2015 Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday: September 4-6

BATON ROUGE – The 2015 Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday will take place Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6.  During that time, guns, ammunition and other hunting supplies will be exempt from state and local sales taxes.

The sales tax holiday applies to individual consumer purchases of a wide range of hunting gear. Eligible hunting supplies include:

  • Firearms that may be legally sold or purchased in Louisiana
  • Ammunition intended to be fired from a gun or firearm
  • Archery supplies to be used for hunting
  • Apparel such as safety gear, camouflage clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, face masks and thermal underwear manufactured and marketed as being primarily for wear or use while hunting
  • Off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles designed and intended primarily for hunting; the exemption does not apply to golf carts, go-carts, dirt bikes, mini-bikes, motorcycles, tractors, motor vehicles which may be legally driven on the streets and highways of Louisiana, or heavy equipment such as cranes, forklifts, backhoes and bulldozers

By state law, the Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday is an annual event that takes place the first consecutive Friday through Sunday each September.

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/secondamendment for more information, including the full list of eligible purchases, as well as those that do not qualify for the sales tax exemption.

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Baton Rouge tax preparer arrested second time on new set of fraud charges

Chandris Ferguson

Chandris Ferguson

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge tax preparer on bail from a 2013 arrest is back in custody facing multiple felony counts for tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

Chandris Ferguson (Booking Photo), of 12457 Lockhaven Avenue in Baton Rouge, is accused of filing falsified state income tax returns that resulted in her clients receiving larger tax refunds than they would have received otherwise. The amount of fraudulent refunds in this case is $63,686.

Investigators say Ferguson, owner of The Best Tax Services in Baton Rouge, filed returns claiming fabricated business losses for clients who had sustained no losses, and in many cases were not business owners. And she is accused of instructing her clients to ignore official notices from the Department of Revenue seeking to verify the business information on their tax returns.

Ferguson was arrested in 2013 on similar fraud charges related to her work at The Best Tax Services. Fabricating business losses is a technique used frequently by unscrupulous tax preparers to guarantee their clients larger refunds than they would receive otherwise.

In the current case, Ferguson faces ten counts of computer fraud, ten counts of filing or maintaining false public records, and five counts of obstruction of justice. She was arrested on Monday, August 10 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. It is the 46th arrest under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Most retail purchases exempt from state sales tax August 7 & 8

BATON ROUGE – Families getting ready to send their kids back to school can save money during the 2015 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday Friday, August 7 and Saturday, August 8. During these two days, most retail purchases are exempt from the four percent state sales tax.

Conditions

The sales tax holiday exempts the first $2500 of the purchase price of each eligible item when the customer:

  • Buys and accepts delivery of eligible property;
  • Places property on layaway;
  • Acquires property that was previously placed on layaway; or
  • Places an order for immediate delivery, even if the delivery must be delayed, provided the customer has not requested delayed delivery

The sales tax holiday applies only to the four percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes apply to purchases unless the local taxing authority creates its own exemption.

Exceptions

The sales tax holiday does not apply to:

  • Vehicles subject to title and license
  • Meals prepared for consumption on premises or to-go; and
  • Taxable services such as hotel occupancy, laundry services, printing services, telecommunication services, the furnishing of cold storage space, leases or rentals of tangible personal property, repairs to tangible personal property, and admission to athletic, amusement, or recreational facilities or events

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxholiday for a full explanation of conditions of the 2015 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday.

Back-to-School Tax Deductions

The Louisiana Department of Revenue reminds shoppers to retain receipts for back-to-school items such as supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools. These purchases may qualify for tax deductions on 2015 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns due May 15, 2016. The deductions apply to educational expenses for public, private, parochial, and home schools. To claim the deductions, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return, and you must be able to provide documentation for the expenses.

For more information about the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deductions, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.

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New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud scheme involving prison inmates

 

Darylynn Carter

Darylynn Carter

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces multiple felonies for a tax fraud scheme that involved filing phony tax returns in the names of other taxpayers, including two prison inmates.

Darylynn Carter (Booking Photo) is accused of filing fraudulent tax returns and directing the refunds to her own bank account. The phony tax filings included falsified W2 income tax withholding documents.

Investigators determined that in all five cases, the taxpayers whose names appeared on the tax returns had earned no income during the tax year in question. In two cases, they had earned no income because they were incarcerated at the time.

Carter is the 45th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday on five counts of computer fraud, five counts of injuring public records, and one count of theft in the amount of $1,755.

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LDR reminds vendors about sales tax collections at special events, including 4th of July

BATON ROUGE – As the state enters its festive summer period, agents of the Louisiana Department of Revenue are reminding vendors that they conduct on-site enforcement of the state’s sales tax laws with vendors at special events such as fairs, festivals, craft shows and trade shows, the department announced Tuesday.

“Louisiana law requires all businesses and individuals making retails sales in the state to collect and remit sales taxes,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This enforcement action helps to ensure that vendors at special events don’t enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over other local businesses.”

Louisiana hosts more than 400 festivals each year.  A “vendor” is defined as any person or entity selling merchandise or providing a taxable service. This includes sellers, promoters, exhibitors and booth owners.

Taxable products and services include, but are not limited to:

  • Prepared food
  • Clothing
  • Arts & crafts
  • Event admissions

All special event retailers must have a Louisiana sales tax account. They must collect sales taxes from their customers, and must remit those taxes to state and local taxing authorities. Violators are subject to fines, penalties, interest, and possible civil litigation or criminal prosecution.

Vendors needing to register for a sales tax account should visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/specialevents.

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Prairieville woman arrested for tax fraud, theft

Heather Dixon

Heather Dixon

BATON ROUGE – A Prairieville woman faces dozens of felony charges for a criminal scheme that yielded tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent state income tax refunds.

Heather Dixon (Booking Photo), of 14303 Bluff Lakes Drive in Prairieville, is accused of filing false Louisiana individual income tax returns on behalf of herself and her husband with inflated income and withholding data. She and her husband, Tyler Torres, received more than $80,000 in fraudulent refunds. With penalties and interest, the amount owed the state is $135,072.66.

Dixon was arrested on Thursday, June 25, 2015, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 20 counts of computer fraud, 20 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, one count of criminal penalty for evasion of tax, and one count of theft in the amount of $81,591.58. She is the 44th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Used car dealer arrested for tax fraud, loses dealer’s license

BATON ROUGE – A Metairie used car dealer faces felony charges for evading sales taxes on the purchases of a Ferrari and a classic Lincoln Continental.

Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) say Joseph Wayne Leone (Booking Photo) bought the cars using his LDR Resale Certificate, which allows sales-tax exempt purchases of items that are intended for resale to customers.  But he failed to pay sales taxes on the vehicles after registering them for his personal use.

“There are many different types of tax fraud,” said Barry Kelly, director of the LDR Criminal Investigations Division. “We investigate and prosecute anyone who defrauds Louisiana taxpayers.”

Leone bought the 2006 Ferrari for $124,000 from a dealer in Florida. When registering the car with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV), Leone listed its taxable value as $5,000 and sold it to himself for that amount. Then he paid $479.75 in sales taxes for that purchase. He owes $6,885.48 in state sales taxes, penalties and interest for underreporting the taxable value of the Ferrari.

Leone also bought a 1956 Lincoln Continental in Texas for $44,000, but registered it with the Louisiana OMV for personal use with his home address. Because personal ownership of the car is not tax exempt, he owes $2,540 in state sales taxes, penalties and interest.

LDR worked closely with the Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission on this investigation. “Mr. Leone’s used motor vehicle dealer’s license has been revoked,” said LUMVC Executive Director Derek Parnell. “Further investigation into his activities is underway, and more violations are pending.”

Leone was booked on Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Theft, Injuring Public Records and Failing to Account for State Tax Monies. He is the 43rd person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative between LDR and the state Attorney General’s Office.

“Our anti-fraud initiative with the Department of Revenue has resulted in dozens of arrests of individuals whose actions negatively impact the hard-working taxpayers of Louisiana,” Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said. “We will continue to investigate and pursue those who commit fraud and violate the law.”

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Destrehan couple face felony charges for fraud, tax evasion

BATON ROUGE – A Destrehan tax preparer and her husband face felony counts of fraud and tax evasion, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Wednesday.

The charges against Ihsia (Ee-Sha) Eugene and Tedrick Eugene, of 62 Brandon Hall in Destrehan, are the result of a joint anti-fraud investigation by the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office. They are the 41st and 42nd suspects arrested since the inter-agency crackdown began two years ago in March 2013.

Investigators say that as a partner in Secure Tax Service LLC, Ihsia Eugene (Booking Photo) filed tax returns claiming fabricated business loss deductions on behalf of clients who did not own businesses, or who had not sustained any business losses. The phony deductions resulted in $62,660 in fraudulent refunds.

Eugene is accused also of underreporting the income she earned from Secure Tax Service. She reported earnings of $22,000 in 2012 when bank records demonstrate she earned $84,704.38. And in 2013, she failed to file a tax return at all on earnings of $88,296. In all, she is suspected of evading state taxes on income of $151,000. She was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on 11 counts of Filing or Maintaining False Public Records, 11 counts of Computer Fraud, two counts of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

In a related case, Tedrick Eugene (Booking Photo) is charged with evading state taxes on income of $28,386 he earned from Secure Tax Service by failing to file a tax return in 2013. He was arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Tuesday, March 10 on one count of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and one count of Failure to File.

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Tax preparer arrested on dozens of felony counts for tax fraud

 

Lisa Adams - 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey

BATON ROUGE – A Harvey woman faces dozens of felony charges for falsifying information on her own tax return and those of clients of her tax preparation business.

Lisa Adams, of 1617 Carriage Lane in Harvey, allegedly submitted state tax returns for clients of Omega Tax Services that contained false business losses for companies that had not sustained any losses, and in some cases for companies that did not exist.

Louisiana Department of Revenue investigators interviewed ten of Adams’ clients. Four of them were business owners who said she fabricated losses on their 2013 tax returns. And six of them said she listed business losses on their returns despite the fact that they did not own or operate businesses in 2013.

Adams is accused also of falsifying her own tax return, citing losses for a florist shop she claimed she owned in 2013. There is no evidence that business ever existed.

And Adams is charged with falsifying a mortgage interest statement to claim a tax deduction for a property in New Orleans. In that case, she received a fraudulent refund in the amount of $716.

The entire series of fraud schemes amounted to $28,458.

Adams was arrested on Wednesday, February 25 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on 11 counts of filing or maintaining false public records, 11 counts of computer fraud, two counts of forgery and one count of theft. She is the 41st person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s office.

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Booking Photo: Lisa Adams – 1617 Carriage Lane, Harvey, LA

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Business tax assistance available at New Orleans Dept. of Revenue office

BATON ROUGE – Business operators and tax preparers needing help with corporate income, sales, withholding, and other business taxes can get in-person customer service at the New Orleans regional office of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR).

Beginning March 2, the office will be open Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM. Customer service is by appointment only. Call 504-568-5231 to leave a voicemail message requesting an appointment. An LDR tax officer will return the call within 24 hours to confirm.

Assistance at the New Orleans LDR office is for business taxes only. Regional office staff cannot help with the preparation of state individual income tax returns. For answers to questions about individual income taxes, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/IndividualIncomeTax or call 855-307-3893.

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