Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program celebrates 20 years of serving international visitors

The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program (LTFS) celebrates its 20th anniversary on Tuesday, November 17. The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with refreshments near the Veterans Skylight Entrance in Lakeside Shopping Mall in Metairie. Following refreshments, there will be a ribbon cutting near the entrance of Macy’s to mark the opening of a new sales tax refund center inside the department store.

Louisiana was the first state to offer tax-free shopping to international visitors. The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program is available at more than 800 participating retail locations throughout the state. Visitors can apply for sales tax refunds by mail or at any of five refund centers across Louisiana:

• Downtown Refund Center, Riverwalk Marketplace (New Orleans)
• Louis Armstrong International Airport (Kenner)
• Capital One Bank, Main Branch (Lafayette)
• Capital One Bank, Main Branch (Shreveport)
• Macy’s Lakeside (Metairie)

More than 600,000 international visitors have taken advantage of LTFS since it began in 1989. The program has recorded more than $500 million in sales. A 2008 study by the University of New Orleans determined that LTFS has had an economic impact of more than $45 million in direct and indirect spending. Hotel, restaurant, and service sales taxes are not refundable.

“This groundbreaking program promotes both tourism and retail trade globally for the state and has become one more reason for international travelers to visit Louisiana,” said Eugene Schreiber, Managing Director of the World Trade Center of New Orleans and chairman of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission since its inception.

The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program was created by Act 535 of 1988, introduced by state senators Hank Lauricella, Ben Bagert, and Ken Hollis, and by state representatives Jim Donelon, Woody Jenkins and Charles Lancaster. LTFS Refund Centers processed the first sales tax refunds for international visitors in November 1989.

What: 20th Anniversary Celebration/Refund Center Ribbon Cutting
When: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Where: Veterans Skylight Entrance – Lakeside Shopping Mall, Metairie

Honored guests include:

• Louisiana State Senator Conrad Appel
• Louisiana State Representative John LaBruzzo
• Jefferson Parish Councilman-at-Large John Young, Jr.

For more information, please contact:

Denise Thevenot
Executive Director
Louisiana Tax Free Shopping

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