Archive for June 3, 2009

Louisiana Senate bars pornographers from receiving movie tax credits

From the AP:

The state Senate has voted to make pornographic movie makers ineligible for state tax credits.

Sen. A.G. Crowe, a Slidell Republican, said no porn producers have so far taken advantage of Louisiana’s economic incentive system for the film industry, but he wants to make sure that none do.

Senators agreed with a unanimous vote on Wednesday, sending the bill to the House.


Report: 'Senate passes freeze on personal income deduction; prospects in House slim'

The Louisiana Senate voted on Wednesday to delay implementation of a expansion of an individual income tax deduction for state taxpayers.

The Senate, marking a sharp distinction from Gov. Bobby Jindal and dozens of House members, voted 29-9 today to freeze personal income tax deductions at their current level for three years in an effort to ease budget cuts for higher education.

Senate Bill 335 by Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, faces long odds given the majority of the lower chamber already on record in opposition and Jindal’s promised veto. But today’s vote, and the impassioned rhetoric that preceded it, made clear the significance of the ongoing budget debate, with senators focusing less on whether the measure is a tax increase and more on their insistence on finding money for colleges and universities.

“The important things that count today are the important things that count tomorrow,” said Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield. “I have eight grandsons. The value of higher education in their lives cannot be underestimated.”

Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said, “Sometimes we just have to be statesmen.”

The bill would leave the deduction amount at its current 65 percent, delaying the scheduled increase to a 100 percent deduction until 2012 and steering an additional $118 million to higher education.



IRS: 'Adjustments for Hurricane Grants Must Be Made by July 30th '

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding eligible homeowners who received federal reimbursement grants stemming from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma that there is still time to take advantage of last year’s tax law change. Eligible homeowners have until July 30th to take advantage of a new law that allows homeowners to adjust previously claimed casualty loss deductions they suffered on their main home from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita or Wilma.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act, enacted in 2008, included the new provision, aimed at helping grant recipients who previously claimed hurricane-related disaster-loss deductions. “Notice 2008-95 provides specific guidelines to homeowners who received these grants, including the Louisiana Road Home Grants and the Mississippi Development Authority Hurricane Katrina Homeowner Grants,” said IRS Spokesperson Dee Harris.

The notice explains how eligible taxpayers can amend prior-year returns to reduce the casualty loss deduction by the amount of the grant. Taxpayers have one year to pay back any resulting tax due, penalty-free and interest-free. To qualify for this relief, these amended returns must be filed by July 30, 2009, and the entire resulting tax due must be paid by July 30, 2010, in most cases.

Before this change, homeowners who claimed casualty loss deductions and received grants in a later tax year as reimbursement for the loss were required by law to pay tax on part or all of the grant to compensate for the tax benefit of the prior deduction. While individual circumstances varied, this meant that some taxpayers ended up paying more tax on the grant than they saved by claiming the deduction.

The IRS cautions that, although filing an amended return may be a good option for many, it would not necessarily be the right choice for everyone. “Affected taxpayers and their representatives should consider carefully which option is best under their particular circumstances,” advised Harris.

For more information and additional guidance, read Notice 2008-95.


Louisiana Tax Amnesty Program – FAQs

The LDR website now hosts a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2009.

The FAQ page also includes a link to the official page for House Bill 720, the legislation creating the tax amnesty program, on the homepage of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Here you can read the current text of the legislation, as well as track its legislative history.


Report: 'Attempt to delay tax break fails in La. committee'

From the Associated Press:

Two measures that would provide money to plug budget gaps failed to gain ground in separate Louisiana House committees as lawmakers haggle over whether they should make deep cuts to health services and public colleges next year.

Legislation to tap into the state’s “rainy day” fund was temporarily shelved Monday amid opposition from the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In the hearing room next door, the House Ways and Means Committee resoundingly rejected a proposal to delay a planned tax break for middle- and upper-income taxpayers.