is filed within three (3) years.

SECTION 16. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2013.