Things to know about filing a Mississippi state tax return

The state capitol building dominates the Jackson, Mississippi skyline at dusk.Image: The state capitol building dominates the Jackson, Mississippi skyline at dusk.

In a Nutshell

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi has extended its filing and payment deadline for 2019 income taxes to May 15, 2020.  
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This article was fact-checked by our editors and Rachel Weatherly, tax product specialist with Credit Karma. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Learning to spell this state name in grade school might have been a challenge, but Mississippi makes it easy to understand your state taxes, with just three tax rates to consider.

Mississippi gave the world the teddy bear, the first-ever heart and lung transplants and Elvis Presley. And the state also gives its residents plenty of tax breaks and a progressive, easy-to-understand tax rate.

Here are things to know about filing a Mississippi state tax return.

The basics of Mississippi state tax

Much of the Mississippi state tax code is similar to what the IRS provides. But there are a few differences to note, including some deductions and credits.

Taxing body

The Mississippi Department of Revenue administers individual income taxes for the state. If you have any tax-related questions, you can call 601-923-7700 daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also view resources and get help through your Taxpayer Access Point account.

Filing and payment deadline

For 2019 state taxes, the state has extended the filing and payment deadline. Mississippi residents now have until May 15, 2020, to file their state returns and pay any state tax they owe for 2019.

While this year is a bit different, for most Mississippi residents, Tax Day is April 15 of each year, matching up with the deadline for your federal return. The only exception is if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday. If this happens, your return is due on the next business day.

If you can’t file on time, you can request an extension until Oct. 15. This extension doesn’t apply to payments, however. They’re still due by the original deadline. If you don’t file by the original or extended due date, the state will charge a late-filing penalty of 5% per month, up to 25% total. The minimum penalty is $100.

Filing statuses

The state of Mississippi recognizes the following filing statuses:

  • Single
  • Head of family
  • Married filing separately
  • Married filing a joint or combined return
  • Married – spouse died during the tax year
How does tax filing status affect your federal income tax bill?

Mississippi income tax rate(s)

The state has a simple progressive tax rate, with only three tax brackets for all taxpayers: 3%, 4% and 5%. The income thresholds for each rate are:

  • 3%: $1,001– $5,000
  • 4%: $5,001–$10,000
  • 5%: More than $10,000

Mississippi state tax deductions

Magnolia state taxpayers can choose a state standard deduction or itemize their deductions on their Mississippi state tax returns, whichever provides the greatest tax benefit. This means if you filed using the standard deduction on your federal return, you can choose to itemize on your Mississippi return instead of taking the state standard deduction.

However, if you and your spouse file separate returns, you both must choose the same deduction — standard or itemized.

Standard deduction and exemptions

The amount of your Mississippi standard deduction depends on your filing status. For 2019, the deduction amounts are:

  • Married filing a joint or combined return – $4,600
  • Married, spouse died in 2019 – $4,600
  • Married filing separately – $2,300
  • Head of family – $3,400
  • Single – $2,300

You may also claim personal exemptions (even if you itemize deductions). For 2019, exemption amounts are:

  • Married filing a joint or combined return – $12,000
  • Married, spouse died in 2019 – $12,000
  • Married filing separately – $6,000
  • Head of family – $8,000
  • Single – $6,000

You can also add an extra $1,500 exemption for the following people:

  • Each dependent who isn’t you or your spouse
  • Yourself and/or your spouse if you or they are 65 or older
  • Yourself and/or your spouse if you or they are blind

What are the 2019 federal standard deductions?

For 2019, the standard deduction amounts are …

  • $12,200 for single taxpayers or married couples filing separate tax returns
  • $18,350 for people filing as head of household
  • $24,400 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widow(er)s

Adjustments to income

Like many states, Mississippi allows you to reduce your taxable income through adjustments before you take a standard deduction or itemize your deductions. If you qualify for them, some adjustments available for 2019 include:

  • Payments to an IRA – As long as they’re also deductible on your federal income tax return, you can take the same deduction on your Mississippi state tax return.
  • Prepayments to qualified college tuition plans – If you prepaid college tuition to a Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program and/or MACS, Mississippi Affordable College Savings plan, you may be able to deduct up to $20,000 of your contributions for joint filers ($10,000 for single and other filers).
  • Health savings account contributions – If you contributed to an HSA, your contributions and interest accrued are deductible.
  • Catastrophe savings account deposits – If you have a Catastrophe Savings Account that is exclusively for paying an insurance deductible and uninsured expenses not covered by a natural disaster such as a hurricane, flood or windstorm, your contributions may be tax deductible.
  • A self-employment deduction – If you paid federal self-employment taxes, you can deduct 50% of that amount.
  • A first-time homebuyer savings account – If you’ve never owned or bought a home before and you establish an account to save for a down payment and closing costs on a new home, you may be able to deduct the amount you deposited into the account plus any interest the account earned in 2018.

Itemized deductions

Itemized deductions available for 2019 include:

  • Medical and dental expenses – You may be able to deduct qualifying medical and dental expenses that add up to more than 7.5% of your federal adjusted gross income.
  • Charitable contributions – If you made donations to charity, you can take a state-level deduction following the same rules and limitations that apply to the federal charitable deduction.
  • Casualty and theft losses – If you live in a federally declared disaster area, you may be able to deduct related losses, subject to the same limitations and rules as the federal deduction.

Tax credits

Mississippi also offers tax credits that directly reduce the amount of tax you owe. For 2019, available tax credits include:

  • Child adoption tax credit – You may be able to claim a credit for up to $5,000 in qualified adoption expenses for each child you legally adopt during the tax year.
  • Long-term care credit – If you paid premiums throughout the year for a qualifying long-term care insurance policy, you may be able to take a credit. The credit is worth 25% of the premiums you paid during the tax year, up to a maximum of $500, or the amount of your state income tax liability — whichever is less.
  • Charitable contribution credit – Instead of taking a charitable deduction, if you donate to a qualifying charitable organization, you may be able to take a credit of up to $400 for single filers and $800 for couples married filing jointly, or the amount of the contribution — whichever is less. Be sure to check the rules for what types of organizations qualify.

How to file your Mississippi state tax return

You have multiple options for filing your Mississippi state tax return and paying any tax you owe:

  • You can prepare your own taxes and file online through an online service provider listed on the Department of Revenue website. Some services may charge a fee to file your taxes based on your age, income or other limiting factors.
  • Print out your tax forms from the state’s website and mail in a paper return. Just keep in mind that if you’re expecting a refund, filing a paper return could delay your check by eight weeks on average.

If you are expecting a refund, mail your paper return to:

P. O. Box 23058
Jackson, MS 39225-3058

Otherwise, send your return to:

P. O. Box 23050
Jackson, MS 39225-3050

If you owe and can’t pay

If you owe at least $75 and can’t pay your bill by the due date, you may be able to set up an installment agreement with the state. The length will be 12 months if you owe $75 up to $3,000, or 60 months if you owe more than $3,000.

Keep in mind, though, that your payments will include interest and a late-payment penalty. Interest is assessed at 0.5% per month, and the penalty is 0.5% per month up to 25% total.

5 things to know about IRS penalties

Tracking your Mississippi tax refund

If you’re expecting a refund, you can check the status online or by calling 601-923-7801 anytime. You may need your Social Security number and refund amount to get an update.

Bottom line

The Magnolia State offers taxpayers simple tax brackets and income adjustments, tax deductions and tax credits. As you prepare to file your return, note the deadlines and potential penalties to ensure you get your return and payment in on time.

Rachel Weatherly is a tax product specialist with Credit Karma. She studied accounting and finance at Western Carolina University and has also worked as a tax analyst. You can find her on LinkedIn.

About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.