2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday: Most retail purchases exempt from state sales tax August 1 & 2

BATON ROUGE – Just in time for back-to-school shopping, most retail purchases in Louisiana are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax on Friday, August 1, and Saturday, August 2. The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday applies to most individual consumer purchases of tangible personal property.

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 4 percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes still apply 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 even

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxholiday for a full explanation of conditions of the 2014 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 2014 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns due May 15, 2015. 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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Misuse of state childcare tax credits leads to fraud arrests

BATON ROUGE – Two Louisiana tax preparers face felony charges for filing tax returns that investigators say improperly claimed state tax credits for childcare expenses.

Gwana White, of 308 Devon Road in LaPlace, was arrested on Tuesday, June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

In an unrelated case, Ericka Lewis, of 929 Starrett Street in Metairie, was arrested also on June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

White worked as a tax return preparer for Quick, Fast and EZ Tax Service, LLC in LaPlace. Lewis worked for Quick EZ Taxes of Kenner, LLC.

Each is accused of preparing returns for clients containing false information on wages earned and false claims for tax credits for childcare expenses, resulting in fraudulent state individual income tax refunds.

Gwana White’s alleged fraud cost Louisiana taxpayers $13,647.

The alleged fraud in the Ericka Lewis case amounted to $12,643.


Booking Photos:

Gwana White

Ericka Lewis

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Revenue Information Bulletin 14-007-A: Louisiana Rehabilitation of Historic Structures Tax Credit For Projects Less Than $500,000 of Eligible Costs and Expenses

The Louisiana Rehabilitation of Historic Structures Tax Credit is a credit against income and corporate franchise tax for the amount of eligible costs and expenses incurred during the rehabilitation of a historic structure located in a downtown development or a cultural district.  Eligible structures must be nonresidential real property or residential rental property. (R.S. 47:6019(A)(2)(b))  The credit shall not exceed twenty-five percent of the eligible costs and expenses of the rehabilitation and no taxpayer, or any entity affiliated with such taxpayer, shall claim more than $5,000,000 of credit annually for any number of structures rehabilitated within a particular downtown development or cultural district. (R.S. 47:6019(A)(1)(a)) The credit is earned only in the year in which the property attributable to the expenditures is placed in service. (R.S. 47:6019(A)(1)(b))

After the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has certified the rehabilitation, LDR Secretary may deem an application for credit approved.  This Revenue Information Bulletin will set forth the guidelines for the approval of the Rehabilitation of Historic Structures Tax Credit by the SHPO and LDR for those projects that are less than $500,000 of eligible costs and expenses.

Visit revenue.louisiana.gov to read the full text of RIB 14-007-A.

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Protect tax records and financial documents during hurricane season

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to protect their tax records and other financial documents from flood damage and other weather-related threats during hurricane season.

“A little preparation goes a long way,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “A few common-sense precautions can make the recovery process easier in the aftermath of an emergency.”

Keep documents secure

Paper records are especially vulnerable to water damage. Protect these documents by placing them in airtight plastic containers or zip closure bags, and moving them out of harm’s way.

Use paperless media

Bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution. Preserve these records by saving them to portable memory drives or burning them to CDs. Store them in airtight containers.

Scan important records such as such as tax returns, W-2s and payroll records into an electronic format. Many commercially available home printers include scanning features.

Web-based email services such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Hotmail offer account holders free online data storage. You can upload electronic records from your home computer and retrieve them later from any device with Internet access. This can be helpful if you are evacuated from your home.

Document valuables and business equipment

Compile a room-by-room list of your belongings or business equipment. Photograph or videotape the contents of your home or business, especially items of high value. Having a visual record of your valuables can provide proof for an insurance claim. It can also help to verify a loss claim on state and federal tax returns.

In case of a disaster, the Department of Revenue can provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, filing extensions, and other tax-related information. Bookmark www.revenue.louisiana.gov.

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Slidell business owner charged with tax fraud

BATON ROUGE – A Slidell woman faces two felony counts for payroll tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Thursday.

Toniko Manning Brown, of 127 Herwig Bluff Road, in Slidell, is the 19th person arrested in a joint anti-tax fraud initiative by the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

Brown, owner of Little Beautiful Minds, a child care provider in Metairie, is accused of failing to remit to the State of Louisiana $39,246.94 that she withheld from employees’ paychecks from 2007 to 2014. She was arrested on Tuesday, May 27, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Injuring Public Records (La. R.S. §14:132)  and Criminal Penalty for Failing to Account for State Tax Monies (La. R.S. §47:1641).

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Louisiana state tax filing deadline is Thursday, May 15

BATON ROUGE – Thursday, May 15 is the deadline for filing 2013 Louisiana Individual Income Tax returns.           

The Louisiana Department of Revenue recommends electronic filing for the fastest, most error-free tax return and refund processing. Electronic filing options include commercially-available tax preparation software, and Louisiana File Online, the state’s free tax filing web application. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.

Filing Extensions

Taxpayers who need more time to prepare their 2013 individual state income tax returns must submit an extension request by the May 15 deadline to avoid late filing penalties. An extension allows more time to file a return, but it does not allow more time to pay taxes due. Payments made after May 15 are subject to penalties and interest. Extension requests must be submitted electronically, or by phone for those with limited Internet access. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/extensions or call 888-829-3071.

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New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces five felony counts related to tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Monday.

Charnell R. Haymond, of 6921 Bunker Hill Road, New Orleans, is the 18th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General.

Haymond is accused of filing false state individual income tax returns and collecting $22,208 in fraudulent refunds. She is charged with theft, identity theft, computer fraud, monetary instrument abuse, and injuring public records.

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2014 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 24 & 25

BATON ROUGE – Flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other emergency supplies are free from the 4 percent state sales tax on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25.

The 2014 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday gives Louisiana residents a chance to get ready for storm season before the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1.

“There is no substitute for early preparation,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This sales tax holiday is the best opportunity to stock up early on the items that can keep your family safe and comfortable during and after a storm.”

The sales tax holiday exempts each eligible item from the 4 percent state sales tax. It applies to the first $1,500 of the purchase price of each item.

Eligible purchases include:

  • Self-powered light sources, such as flashlights and candles
  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, and weather-band radios
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems, straps or tie-down kits
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Batteries, sizes AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt (Automobile batteries and boat batteries are ineligible)
  • Cellular phone batteries and chargers
  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Portable generators
  • Storm shutter devices (Materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purposes of preventing window damage from storms)
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • “Blue Ice” (and similar re-usable cooling products)

The exemption applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local taxes apply unless specifically exempted by local taxing authorities.

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/hurricaneprep for more information.

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Revenue Information Bulletin 14-009: Natural Gas Severance Tax Rate Effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015

The Louisiana Department of Revenue has issued Revenue Information Bulleting 14-009: Natural Gas Severance Tax Rate Effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015:

The natural gas severance tax rate effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 has been set at 16.3 cents per thousand cubic feet (MCF) measured at a base pressure of 15.025 pounds per square inch absolute and at the temperature base of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

This tax rate is set each year by multiplying the natural gas severance tax base rate of 7 cents per MCF by the “gas base rate adjustment” determined by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources in accordance with R.S. 47:633(9)(d)(i). The “gas base rate adjustment” is a fraction, of which the numerator is the average of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) Henry Hub settled price on the last trading day for the month, as reported in the Wall Street Journal for the previous 12-month period ending on March 31, and the denominator is the average of the monthly average spot market prices of gas fuels delivered into the pipelines in Louisiana as reported by the Natural Gas Clearing House for the 12-month period ending March 31, 1990 (1.7446 $/MMBTU).

Based on this computation, the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources has determined the natural gas severance “gas base rate adjustment” for April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014, to be 232.34 percent. Applying this gas base rate adjustment to the base tax rate of 7 cents per MCF produces a tax rate of 16.3 cents per MCF effective July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. The reduced natural gas severance tax rates provided for in R.S. 47:633(9)(b) and (c) remain the same.

Questions concerning the natural gas severance tax rate should be directed by email to Policy.Publications@La.gov.

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New Orleans tax preparer arrested for fraud

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces charges of defrauding the State of Louisiana of more than $900,000 through the filing of false tax returns, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Thursday.

Kenshika Sade Jiles, of 5209 Spain Street in New Orleans, was arrested by investigators from the Louisiana Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 16 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. She faces two felony counts of computer fraud and injuring public records.

Investigators say Jiles, owner of S&A Tax Service, prepared and submitted tax returns containing false information including phony business expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses and improper child care tax credit claims. Her alleged actions resulted in $923,751 in unpaid taxes and fraudulent refunds.

Jiles is the 17th person arrested since March 2013 under an anti-fraud initiative by the Department of Revenue and state Department of Justice.

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