Archive for July, 2010

LDR Video – Louisiana School Tuition & Expense Tax Deduction

Louisiana families are reminded to retain receipts as documentation for back-to-school items that might be eligible for the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deduction.

The deduction applies to 50 percent of the cost of eligible items, up to $5,000 per student.
Eligible expenses include:

• Elementary and secondary school tuition
• Purchases of school uniforms required by the school for general day-to-day use.
• Purchases of textbooks, curricula, or other instructional materials required by the school.
• Purchases of school supplies required by the school

Homeschooling expenses are eligible as well.

In order to claim the deduction, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return.

Deductions for eligible expenses paid during 2010 can be claimed on state tax returns due by May 16, 2011.

More information is available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.

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LDR News Release – 2010 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday is August 6 & 7

BATON ROUGE – The 2010 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday takes place Friday, August 6, and Saturday, August 7. On these two days, most retail purchases are exempt from the four-percent state sales tax.

The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 6, and continues through 12:00 midnight on Saturday, August 7. 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.

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 taxing authorities. All retailers are required to participate by offering the tax exemption at the time of sale.

Items NOT eligible for the tax exemption include vehicles subject to license and title, most meals, laundry services, and purchases of taxable services such as hotel occupancy and athletic admissions. 

Retailers may take advantage of a $25 tax 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 about the 2010 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxholiday.

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People shopping for back-to-school items are reminded to retain receipts as documentation for the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deduction, which is applies to 50 percent of eligible expenses, up to $5,000 per student.  For more information about this tax deduction, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.

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LDR News Release – Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deduction in effect for 2010-2011 school year

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana families are reminded to retain receipts as documentation for back-to-school items that might be eligible for the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deduction.

The deduction applies to 50 percent of the cost of eligible items, up to $5,000 per student.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Elementary and secondary school tuition
  • Purchases of school uniforms required by the school for general day-to-day use.
  • Purchases of textbooks, curricula, or other instructional materials required by the school.
  • Purchases of school supplies required by the school

Homeschooling expenses are eligible as well.

In order to claim the deduction, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return.

Deductions for eligible expenses paid during 2010 can be claimed on state tax returns due by May 16, 2011.

More information is available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.

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Report: ‘Revenue looks at outsourcing call center’

The Advocate reports that the Department of Revenue is exploring the possibility of outsourcing its call center operations.

Some 15,000 calls a month into the state Department of Revenue’s call center are going unanswered, prompting agency officials to look at outsourcing the work to a private firm.

Revenue Assistant Secretary Jarrod Coniglio told the state Civil Service Commission on Wednesday that the agency would soon seek proposals to see if an outside vendor could answer the phones better.

Coniglio said the center averages 42,000 calls a month with 27,000 successfully answered.

“I have an average of 15,000 phones that go unanswered every month. If you are one of those taxpayers, you are angry,” Coniglio said.

“This is about improved service, to have more calls answered than we have now,” Coniglio said. “It’s an exploration to see if it can be done.”

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IRS: ‘Opening Times, Addresses for July 17 Special Assistance Day for Gulf Oil Spill Victims’

LA/MS-2010-33, JULY 14, 2010

NEW ORLEANS ­­­––  Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Assistance Centers in several Louisiana cities will be open this Saturday July 17 to provide help to taxpayers impacted by the BP oil spill.

The following locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central time:

  • 2600 Citiplace Centre, Baton Rouge, La. 
  • 423 Lafayette St., Houma, La.
  • 1555 Poydras Street, New Orleans, La. 

Individuals who have questions about the tax treatment of BP payments or who are experiencing filing or payment hardships because of the oil spill will be able to work directly with IRS personnel at any of these locations on Saturday.

Last week, the IRS announced the opening of a dedicated phone line for victims of the Gulf oil spill –– 866-562-5227. This special toll-free line will also be open to callers on July 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time.

In certain cases, IRS staff can assist oil spill victims by suspending collection and examination actions. Taxpayers who need this assistance must request it. Others may decide to continue making payments because interest will continue to accrue on outstanding balances, even if some penalties are abated.

Related Information

For further information, including the tax treatment of BP compensation payments, see Questions & Answers about the Gulf oil spill on the IRS website, IRS.gov. Taxpayers are also encouraged to visit DisasterAssistance.gov, which has information on assistance for Gulf oil spill victims.

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The following partners will be offering assistance at the locations indicated:

  1. Money Market International (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling) –  All locations
  2. Southeast Legal Services and Law Clinic – New Orleans only
  3. Language Assistance:
    1. New Orleans only – V.I.E.T. and Hispanic Apostolate
  4. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (Tax return prep):
    1. Houma only – River/Bayou Parish Asset Building Coalition

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2010 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday – August 6 & 7

The 2010 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday takes place Friday, August 6, and Saturday, August 7.

The 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 applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes still apply.

More information at www.revenue.louisiana.gov.

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LDR News Release – Protect tax records and financial documents during hurricane season

BATON ROUGE – The time to protect your tax records and financial documents is now, not when a major storm is already taking aim at the Gulf Coast.  The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) reminds individual taxpayers and business owners to make preparations sooner, rather than later.

Methods for protecting financial information include:

Paperless Media

Most bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution.  Backing these data up by burning them to CDs or saving them to portable memory drives is a cost-effective way to protect your information in the event of a natural disaster.

It is also a good idea to scan important tax records such as W-2s and other pay information, tax returns, and other paper documents into an electronic format.  Many commercially available home printers are available with easy-to-use scanning features.

In addition, some web-based e-mail services, such as Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail, offer online document storage.  Check with your service to see what storage options might be available.

Document Valuables and Business Equipment

Compile a room-by-room list of your belongings or business equipment. This will help you verify the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photograph or videotape the contents of your home or business, especially items of high value.

Having a record of your valuables can provide proof for an insurance claim. It will also help you remember what you might be able to claim as a loss on state and federal taxes.

You should store photos or videos on CDs, DVDs, or portable memory drives in a safe location away from the area at risk.

Count on the Louisiana Department of Revenue

In the event of a disaster – and well after – the Louisiana Department of Revenue can provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, business disaster assistance, calculating losses, and other tax-related matters. Check LDR’s website, www.revenue.louisiana.gov, for news about disaster-related tax matters. As a top priority after a disaster, LDR will update forms and offer explanations of loss-relief programs.

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