Taxing Outsiders in Mississippi

10 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2011 Last revised: 29 Jul 2011

See all articles by Stephanie D. Moussalli

Stephanie D. Moussalli

University of Mississippi-Patterson School of Accountancy

Tonya Flesher

University of Mississippi - Patterson School of Accountancy

Date Written: June 24, 2002


Mississippi began levying sales taxes and other taxes that discriminated fiercely against political outsiders in 1822. Designed to protect local businesses, the higher taxes targeted peddlers, auctioneers, and other traveling vendors in the early 19th century. After the Civil War, the targets changed as retailing changed, to include itinerant vendors of all types, including gypsy bands, fortune tellers, patent medicine salesmen, out-of-state trappers, and employment agents offering out-of-state jobs. In the 20th century, transient vendors bearing higher taxes did NOT include vendors needed by Mississippi businesses (such as business-to-business salesmen) but did include double taxes on chain stores until the courts stopped it. In the 21st century, Mississippi has helped lead the fight against the Internet Tax Freedom Act, so that it could tax sales by internet vendors from other states as heavily as it taxes vendors who have a physical presence in Mississippi. The state’s nearly 2'02year tradition of protecting local businesses by heavy taxation of political outsiders is costly to Mississippi consumers but protects the politicians from voter retaliation.

Keywords: Mississippi, taxation, history of taxation, sales tax, tax policy

JEL Classification: H20, H25, H71, N41, N42

Suggested Citation

Moussalli, Stephanie D. and Flesher, Tonya, Taxing Outsiders in Mississippi (June 24, 2002). State Tax Notes, Vol. 24, No. 13, June 24, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Stephanie D. Moussalli (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi-Patterson School of Accountancy ( email )

PO Box 1848
School of Accountancy, Univ. Mississippi
University, MS 38677
United States

Tonya Flesher

University of Mississippi - Patterson School of Accountancy ( email )

Patterson School of Accountancy
University of Mississippi P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848
United States
662-915-5731 (Phone)

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