By Maria Todorova and Timothy Gustafson

The Mississippi Supreme Court denied the taxpayer’s motion for rehearing in Equifax, Inc. v. Mississippi Dep’t of Revenue, a case on which we previously reported. The denial leaves undisturbed its June holding, reversing the Mississippi Court of Appeals’ decision, which held the taxpayer bears the burden of proving that an alternative apportionment method proposed by the State is arbitrary and unreasonable. The decision, in effect, appears to grant the Mississippi Department of Revenue unlimited power to impose alternative apportionment methods and to obligate taxpayers to defend against the impropriety of such methods. The court made two minor revisions to its original decisions. Those changes, however, have no significant impact on the court’s burden of proof holding. Nor do the changes impact the court’s holding that, essentially, Mississippi taxpayers no longer are afforded a de novo judicial review of tax assessments, even though a Mississippi statute, as interpreted by a prior Mississippi Supreme Court decision (W.C. Fore v. Dep’t of Revenue, 90 So. 3d 572 (Miss. 2012)), appeared to afford taxpayers exactly that—a right to a trial de novo and a full evidentiary judicial hearing on the substantive issues underlying a tax assessment. Equifax v. Dep’t of Revenue, No. 2010-CT-01857-SCT, reh’g den., op’n mod., 2013 Miss. LEXIS 604 (Miss. Nov. 21, 2013).