Archive for July, 2009

Louisiana Tax Amnesty program set for Sept. 1 through Oct. 31

BATON ROUGE – The 2009 Louisiana Tax Amnesty Program is set to run from September 1 through October 31, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.

Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2009, which allows taxpayers to settle account balances, overdue audit assessments, and certain tax disputes with no penalties and only half of the interest on what they owe.

“This is a two-month window of opportunity to settle accounts in a manner that is advantageous for taxpayers and for the State of Louisiana,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges. “Taxpayers who have fallen behind on their obligations have a chance to bring their accounts up to date, and the state has a chance to collect much-needed revenue.”

The 2009 Louisiana Tax Amnesty Program applies to resident and non-resident individuals, and in-state and multi-state businesses.

The amnesty can be applied to:

  • All taxes administered and collected by LDR, except for motor fuel taxes;
  • Taxes that became due on or after July 1, 2001 and before January 1, 2009;
  • Taxes due prior to January 1, 2009 for which LDR has issued a billing notice or demand for payment on or after July 1, 2001 and before May 31, 2009;
  • Taxes for which the taxpayer and LDR have entered into an agreement to suspend the running of prescription until December 31, 2009;
  • Taxes due on or before July 1, 2001, but were ineligible for an earlier amnesty program due to having a matter in civil litigation.

A taxpayer qualifies for amnesty:

  • If they failed to file a tax return or report;
  • If they failed to report all income or all tax, interest and penalties that were due;
  • If they claimed incorrect credits or deductions;
  • If they misrepresented or omitted any tax due;
  • If they are under audit or in administrative or judicial litigation.

For more information and a list of frequently-asked questions, visit the Louisiana Tax Amnesty Program page at www.revenue.louisiana.gov.

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Governor Jindal Signs Tax Amnesty Act into Law

BATON ROUGE – [On Friday, July 10], Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that creates the Tax Amnesty Program for 2009 which is an important tool in helping the state meet its budget challenges.

Governor Jindal said, “This amnesty period will provide much needed dollars to make one-time investments in the state’s infrastructure needs, and will refuel the state’s rainy day fund, and most importantly will provide state leaders more flexibility and time as we continue taking proactive steps in addressing the budget for the coming fiscal years.”

HB 720 by Rep. Jane Smith establishes a two-month period during which eligible taxpayers may apply for amnesty on taxes they owe the state.

Under the amnesty program, if the taxpayer pays all taxes owed to the state, then half of the accrued interest and penalties can be waived.

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Report: 'Jindal OKs tax breaks on film, hunting'

From The Advocate:

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Thursday he signed bills to grant tax relief on entertainment industry expenses and hunting supply purchases.

[...]

The tax breaks include an increased credit for the motion picture industry.

Jindal signed House Bill 898, which raises the film production tax credit to 30 percent, matching what Georgia offers.

The 30 percent tax credit is different from what the governor originally proposed.

[...]

The governor also signed:

House Bill 458 to clarify the rules regarding the sound recording investor tax credit.HB458 changes the tax break from a refundable tax credit to a direct payment with the state Department of Economic Development handling the paperwork for the investor.

Senate Bill 277 to make a tax credit on digital media production a flat 25 percent with an added 10 percent for payroll.

Senate Bill 52 to create a “Second Amendment Weekend” sales tax holiday on firearms purchases in early September.

The bill also applies to off-road vehicles, airboats and other supplies.

Jindal vetoed other legislation, House Bill 128, to create a similar sales tax holiday the weekend after Thanksgiving.

The governor said in his veto letter that the bills “attempt to accomplish the same purpose.”

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LDR News Release – 2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday

BATON ROUGE – The annual 2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday takes place on Friday, August 7, and Saturday, August 8.  On these two days, most retail purchases will be exempt from the four-percent state sales tax, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced today.

The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7, and continues through 12:00 midnight on Saturday, August 8. By state law, the holiday takes place each year on the first consecutive Friday and Saturday in August.

The sales tax exemption applies to the first $2,500 of the purchase price of most individual items of tangible personal property for non-business use. State sales tax is to be paid on that portion of the price – of any individual item – in excess of $2,500.

The exemption applies only to the four-percent state sales tax. It does not apply to sales taxes collected by parishes, towns, school boards, and other local taxing authorities. All retailers are required to participate by offering the tax exemption at the time of sale.

Sellers may take advantage of a special provision from LDR which offers a $25 credit to offset the cost of reprogramming their cash registers. Information about the credit is available in Revenue Information Bulletin No. 03-009.

For more information, visit the 2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday page at www.revenue.louisiana.gov.

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Governor Jindal Signs Tax Incentives Into Law

BATON ROUGE - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he signed nine tax incentive bills into law. Notably, he signed six tax incentives that will continue to make Louisiana more economically competitive, including HB 898 by Rep. Cameron Henry which increases the film production tax credit, HB 458 by Rep. Kirk Talbot which extends the sound recording production and infrastructure tax credit program, SB 277 by Sen. Ann Duplessis which extends and expands the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit, HB 790 by Rep. Hunter Greene which extends the research and development tax credit, HB 110 by Rep. Jane Smith that provides a tax credit for clean burning motors, and HB 215 by Representatives Hutter, Leger, and Richmond that will create a cargo and infrastructure tax credit for Louisiana ports.

Governor Jindal said, “These tax incentives are critical tools to give Louisiana a bright economic future. By signing these bills, we’re ensuring that we not only have the ability to remain economically competitive, but that we can continue to move our state forward by making Louisiana the greatest place in the world to find a great paying job and raise a family.”

HB 898 by Rep. Cameron Henry is a Governor’s package bill that increases the film production tax credit from 25 percent to 30 percent and eliminates the phase-down of the tax credit program. Current phase out schedule for the film production credit (currently at 25 percent) is 20 percent on July 1, 2010, and then 15 percent on July 1, 2012.

HB 458 by Rep. Kirk Talbot is a Governor’s package bill that extends the sound recording production and infrastructure tax credit program by moving the program’s sunset provision to from 2010 to 2015 in order to stimulate long-term investment by the industry.

The Sound Recording Tax Credits provides credits for two purposes: production and infrastructure. For production there is a 25 percent refundable tax credit based on total in-state expenditures related to the production of a sound recording, and for infrastructure there is a 25 percent refundable tax credit based on total in-state expenditures for the development of sound recording studios.

SB 277 by Sen. Ann Duplessis is similar to Governor’s package bill HB 457, which extends and expands the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit by permanently extending and increasing the credit by 5 percent creating a single rate of 25 percent of expenditures plus an additional 10 percent for Louisiana resident payroll expenditures (35 percent total credit for resident payroll). The bill also expands the definition of digital media to include technology companies.

HB 790 by Rep. Hunter Greene is similar to Governor’s package bill SB 108, which extends the research and development tax credit until December 31, 2013, and doubles the credit for small and emerging businesses with less than 50 employees. HB 790 also authorizes a taxpayer who receives a federal Small Business Innovation Research Grant to qualify for a tax credit equal to 40 percent of the award received during the taxable year. This is an increase in the current 20 percent credit.

HB 110 by Rep. Jane Smith provides a tax credit for the cost of qualified clean burning motor vehicle fuel property. Prior to the new law, a 20 percent tax credit was available for purchases of “clean burning motor property.” HB 110 will increase the tax credit to 50 percent of the investment and allow the credit to be refundable.

Moreover, prior to the bill for purchases of hybrid vehicles, the taxpayer could elect to take a credit of the lesser of two percent of the vehicle cost or $1,500. Now for purchases of hybrid vehicles, the taxpayer can elect to take a credit of the lesser of 10 percent of the vehicle cost or $3,000. The credit is also increased to 50 percent of the cost of delivery of alternative fuel including compression equipment, storage tanks and dispensing units.

HB 215 by Reps. Hutter, Leger, and Richmond will serve as a tool to help Louisiana ports enhance their competitiveness by creating a cargo and infrastructure tax credit for the state’s ports. The bill will specifically create the “Investor Tax Credit” which equals five percent per year of the total capital costs of a qualifying project and the “Import Export Credit” that relates to the individual income, corporate income, and corporate franchise tax liabilities of those who receive state certification.

Additionally, the Governor announced today he has signed the following tax incentive bills into law:

HB 189 – Rep. Greene

This bill provides for the sales tax exemption of meals furnished to the staff and students of educational institutions and other organizations.

HB 618 – Rep. Greene

This bill eliminates the $10 minimum corporate franchise tax.

SB 52 – Sen. Marionneaux

This bill authorizes an annual “sales tax holiday” for the purchase of firearms and supplies during the Second Amendment Weekend (first consecutive Friday-Sunday in September).

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Alleged Tax Fraud results in indictment of Lafayette business owner on 15 felony charges

On Monday, June 29, 2009, Lafayette business owner, Eric Cloutier, of 232 Winchester Drive in Lafayette, was indicted on 15 felony charges including: two counts of theft over $500.00, two counts of computer fraud, two counts of obstruction of justice, four counts of filing false public records, one count of money laundering over $100,000.00, one count of racketeering, one count of failure to account for state tax moneys and one count of tax evasion.

The indictment stems from a joint nine-month investigation involving the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Louisiana Department of Revenue and the Investigative Service Unit of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).  Cloutier, a former professional hockey player who played for the Lafayette-based Louisiana IceGators, was arrested by ATC officers on February 26, 2009, and charged initially with 505 felony counts related to tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering. 

The crimes are alleged to have taken place at Marley’s Downtown, a sports bar in Lafayette, and Karma, a Lafayette nightclub.  Cloutier is part owner of each establishment.  Evidence indicates that Cloutier laundered as much as $1.4 million through these businesses over the course of nearly three years.

Initial complaints received by the Lafayette City Police Department were referred to ATC, who requested assistance from CID in conducting the investigation. Cloutier is accused of electronically manipulating his cash registers to conceal sales transactions. Investigators allege the scheme allowed Cloutier to commit tax fraud and money laundering through both businesses by filing false sales and use tax returns with the Louisiana Department of Revenue and Lafayette Parish Consolidated Government. He is accused of failing to remit sales taxes to Lafayette Parish and to the State of Louisiana.

Cloutier is being prosecuted in the 15th Judicial District Court by the Office of the Louisiana Attorney General.  He is scheduled for arraignment in Lafayette on August 18. 

Cloutier faces an administrative hearing with ATC on July 14 regarding revocation of the liquor licenses for Marley’s Downtown and Karma.

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2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday – August 7 & 8

The annual Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday provides an exemption from state sales tax on the first $2,500 of the purchase price of most individual items of tangible personal property for non-business use. The state sales tax is payable on the portion of the purchase price of any individual item in excess of $2,500.

The holiday will apply to the four-percent state sales tax, but will not apply to sales taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards, and other political subdivisions of the state.

The 2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday will be from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 7, through 12 midnight on Saturday, August 8. These dates are set by the enabling legislation as the first consecutive Friday and Saturday of August annually.

For more information, visit the 2009 Louisiana Sales Tax Holiday FAQ page at revenue.louisiana.gov.

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Report: 'Get ready for some extra cash as Stelly repeal approaches (w/video)'

WWL-TV produced this story on the July 1, 2009 effective date for new withholding tables established by Act 396 of 2008, also known as the Shaw Bill.

Act 396 repealed provisions of a 2003 tax law known as the Stelly Plan. The Stelly plan imposed higher tax rates on some income brackets in exchange for repealing the state sales tax on food and residential utilities.

Act 396 restored the pre-Stelly income tax rates.

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