Archive for December 20, 2012

LDR FACT SHEET: Alternative Fuels Tax Credit

  • An emergency rule was issued by former Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges on April 30, 2012, that expanded the scope of R.S. 47:6035 to allow Louisiana taxpayers to claim tax credits for the purchase of flex-fuel vehicles;
  • The emergency rule issued by former Secretary Bridges was not in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA);
  • Since the emergency rule was not issued in accordance with the APA, the rule was rescinded by the Governor on June 14, 2012;
  • Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) issued a statement on June 19, 2012 that indicated all claims under the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit Program postmarked on or before June 14, 2012, would be honored;
  • After the governor rescinded the previous emergency rule, LDR initiated the formal rule-making process in full accordance with all APA requirements, and in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR);
  • The published rule (effective today – December 20, 2012) clarifies the legislative intent of R.S. 47:6035 and reflects the legislative record of deliberations prior to final passage of the Act;
  • Between June 14, 2012, and December 17, 2012, all claims received and held by LDR total approximately $11.2M;
  • Of the $11.2M currently held by LDR, approximately $9M relates directly to flex-fuel vehicles.
  • No credits will be allowed for any claim related to flex-fuel vehicles received by LDR after June 14, 2012;
  • Vehicles that operate on both alternative fuel and petroleum based fuel from the same tank will be disallowed for the credit;
  • Flex-fuel vehicles are not eligible for the tax credit;
  • Claims that continue to qualify for the tax credit under the new rule (LAC 61:I.913) include:
    • fueling stations
    • vehicle conversions
    • vehicles that operate on an alternative fuel from a separate tank that does not burn petroleum gasoline or petroleum diesel;
  •  Analysis is ongoing regarding a final annual financial estimate to the state as to the number of applications received by LDR after June 14, 2012.


Howell Appointed as Undersecretary at Louisiana Department of Revenue

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Thursday the appointment of Natalie A. Howell as Undersecretary of Revenue. In this role she will direct the offices of Management and Finance, Support Services, and Internal Audit.

Howell comes to LDR from the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) in Baton Rouge, where she served as Vice-President of Accounting. Prior to her service as vice-president, she directed LWCC’s office of accounting and compliance as well as working as an internal audit manager. She was a senior consultant for the Information Engineering Systems Corporation in Alexandria, VA and worked as Senior REO Accountant for the Southwest Federal Savings Association in Austin, TX.

Howell graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southwest Texas State University and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems and Internal Audit from Louisiana State University. She is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a certified internal auditor (CIA).

“Natalie brings to LDR a solid background in financial management and an impressive track record in accounting that will help the agency stay on track for the ongoing work toward improved service for Louisiana taxpayers,” LDR Executive Counsel Tim Barfield said. “At a time when the agency is facing unique challenges and opportunities such as tax reform and a renewed focus on efficiency and customer service, she will serve in a critical capacity establishing key budget priorities and implementing sound financial management policies across the department.”

Howell’s appointment was effective December 17, 2012.


Revenue Department Announces New Initiatives and the Closure of District Offices

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) will begin to implement a strategic series of decisions that will result in greater efficiency across the agency. All divisions are in the process of a systematic review of services and outcomes that directly impact Louisiana.

Recent decisions of LDR leadership include: in light of anticipated tax reform the suspension of two agency-wide technology projects; the purchase and installation of a modern telephone system that will enhance productivity by allowing agency personnel who directly interface with taxpayers to more quickly respond to taxpayer needs; the announcement of a retirement incentive package that will be made available to all eligible employees by the end of the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2013; a significant reduction of unclassified personnel; a review of the current organizational structure; the addition of fifteen new auditors; the addition of two new criminal investigators; the installation of anti-fraud software to identify tax evasion(s); the installation of new software to prevent tax refund fraud; a refocus of employee cross training that will streamline processes and customer service; the closure of district offices in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, Shreveport, Dallas, TX, and Houston, TX without any layoffs of district office employees.

“This agency is committed to living within its means by focusing on efficiency initiatives and adjusting our goals to better respond to Louisiana taxpayers,” stated Tim Barfield LDR Executive Counsel. “We have put into place measurable goals for each division that will hold us accountable to the citizens of Louisiana.”

While the brick and mortar district offices will be closed, all employees in the district offices will be retained. Almost four years ago, LDR began the Mobile Tax Service (MTS) to enhance field collections and other taxpayer services. Through this provision of a virtual office on newly upgraded technology, MTS agents have access to everything required to provide efficient and effective taxpayer assistance. MTS enhancements include a new ability to track employee productivity, allow MTS agents greater confidential access to taxpayer data, and provide greater sense of connection to headquarters via an office program on the laptop of each field agent.

“Taxpayers in each of these regions will be able to contact LDR, and when appropriate, personally meet with a field agent at their convenience,” Barfield said. “Based on our calculations, relieving ourselves of the need for office space in each of these regions will save LDR approximately $0.5 million annually.”