Archive for LDR News Release

2013 Louisiana tax amnesty collections reach $435 million

BATON ROUGE – The 2013 state tax amnesty program has received more than 52,000 applications with payments totaling over $435 million, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Thursday.

“Taxpayers responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to fulfill their obligations and settle their accounts with the state,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “We believe we have received the overwhelming majority of applications, and we continue to process those applications that were submitted by the deadline to ensure compliance with the amnesty eligibility requirements.”

Of the $435 million collected, approximately $369 million came from accounts under audit and litigation, which generally are contested matters involving businesses, and $66 million came from delinquent tax collections generally involving individuals. Amnesty collections include $67 million paid using transferable tax credits.

LDR estimates the cost of administering the amnesty program, including its share of outside legal fees, is approximately $14 million. And, as provided under the amnesty statute, LDR will retain about $64 million to replace penalties and fees waived under the program.

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start gave eligible taxpayers the chance to bring their accounts up to date by paying all taxes due, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest. The program was in effect from September 23 through November 22. Taxpayers submitted applications by mail, online or at LDR customer service centers throughout the state.

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“Online” doesn’t mean “tax-free”

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) reminds shoppers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the year that “online” does not mean “tax-free.” Louisiana’s Consumer Use Tax applies to purchases from out-0f-state vendors who do not charge sales tax. This occurs frequently when shopping online or with catalogues or television shopping networks.

When out-of-state vendors do not charge sales tax, Louisiana state law requires the shopper to report and pay the Consumer Use Tax.  The tax is calculated at a rate of 8 percent, payable directly to the Department of Revenue.

 The Consumer Use Tax helps to protect Louisiana businesses from unfair competition with online retailers and other out-of-state vendors who don’t charge sales tax. And it helps to provide the money for vital state services such as education, health care and public safety.

Shoppers can report the Consumer Use Tax on their state individual income tax returns, or they can use the Consumer Use Tax return, available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxforms.

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Louisiana tax amnesty program reaches $200 million goal

BATON ROUGE – The 2013 Louisiana Tax Amnesty program that concluded on Friday has reached its goal of $200 million in collections.

“Based on applications and payments processed as of this morning, we have met the $200 million goal included in the budget for fiscal year 2014,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said Monday. “We expect that number to grow as we receive and process applications and payments submitted in the final days and hours of the amnesty program.”

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start offered noncompliant taxpayers an opportunity to settle their accounts with the state by paying all taxes due, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest. Eligible taxpayers could apply for amnesty online, by mail, or in person at Department of Revenue offices. Applications submitted by mail are valid as long as they were postmarked no later than Friday, November 22. As those applications and payments are received and processed, the amnesty total is expected to increase.

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Department of Revenue investigations of tax preparers identify millions in fraudulent refunds

BATON ROUGE – A joint initiative of the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) and the Attorney General’s office to prevent fraud committed by tax preparers has yielded numerous arrests and identified millions of dollars in potentially fraudulent income tax refunds.

The investigative focus on tax preparers has resulted in ten arrests since it began less than a year ago in March 2013.  All such cases involve a total of $1.8 million in fraudulent refunds to date. 

The LDR Taxpayer Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) analyzes income tax refunds as they are processed. When TRIP unit analysts observe suspicious patterns, they investigate to determine if fraud is involved.

The most recent TRIP arrests focus on alleged fraud connected to Quick Tax, a tax preparation business with locations in Baton Rouge and Baker.  Ebony C. Martin, of 17424 Airline Highway in Prairieville, was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Monday, October 7, 2013; Shantel Banks, of 8441 Betty Smothers Avenue in Baton Rouge, was arrested on Tuesday, October 8; and Alfreda Walker, of 4912 Longfellow Drive in Baton Rouge, was arrested on Thursday, October 10.  All three face felony counts including theft, computer fraud, tax evasion and filing or maintaining false public records.

“According to the arrest warrants, the suspects prepared tax returns with phony business loss information that resulted in fraudulently large income tax refunds for their clients,” said Barry Kelly, director of the LDR Criminal Investigations Division.

The alleged criminal activity in the Quick Tax case involved $210,422 in fraudulent refunds.

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In an unrelated case this month, Lawrence James Richard of 12535 Arnold Road in Walker was arrested on October 3, 2013, on charges of tax evasion and failure to file. He is accused of failing to report income to the state in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

 

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Department of Revenue sending letters, making calls to taxpayers eligible for Louisiana tax amnesty

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) is taking a multi-pronged approach to informing delinquent taxpayers that they may be eligible for a statewide tax amnesty program.

Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start allows noncompliant taxpayers to settle their accounts with the state by paying all taxes due, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest owed. It continues through November 22, 2013.

LDR’s outreach includes 443,000 letters addressed to taxpayers the agency’s records indicate are behind on their taxes.

And it includes a recorded telephone message sent to eligible taxpayers whose phone numbers are in LDR’s database.

“The phone numbers and addresses we are using for these calls and letters are information taxpayers have provided LDR in records they have submitted,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “We’re making every effort to make eligible taxpayers aware of this opportunity for a fresh start.”

The recorded amnesty phone message states:

“Are you ready for a fresh start?  You may be eligible for the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s 2013 Tax Amnesty program.  The tax amnesty period began on September 23rd and runs through November 22nd, 2013.   To find out more and to see if you qualify for the Fresh Start program, visit www.ldrtaxamnesty.com or call our amnesty hotline at: 866-782-9241.  To hear this message again press pound otherwise simply hang up.”

The calls do not identify taxpayers by name. In some cases, there may be multiple taxpayers living at one location. If any taxpayer has questions about a call believed to be intended for someone else, LDR encourages them to call the amnesty hotline at 866-782-9241.

 

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2013 tax amnesty begins Monday, Sept. 23

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield will discuss a statewide tax amnesty program during a kickoff event in Kenner for LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start.

The Fresh Start program runs from Monday, September 23 through Friday, November 22. It offers delinquent taxpayers and non-filers a chance to settle their accounts with the Louisiana Department of Revenue by paying all taxes due, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest owed.

Secretary Barfield will speak with taxpayers and the media during an appearance at the headquarters of the Society for Louisiana Certified Public Accountants (LCPA) at LCPA headquarters in Kenner.

Information about the Fresh Start program is available at www.ldrtaxamnesty.com, where eligible taxpayers can submit amnesty applications and make payments electronically.

Date Time Location
September 23 9:00 a.m. LCPA Headquarters

2400 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 500

Kenner, LA 70062

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Secretary Barfield continues statewide tour promoting LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield continues his statewide tour this week to speak with local communities about a tax amnesty program to run from September 23 through November 22.

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start offers delinquent taxpayers and non-filers a chance to settle their accounts by paying all taxes due, with an exemption from all penalties and 50 percent of the interest.

“We are looking forward to connecting with hundreds of taxpayers as we prepare to launch the Fresh Start program,” Barfield said.  “This will be the opportunity needed by many people to clear their account with the Department of Revenue, and we want to help them in any way possible.”

Visit www.ldrtaxamnesty.com for more information.

Dates and Locations

Date Time Location
September 18 11:00 a.m. Alexandria Convention Hall

915 Third Street

Alexandria, LA 71301

September 19 10:00 a.m. Lafayette Public Library – South Regional Branch

6101 Johnston Street

Lafayette, LA 70503

September 19 2:00 p.m. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Room

1015 Pithon Street

Lake Charles, LA 70601

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Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield unveils LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start

Barfield_BRPressClub1

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield unveiled on Monday details of a two-month tax amnesty program for individual and business taxpayers who have fallen behind on their tax debts.

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start will run from September 23 through November 22. It offers delinquent taxpayers and non-filers the chance to bring their accounts up to date by paying all overdue taxes, with a waiver of all penalties and 50 percent of the interest owed.

“Many times, people get behind and don’t know where to start,” Barfield said during a presentation to the Baton Rouge Press Club. “The goal here is to make it as easy as possible.  Let’s help them right the ship.”

Amnesty is available for the following taxes and tax periods:

  • All taxes administered by the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) except for motor fuel taxes and penalties for failure to submit information reports that are not based on an underpayment of tax
  • Taxes due prior to January 1, 2013, for which LDR has issued an individual or business proposed assessment, notice of assessment bill, notice, or demand of payment not later than May 21, 2013
  • Taxes for taxable periods that began before January 1, 2013.

The Fresh Start program is available to taxpayers who have:

  • Failed to file a tax return or report
  • Failed to report all income or all tax, interested and penalties that were due
  • Claimed incorrect credits or deductions
  • Misrepresented or omitted an tax due
  • Become subject to audit, or are in administrative or judicial litigation

Taxpayers involved in criminal investigation or criminal litigation for taxes administered by LDR are not eligible for the Fresh Start program.

Once the program begins on September 23, taxpayers will be able to submit amnesty applications electronically at www.LDRTaxAmnesty.com. The average time to complete an application is five minutes.

“We have gone to great lengths to make this a user-friendly application,” Barfield said. “We’ve already had thousands of people visit the website, which is a great sign.”

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Visit the LDR Flickr page for more downloadable photos from Secretary Barfield’s appearance at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

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Secretary of Revenue to conduct statewide tour promoting LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield will travel the state to speak with local communities about a tax amnesty program to run from September 23 through November 22.

LA Tax Amnesty 2013: A Fresh Start offers delinquent taxpayers and non-filers a chance to settle their accounts by paying all taxes due, with an exemption from all penalties and 50 percent of the interest.

“We are looking forward to connecting with hundreds of taxpayers as we prepare to launch the Fresh Start program,” Barfield said.  “This will be the opportunity needed by many people to clear their account with the Department of Revenue, and we want to help them in any way possible.”

Visit www.ldrtaxamnesty.com for more information.

Dates and Locations

Date Time Location
September 9

 

11:30 a.m. Baton Rouge Press Club

De La Ronde Hall

320 Third Street

Baton Rouge, LA 70802

September 10 10:00 a.m. Monroe City Council Chambers

Monroe City Hall

400 Lea Joyner Medical Expressway

Monroe, LA 71201

September 10 1:00 p.m. Bossier Civic Center

620 Benton Road

Bossier City, LA 71111

September 18 11:00 a.m. Alexandria Convention Hall

915 Third Street

Alexandria, LA 71301

September 19 10:00 a.m. Lafayette Public Library – South Regional Branch

6101 Johnston Street

Lafayette, LA 70503

September 19 2:00 p.m. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Room

1015 Pithon Street

Lake Charles, LA 70601

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Save money on hunting gear with Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday Sept. 6-8

BATON ROUGE – Guns, ammunition and other kinds of hunting gear are free from sales tax Friday, September 6, through Sunday, September 8.

The Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday exempts from the four percent state sales tax and all local sales taxes a wide range of supplies, including:

  • Shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers or other handguns
  • Ammunition intended to be fired from a gun or firearm
  • Accessories designed to be used for hunting
  • Apparel such as safety gear, camouflage, clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, face masks and thermal underwear for use while hunting
  • Off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles designed for hunting. The exemption does not apply to golf carts, bikes, motorcycles, tractors, or motor vehicles that may be legally driven on highways.

The sales tax exemption is for individual purchases only, not for business purchases.

By state law, the Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday is an annual event that takes place the first consecutive Friday through Sunday each September.

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/secondamendment for more information, including the full list of eligible items, excluded items and special provisions.

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