College students to pay sales tax

Mississippi universities will seek reversal of a decision that college students must pay sales tax on food items bought outside of prepaid meal plans.

The change took place on Oct. 1.

Mississippi State Tax Commission spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury says cash sales at universities have always been taxable.

The Legislature made prepaid meal plans tax-exempt in 2006, but that does not include flexible plans like the Bonus Bucks, used at some schools, that allow students to grab a candy bar or a box of chicken nuggets when the dining halls are closed or too far away.

Universities had thought such flexible plans also were exempt.  The Tax Commission adopted a regulation in April saying they were not.