Archive for November, 2011

‘Online’ doesn’t mean ‘tax-free’; Consumer use tax applies to online purchases

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) reminds shoppers that “online” does not mean “tax-free” when making purchases during the holiday season, or any other time of year. Louisiana’s Consumer Use Tax applies to transactions in which the retailer does not charge sales tax. This happens most frequently when making purchases from online and mail-order retailers, or television shopping networks that do not have physical locations in Louisiana.

When out-of-state vendors do not charge sales tax to purchases, Louisiana state law requires the shopper to report and pay the Consumer Use Tax. This tax protects Louisiana businesses from unfair competition from out-of-state retailers who don’t charge sales tax. It also helps to provide the vital funds that the state needs to maintain Louisiana’s schools, public safety, and roads and bridges.

The Consumer Use Tax is calculated at a rate of 8 percent, payable directly to the Department of Revenue. LDR redistributes 4 percent of the revenue to local governments.

Purchases subject to the Consumer Use Tax include:

  • Appliances
  • Books
  • Clothing
  • Computers
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Music and movie downloads
  • Software
  • Tobacco products

You can report the Consumer Use Tax annually when filing your Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return. You can also use the Consumer Use Tax Return (Form R-1035), available along with more information at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/ConsumerUse.

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Dept. of Revenue introduces LDR Mobile for smartphones

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BATON ROUGE – Owners of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can interact with the Louisiana Department of Revenue through a new, mobile-friendly version of the LDR website, the agency announced Tuesday.

LDR Mobile is designed for maximum readability and functionality in mobile Internet browsers. 

Visitors to LDR Mobile can check the status of their income tax refunds, make credit card payments and send e-mail inquiries to LDR subject-matter experts.

 “Full-featured mobile devices are part of the fabric of daily life for many people,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges.  “This is why the Department of Revenue is making many of its customer service functions available on mobile platforms.”

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, one in three American adults owns a smartphone.[i]  Twenty five percent of smartphone owners say the phone is their primary means of accessing the Internet.

To use LDR Mobile, simply point your mobile browser to www.revenue.louisiana.gov.  The site will recognize that you are visiting from a mobile device, and will load LDR Mobile instead of the regular website.  Use the Add to Home Screen feature to download the LDR Mobile icon to your phone. 


[i] “Smartphone Adoption and Usage,” Pew Internet & American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx

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Parish E-File, online sales tax collection portal, passes $3 billion benchmark

BATON ROUGE – Parish E-file.com, The Louisiana Department of Revenue’s electronic filing service for state and local sales taxes, has collected $3.3 billion in revenues.

Parish E-file.com, launched in August of 2008, provides businesses with a fast, convenient, secure way to file and remit sales taxes from one centralized site at no cost.  It is a free public service from the Department of Revenue.

For the quarterly tax period ending September 30, 2011, nearly 16,000 individual businesses used Parish E-File to file and remit state and local sales taxes.

“We are pleased to see so many business owners taking advantage of Parish E-File,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges.  “As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘time is money.’  Parish E-File saves time and money for businesses and for the state and local governments who collect sales taxes.”

The following returns can be filed and paid on Parish E-File.com:

  • Sales and use tax for all parishes (except Cameron)
  • Sales and use tax for the State of Louisiana
  • Hotel-Motel and occupancy tax for some parishes
  • Prepaid Wireless 911 Service charge

For more information, or to register and begin using Parish E-File, visit www.parishe-file.com.

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‘Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program is hailed as win-win’

The Times-Picayune reports on a study that highlights the benefits of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program:

Louisiana’s Tax Free Shopping Program, which gives overseas visitors a chance to recoup some of the sales tax they pay on purchases made while visiting the Pelican State, was responsible for almost $73.7 million in spending during the fiscal year ending in June, according to a recent study. And because not all of the spending those tourists did in Louisiana qualified for the tax-free program, the state still collected almost $2.7 million in sales, hotel and excise taxes from them, according to the study, which was commissioned by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism’s Office of Tourism.

The study was based on a survey of 490 foreign visitors who responded in one of five languages: French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. The study was conducted by the University of New Orleans’ Hospitality Research Center.

Read the full story at NOLA.com.

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