LDR Systems Not Impacted by IRS System Outage

BATON ROUGE –The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently experiencing a hardware failure affecting a number of their federal tax processing systems. As a result, several of their systems are not operating at the time, including their modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue’s tax processing systems are not impacted by the system outage that the IRS is currently experiencing. Taxpayers can continue to prepare and file their state tax returns as they normally would. To file their taxes, taxpayers can use commercial tax preparation software or visit Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual and business tax filers at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.

The department also reminds taxpayers that during this tax season, the agency is implementing enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana citizens against increased occurrences of tax fraud. As a result, it will take additional time to process refunds. The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days. For paper returns, taxpayers should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.

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Houma man arrested for felony tax evasion

 

Vincent J. Malbrough

Vincent J. Malbrough

BATON ROUGE – A Houma man faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay state income taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Vincent J. Malbrough, Jr. (Booking Photo), of 204 Malibou Boulevard in Houma, is accused of failing to file Louisiana resident income tax returns for the tax years 2009 through 2013. During those years, he failed to report $251,450 in income. He owes the State of Louisiana an estimated $23,789 in taxes.

Malbrough was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Wednesday, January 27 on charges of Criminal Penalty for Evasion of Tax and Penalty for Failure to File.

Malbrough is the 59th person arrested under a joint anti-tax fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

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Interagency state crackdown on tax fraud yields multiple arrests

BATON ROUGE – Multiple arrests this week bring to 58 the number of people jailed for tax fraud under a joint initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

“Investigating and prosecuting tax fraud remains a top priority of the Department of Revenue,” Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Robinson said. “These arrests demonstrate that our partnership with the A.G.’s office and other agencies is producing tangible results for Louisiana taxpayers.”

Three suspects were arrested this week and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Michael Wayne Chauncy (Booking Photo) faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay taxes on nearly a half-million dollars in income.

Investigators say Chauncy did not file state individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007 through 2014. During that period, from 2011 through 2014, records show he earned $445,337 as a used car sales manager at a dealership in Gonzales.

Chauncy owes an estimated $25,032 in taxes on the unreported income. He was charged on Wednesday, January 20 with Penalty for Failure to File and Evasion of Tax.

In a separate case, Tiffany L. Polk (Booking Photo) is charged with multiple felonies related to her work as a tax preparer. Investigators say Polk submitted state income tax returns for clients that contained fraudulent claims for tax credits and tax deductions.

In one case, Polk is accused of submitting state and federal income tax returns without the taxpayer’s knowledge, directing the refunds to a bank account she set up in the taxpayer’s name, and transferring the money to her own bank account. She was charged on Wednesday, January 20 with Identity Theft, Attempted Theft, Computer Fraud and Filing or Maintaining False Public Records.

And in the third case this week, Chad William Reeves (Booking Photo) is accused of underreporting the sale price of used cars at his dealership, remitting too little sales tax, and pocketing the difference.

Investigators say that in 2014, Reeves, owner of Baton Rouge Sports & Imports, reported 62 vehicle sales to the state Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) at drastically lower prices than he actually sold them for. The scheme defrauded the state of $17,400 in sales taxes.

Reeves, who has not filed a state individual income tax return since 2011, is accused also of failing to report more than $100,000 in personal income. He was charged on Thursday, January 21 with Evasion of Tax, Theft, Failing to Account for State Tax Monies and Injuring Public Records.

The Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission (LUMVC) worked closely with the LDR Criminal Investigation Division on the Reeves case.

“The used motor vehicle dealer’s license for Baton Rouge Sports & Imports, Inc. is currently suspended, as well as the licenses for Chad Reeves and all affiliated salespersons,” LUMVC Executive Director Derek Parnell said. “Further investigations into the dealer’s fraudulent activities are being conducted and more violations are pending.”

Since it began in 2013, the state’s anti-tax fraud crackdown has stopped $21 million in fraudulent refunds from being issued and collected $500,000 in restitution from those arrested.

As tax-filing season begins, LDR is intensifying its fraud detection program. Because of the effort to protect Louisiana citizens from identity theft and other forms of fraud, taxpayers who file their returns electronically can expect their refunds within 60 days of filing. Those who file paper returns should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.

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State income tax filing begins today, refunds to be issued within 60 days of return being filed

BATON ROUGE – Tuesday, January 19 is the day the Louisiana Department of Revenue begins accepting and processing 2015 state individual income tax returns.  The filing deadline is Monday, May 16.

The department enters this tax season with a focus on safeguarding taxpayers against fraud.  

During the past two years, LDR has saved taxpayers more than $25 million through its anti-tax fraud initiatives. Additionally, more than 50 individuals have been arrested under a statewide initiative to crack down on tax fraud in Louisiana.

The department has responded to increasing occurrences of tax fraud by implementing enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana taxpayers. This means it will take additional time to process refunds. The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days. For paper returns, taxpayers should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks. 

LDR uses all available technology and resources to help protect and safeguard taxpayers against fraudulent activity. To protect taxpayers against fraud, including the suspicion of identity theft, a tax refund can be delayed while the department thoroughly reviews the suspicious tax return. When this occurs, the taxpayer is contacted through written correspondence with further instructions.  

Taxpayers can also experience delays in receiving their refund if they fail to keep their most current contact information on file, including their name, address, and telephone number.  If needed, taxpayers can visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov to update their contact information. To file taxes electronically, taxpayers can visit Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual and business tax filers at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline. With Louisiana File Online, taxpayers can:

  • File returns and pay taxes electronically
  • Check the status of individual income tax refunds
  • Amend tax returns
  • View business tax information for current and previous years

There are no fees associated with the use of Louisiana File Online. Taxpayers may also use commercial tax preparation software to file their state income taxes

Taxpayers can check the status of a refund by visiting: www.revenue.louisiana.gov/refund or by calling 1-888-829-3071.  Taxpayers should note these applications are updated only once every business morning with the latest information on refunds. Taxpayers should only call LDR once their return has exceeded the expected processing times of 60 days for electronic returns and 14 weeks for paper returns. 

Citizens needing 2015 state income tax forms will be able to download them on January 19 at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxforms.  In addition, the Department provides important tips for taxpayers in selecting a preparer and operates a fraud hotline (1-866-940-7053).

 

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Louisiana state income tax filing begins Tuesday, Jan. 19; LDR implements enhanced security measures to crack down on fraudulent activity to safeguard taxpayers

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) will begin accepting and processing 2015 state individual income tax returns on Tues, Jan. 19. That’s the same day that processing begins at the  Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Department also enters this tax season with a focus on safeguarding taxpayers against fraud.

During the past two years, LDR has saved taxpayers more than $38 million through its anti-tax fraud initiatives. Additionally, more than 50 individuals have been arrested under a statewide initiative to crack down on tax fraud in Louisiana.

The department has responded to increasing occurrences of tax fraud by implementing enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana taxpayers. This means it will take additional time to process refunds. The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days. For paper returns, taxpayers should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.

LDR uses all available technology and resources to help protect and safeguard taxpayers against fraudulent activity. To protect taxpayers against fraud, including the suspicion of identity theft, a tax refund can be delayed while the department thoroughly reviews the suspicious tax return. When this occurs, the taxpayer is contacted through written correspondence with further instructions.

Taxpayers can also experience delays in receiving their refund if they fail to keep their most current contact information on file, including their name, address, and telephone number.  If needed, taxpayers can visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov to update their contact information. To file taxes electronically, taxpayers can visit Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual and business tax filers at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline. With Louisiana File Online, taxpayers can:

  • File returns and pay taxes electronically
  • Check the status of individual income tax refunds
  • Amend tax returns
  • View business tax information for current and previous years

There are no fees associated with the use of Louisiana File Online. Taxpayers may also use commercial tax preparation software to file their state income taxes.

Taxpayers can check the status of a refund by visiting: www.revenue.louisiana.gov/refund or by calling 1-888-829-3071.  Taxpayers should note these applications are updated only once every business morning with the latest information on refunds. Taxpayers should only call LDR once their return has exceeded the expected processing times of 60 days for electronic returns and 14 weeks for paper returns.

Citizens needing 2015 state income tax forms will be able to download them on January 19 at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxforms.  In addition, the Department provides important tips for taxpayers in selecting a preparer and operates a fraud hotline(1-866-940-7053).

This year’s filing deadline for 2015 individual income tax returns is Monday, May 16. The deadline is normally May 15, but since that date falls on a Sunday this year the filing deadline has been extended to the next business day, May 16.

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Tips for Taxpayers

LDR recommends the following steps to ensure the fastest, most accurate tax return and refund processing:

  • File electronically – The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days; for paper returns, expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.
  • Taxpayers should update personal information if their name or address changed during the tax year.
  • Double-check return information – Ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct, and that all names and Social Security numbers are in the same order as previous years. Math errors and incorrect tax-table information are leading causes of delayed refunds.
  • Include all supporting information such as W-2s; use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return.
  • Apply for extensions in a timely manner – Extension requests must be filed electronically no later than the May 16 income tax filing deadline.
  • If additional tax is due, include the remittance coupon to ensure proper payment posting.
  • Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue; do not send cash.
  • If filing a paper return, attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

Basic tips to taxpayers in choosing a reputable tax preparer include:

  • Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.
  • Review and ask questions before signing a return.
  • Ask others that you know who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.
  • Ask any preparer that you are considering for references.
  • Ask and verify if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Always question entries on your return that you don’t understand.
  • Never sign a blank return.
  • Insist that the preparer sign the return and provide his appropriate information on the return.
  • The preparer should meet with the taxpayer and go over the return before it is filed.
  • Taxpayers should be provided a copy of their return before it is filed.
  • Pay attention to media reports of persons who have been convicted of tax fraud.
  • Taxpayers should be aware that the information that they provide to their preparer could be used to commit identity theft by an unscrupulous preparer.

Taxpayers should also:

  • Remember that they are ultimately responsible for what is included on their tax returns.
  • Beware of telephone scams purported to come from LDR and remember that LDR will not:
      • Call a taxpayer to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
      • Demand the payment of taxes without allowing the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed.
      • Require the use of a specific method of payment.
      • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone.
      • If taxpayer feels that they are a victim of a telephone tax scam, contact:
      • LDR Criminal Investigations Division on its fraud hotline at 866.940.7053.
      • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ftc.gov/complaint

 

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Lafayette business owner arrested for felony tax evasion

Alan J. Bernard

Alan J. Bernard

BATON ROUGE – A Lafayette man faces multiple felony charges for failing to report and pay taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Alan J. Bernard, of 721 W. Gloria Switch Road in Lafayette, is the 54th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and the state Attorney General’s office.

Investigators with the LDR Criminal Investigation Division say that as the owner of A-Team Home Improvements, LLC, Bernard filed state tax returns reporting no income from that business in 2012 and 2013. But banking records obtained by subpoena and Bernard’s federal tax returns show the business produced income of $144,036.97 in 2012 and $324,396.75 in 2013. Bernard failed to pay any state corporate, sales, or income tax on those amounts.

Bernard was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of criminal penalty for evasion of tax, criminal penalty for failing to account for state tax monies and filing or maintaining false public records.

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LDR Resumes 2015 Tax Amnesty Program Today

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2015 resumes today. The program, which gives individuals and businesses that have fallen behind on their taxes an opportunity to make a fresh start, will run from Tues., December 1 through Thurs., December 31.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue suspended the program last month after discovering a mistake with the information included in some of the original amnesty invitation letters. At that time, the department determined it was in the best interest of the state and taxpayers to suspend the program until corrected letters were mailed.

Impacted taxpayers were mailed updated letters from the department during the week of November 23 – 27. The revised letters either informed taxpayers of the new amnesty amount that is due or instructed them to disregard the previous letter that they received because the referenced account reflected a zero balance due.

“The department has addressed the errors that originally occurred and we are ready to get the tax amnesty program underway. We mailed corrected letters to the taxpayers last week, and we sincerely apologize to them for this mistake and for any inconvenience that we have may have caused,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said.

During the amnesty period, individual and business taxpayers are offered a fresh start to bring their delinquent tax accounts up to date by clearing unpaid tax bills and filing overdue state tax returns.

Amnesty will be granted for eligible taxes to qualified taxpayers who apply during the amnesty period and who agree to settle their accounts with the state by paying 100 percent of delinquent taxes, 83 percent of the remaining interest and 67 percent of the remaining penalties due. Once approved, the Secretary of Revenue shall waive the remaining 17 percent interest and 33 percent penalties.

The goal for the 2015 Tax Amnesty Program is $73 million, net of administrative costs and funds retained by LDR as self-generated revenue.The 2015 Tax Amnesty Program is the third and final effort permitted by the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2013. After the conclusion of the 2015 amnesty period, there will be no new amnesty program offered by the Department of Revenue until at least 2025.

For more information about the amnesty program, taxpayers can visit www.ldrtaxamnesty.com or call 1-866-782-9241.

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Baton Rouge woman arrested for felony tax evasion

Tanya Rivers

Tanya Rivers

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge woman is charged with felony tax evasion for failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Investigators say from 2010 through 2012, Tanya Tonette Rivers (Booking Photo) failed to file state income tax returns on more than $268,000 in earnings, and failed to pay $12,752 in taxes.

During the investigation, Rivers failed to respond to numerous attempts to contact her about her tax filing discrepancies.

Rivers is the 53rd person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the state Attorney General’s Office. She was booked Tuesday into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on state charges of Evasion of Tax and Failure to File.

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LDR Suspends 2015 Tax Amnesty Program Until December 1

BATON ROUGE –The Louisiana Department of Revenue announced today that Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2015 will be suspended through Mon., November 30 and will resume on Tues., December 1. The program will then run until December 31, 2015, which accounts for designated and legal holidays.

Upon discovering a mistake with the information included in some of the amnesty invitation letters, LDR determined it was in the best interest of the state and taxpayers to suspend amnesty until corrected letters are mailed.

“We apologize to our taxpayers for this mistake and for any inconvenience that we may have caused them. LDR will exercise better quality assurance, review and control to prevent this type of human error from occurring again in the future,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said.

Impacted taxpayers will receive an updated letter from the department by December 1. Any amnesty payments received during the past two days will be applied to the taxpayer’s account when the amnesty period resumes on December 1. Beginning Monday November 23, taxpayers can call 1-866-782-9241 for more information about their amnesty account.

During the amnesty period, individual and business taxpayers are offered a fresh start to bring their delinquent tax accounts up to date by clearing unpaid tax bills and filing overdue state tax returns.

Amnesty will be granted for eligible taxes to qualified taxpayers who apply during the amnesty period and who agree to settle their accounts with the state by paying 100 percent of delinquent taxes, 83 percent of the remaining interest and 67 percent of the remaining penalties due.  Once approved, the Secretary of Revenue shall waive the remaining 17 percent interest and 33 percent penalties.

The goal for the 2015 Tax Amnesty Program is $73 million, net of administrative costs and funds retained by LDR as self-generated revenue.

The 2015 Tax Amnesty Program is the third and final effort permitted by the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2013. After the conclusion of the 2015 amnesty period, there will be no new amnesty program offered by the Department of Revenue until at least 2025.

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2015 Louisiana Tax Amnesty Program to run Nov. 16 – Dec. 15

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2015 begins on Nov. 16, 2015 and will run through Dec. 15, 2015, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced today. During the 30-day period, individual and business taxpayers are offered a fresh start to bring their delinquent tax accounts up to date by clearing unpaid tax bills and filing overdue state tax returns.

The 2015 Tax Amnesty Program is the third and final effort permitted by the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2013. After the conclusion of 2015 amnesty, there will be no new amnesty program offered by the Department of Revenue before Jan. 1, 2025.

“This will be the final amnesty program offered by the state for at least 10 years. That is why it is so important for delinquent taxpayers to take advantage of this opportunity to make a fresh start with their taxes,” said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield. “We have made this process very simple, allowing taxpayers to make installment payments. The department is ready to assist them in clearing up their accounts.”

Amnesty will be granted for eligible taxes to qualified taxpayers who apply during the amnesty period and who agree to settle their accounts with the state by paying 100 percent of delinquent taxes, 83 percent of the remaining interest and 67 percent of the remaining penalties due.  Once approved, the Secretary of Revenue shall waive the remaining 17 percent interest and 33 percent penalties. The Louisiana Legislature has set a goal of collecting $50 million for the 2015 Tax Amnesty Program.

The amnesty program will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2015 and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2015. Beginning on Nov. 16, 2015, eligible taxpayers can apply online at www.ldrtaxamnesty.com, or call 1-866-782-9241 for more information.

Taxpayers can pay their overdue tax liabilities through electronic payments or through an established installment agreement over a six-month time period.

Taxpayers in the following categories are eligible to apply for amnesty:

  • Taxpayers who failed to file a tax return or report
  • Taxpayers who failed to report all income or all tax, interest and penalties that were due
  • Taxpayers who claimed incorrect credits or deductions
  • Taxpayers who misrepresented or omitted any tax due
  • Certain taxpayers under audit or in administrative or judicial litigation

Taxpayers involved in a criminal investigation or criminal litigation for taxes administered by LDR do not qualify for the amnesty program.

Taxpayers eligible for amnesty should expect to receive a letter before the start of the amnesty program with instructions for submitting applications and payments online. Contact information is drawn from data taxpayers have submitted to LDR with their tax filings and other communications.

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