Mississippi Legislature Passes Major Tax Relief for Loggers and Farmers

Professional loggers and farmers will benefit from a major reduction in their sales taxes, thanks to the Mississippi Legislature and Governor Barbour. A coalition of forestry and agriculture groups supported lower sales taxes on logging and farm equipment and worked actively to pass this beneficial legislation during the 2009 session.

The state sales tax on logging equipment and farm implements will drop from 3 percent to 1.5 percent, a 50 % reduction, on July 1, 2009. The sales tax on parts and labor used to repair and maintain the implements and equipment will drop from 7 percent to 1.5 percent, a 79 % reduction.

The Mississippi Forestry Association, MS Loggers Association, MS Poultry Association, and the MS Farm Bureau Federation worked in coalition to actively lobby for this tax reduction that passed both the Senate and House unanimously. Governor Barbour signed Senate Bill 2606 into law. To read the bill, visit http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2009/html/SB/2600- 2699/SB2606SG.htm

This tax reduction is estimated to save professional loggers and farmers statewide $10 million. It will also reduce the competitive disadvantage that Mississippi equipment dealers had with dealers and repair facilities in other states. The state’s timber harvesting industry, employing over 15,000 and producing $2.28 billion annually in total output, should benefit significantly.

Mississippi’s forestry, natural resources, and agriculture community thanks Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, House Speaker Billy McCoy, and all the legislators who were instrumental in the bill’s passage. A special MFA thanks with great appreciation goes to Sen. Perry Lee of Mendenhall, author of the bill and Chairman of the Senate Forestry Committee, Reps. Gregory Holloway and Bill Pigott, chair and vice chair of the House Forestry Committee, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven and Rep. Greg Ward of Ripley, chairmen of the Senate and House Agriculture committees, respectively; Reps. Percy Watson of Hattiesburg and David Norquist of Cleveland, chairmen and vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Sen. Dean Kirby chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Reps. Johnny Stringer of Montrose and Bo Eaton of Taylorsville, chairmen of the House Appropriations and Wildlife Fisheries and Parks committees.

To qualify for this lower sales tax rate, professional loggers must apply to the State Tax Commission and submit a copy of documentation verifying that they are certified according to Sustainable Forestry Initiative guidelines. Upon a determination that an applicant is a professional logger, the Commission shall issue the applicant a numbered professional logger's permit.

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