Staying at a Rankin or Jackson County hotel or eating at a restaurant there can get quite expensive thanks to local tourism taxes.

The highest combined sales taxes on hotel stays and meals at restaurants were located primarily in Rankin and Jackson counties, according to examination of data from the Mississippi Department of Revenue. 

Of the eight cities statewide with total tax levies of 11 percent of more on hotel stays, five of them — Brandon, Florence, Flowood, Richland and Pearl — are in Rankin County. 

The Gulf Coast is also expensive for visitors when it comes to local taxes. All of the other cities on the 11 percent or more list, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs and Moss Point, are in Jackson County. 

Total sales tax on hotel stays in Harrison County, which includes Biloxi, Gulfport, D’Iberville and Long Beach, add up to 12 percent. 

These taxes are earmarked for the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center and the collections amounted to $4,893,319 in fiscal 2019.

There are 28 cities or counties statewide with a combined sales tax for hotels that adds up to at least 10 percent or more.

In Brandon, local and state taxes total 12 percent on hotels. The city levies a three percent tax on hotels that helped construct the city’s amphitheater. Brandon collected $1,224,801 in fiscal 2019 from its special tax.

Rankin County adds an additional two percent tax on hotels, along with the seven percent state sales tax. The county earned $973,495 from its special tax in 2019.

Like its Rankin County neighbors, Richland has a three percent tax on hotels and a two percent tax on restaurants, in addition to what the county assesses. The city earned $476,566 in 2019 from its special tax.

Pearl has two separate taxes. One is levied in the whole city (three percent on hotels and one percent on restaurants), while the other is additional tax (two percent) assessed in the western Pearl restaurant district, which is the area surrounding Trustmark Park and the Bass Pro Shop. 

Pearl collected $1,909,707 in fiscal 2019 from its special tax.

As far as restaurant taxes go, Como in Panola County has the highest combined rate at 11 percent thanks to the state’s highest tax rate, four percent.  

The city has a population of 1,310. According to DOR statistics, the city has collected $73,355 in fiscal 2019, which ended July 1, after earning $70,195 in 2018.

Twelve cities, including Vicksburg, Batesville, Hattiesburg, Jackson and Starkville, have total tax rates on restaurant sales of 10 percent.

The 73 special local levies on restaurants and hotels — the tourism taxes — began life as local and private bills in the legislature. Ten of them are assessed by counties and the rest by cities.

Local and private bills usually benefit a city or county in a legislator’s district and are one of the last chores the legislature wraps up before leaving town at session’s end.

All of the new taxes will require a referendum of local voters before they can go into effect and usually have an expiration date of three years from passage. Though not all. 

Revenues from these taxes are supposed to go to tourism promotion, such as for a convention and visitors’ bureau, or parks and recreation.

The same rules that govern the passage of general and appropriation bills apply to the local and privates. A three-fifths majority of both chambers are required to pass a new tax, which are pitched as temporary taxes when pitched in a referendum and are often re-authorized when they expire after three years without input from local voters.

Of the special taxes, 39 of them are listed on the DOR site without repeal dates, meaning local officials would have to act to get them off the books.

The local and private committees in each chamber of the Legislature are the only committees authorized by the Mississippi Constitution, with the rest mandated by legislative rules and state law.

City or countyHotelRestaurantSpecial sales taxState sales taxTotal on hotel staysTotal on restaurants
Pascagoula3%3%0%7.0%12.0%10.00%
Pearl (west Pearl restaurant district)3%3%0%7.0%12.0%10.00%
Brandon3%2%0%7.0%12.0%9.00%
Richland3%2%0%7.0%12.0%9.00%
Moss Point3%1%0%7.0%12.0%8.00%
Pearl3%1%0%7.0%12.0%8.00%
Florence2%2%0%7.0%11.0%9.00%
Ocean Springs2%2%0%7.0%11.0%9.00%
Horn Lake2%1%0%7.0%10.5%10.00%
Vicksburg2%2%0%7.0%10.0%10.0%
Batesville3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Bay Springs3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Hattiesburg3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Hernando1%0%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Jackson2%2%1%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Sardis3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Starkville3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Tunica County3%3%0%7.0%10.0%10.00%
Natchez3%2%0%7.0%10.0%8.50%
Southaven1%1%0%7.0%10.0%11.00%
Grenada3%1%0%7.0%10.0%8.00%
Washington County3%1%0%7.0%10.0%8.00%
Clinton3%0%0%7.0%10.0%7.00%
Columbia3% 0%7.0%10.0%7.00%
Fulton3%0%0%7.0%10.0%7.00%
McComb3%0%0%7.0%10.0%7.00%
Philadelphia3%0%0%7.0%10.0%7.00%
Lauderdale County3%0%0%7.0%9.5%7.00%
Tupelo2%2%0.25%7.0%9.25%9.25%
Columbus2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Flowood2%2%0%7.0%9.00%9.00%
Baldwyn2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Booneville2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Canton2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Carthage2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Cleveland2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Corinth2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
DeSoto County2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Houston2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Indianola2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Laurel2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
New Albany2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Oxford2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Ponotoc2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Rankin County2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Ripley2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Senatobia2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Stone County2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
West Point2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Yazoo County2%2%0%7.0%9.0%9.00%
Coahoma County2%1%0%7.0%9.0%8.00%
Picayune2%1%0%7.0%9.0%8.00%
Brookhaven2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Byhalia2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Byram2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Hancock County2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Jackson County2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Kosciusko2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Louisville2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Montgomery County2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Tishomingo2%0%0%7.0%9.0%7.00%
Aberdeen1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Holly Springs1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Magee1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Ridgeland1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Warren County1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Waynesboro1%1%0%7.0%8.0%8.00%
Greenwood1%0%0%7.0%8.0%7.00%
Como0%4%0%7.0%7.0%11.00%
Meridian0%2%0%7.0%7.0%9.00%
Vaiden0%2%0%7.0%7.0%9.00%
Winonoa0%2%0%7.0%7.0%9.00%