Questions as Mississippi seeks to tax online lodging rentals

CLINTON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s tax collector wants to make sure people renting rooms or vacation properties online pay sales and lodging taxes.

Some people, though, told Revenue Department officials at a Wednesday hearing that the department was overstepping its legal power, as well as not correctly following procedures for issuing new government rules.

At stake is whether Mississippi and local governments will collect tax from properties rented through services including Airbnb and VRBO, which stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner.

The Revenue Department has filed a change to its rules governing tax collections on hotels to clarify that any property that advertises itself for rent, including single family homes, must pay the state’s 7 percent sales tax. Local taxes can add more.

Hotel owners support the change, saying competitors shouldn’t go untaxed.

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