Archive for LDR News Release

2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday: Most retail purchases exempt from state sales tax August 1 & 2

BATON ROUGE – Just in time for back-to-school shopping, most retail purchases in Louisiana are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax on Friday, August 1, and Saturday, August 2. The 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday applies to most individual consumer purchases of tangible personal property.

Conditions

The sales tax holiday exempts the first $2500 of the purchase price of each eligible item when the customer:

  • Buys and accepts delivery of eligible property;
  • Places property on layaway;
  • Acquires property that was previously placed on layaway; or
  • Places an order for immediate delivery, even if the delivery must be delayed, provided the customer has not requested delayed delivery

The sales tax holiday applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local sales taxes still apply unless the local taxing authority creates its own exemption.

Exceptions

The sales tax holiday does not apply to:

  • Vehicles subject to title and license
  • Meals prepared for consumption on premises or to-go; and
  • Taxable services such as hotel occupancy, laundry services, printing services, telecommunication services, the furnishing of cold storage space, leases or rentals of tangible personal property, repairs to tangible personal property, and admission to athletic, amusement, or recreational facilities or even

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxholiday for a full explanation of conditions of the 2014 Louisiana Annual Sales Tax Holiday.

Back-to-School Tax Deductions

The Louisiana Department of Revenue reminds shoppers to retain receipts for back-to-school items such as supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools. These purchases may qualify for tax deductions on 2014 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns due May 15, 2015. The deductions apply to educational expenses for public, private, parochial, and home schools. To claim the deductions, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return, and you must be able to provide documentation for the expenses.

For more information about the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deductions, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.

 

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Misuse of state childcare tax credits leads to fraud arrests

BATON ROUGE – Two Louisiana tax preparers face felony charges for filing tax returns that investigators say improperly claimed state tax credits for childcare expenses.

Gwana White, of 308 Devon Road in LaPlace, was arrested on Tuesday, June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

In an unrelated case, Ericka Lewis, of 929 Starrett Street in Metairie, was arrested also on June 17, and charged with computer fraud and filing or maintaining false public records.

White worked as a tax return preparer for Quick, Fast and EZ Tax Service, LLC in LaPlace. Lewis worked for Quick EZ Taxes of Kenner, LLC.

Each is accused of preparing returns for clients containing false information on wages earned and false claims for tax credits for childcare expenses, resulting in fraudulent state individual income tax refunds.

Gwana White’s alleged fraud cost Louisiana taxpayers $13,647.

The alleged fraud in the Ericka Lewis case amounted to $12,643.


Booking Photos:

Gwana White

Ericka Lewis

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Protect tax records and financial documents during hurricane season

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to protect their tax records and other financial documents from flood damage and other weather-related threats during hurricane season.

“A little preparation goes a long way,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “A few common-sense precautions can make the recovery process easier in the aftermath of an emergency.”

Keep documents secure

Paper records are especially vulnerable to water damage. Protect these documents by placing them in airtight plastic containers or zip closure bags, and moving them out of harm’s way.

Use paperless media

Bank statements and other financial documents are available as electronic records from your financial institution. Preserve these records by saving them to portable memory drives or burning them to CDs. Store them in airtight containers.

Scan important records such as such as tax returns, W-2s and payroll records into an electronic format. Many commercially available home printers include scanning features.

Web-based email services such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Hotmail offer account holders free online data storage. You can upload electronic records from your home computer and retrieve them later from any device with Internet access. This can be helpful if you are evacuated from your home.

Document valuables and business equipment

Compile a room-by-room list of your belongings or business equipment. Photograph or videotape the contents of your home or business, especially items of high value. Having a visual record of your valuables can provide proof for an insurance claim. It can also help to verify a loss claim on state and federal tax returns.

In case of a disaster, the Department of Revenue can provide information on potential tax deductions or credits, filing extensions, and other tax-related information. Bookmark www.revenue.louisiana.gov.

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Slidell business owner charged with tax fraud

BATON ROUGE – A Slidell woman faces two felony counts for payroll tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Thursday.

Toniko Manning Brown, of 127 Herwig Bluff Road, in Slidell, is the 19th person arrested in a joint anti-tax fraud initiative by the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

Brown, owner of Little Beautiful Minds, a child care provider in Metairie, is accused of failing to remit to the State of Louisiana $39,246.94 that she withheld from employees’ paychecks from 2007 to 2014. She was arrested on Tuesday, May 27, and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Injuring Public Records (La. R.S. §14:132)  and Criminal Penalty for Failing to Account for State Tax Monies (La. R.S. §47:1641).

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Louisiana state tax filing deadline is Thursday, May 15

BATON ROUGE – Thursday, May 15 is the deadline for filing 2013 Louisiana Individual Income Tax returns.           

The Louisiana Department of Revenue recommends electronic filing for the fastest, most error-free tax return and refund processing. Electronic filing options include commercially-available tax preparation software, and Louisiana File Online, the state’s free tax filing web application. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.

Filing Extensions

Taxpayers who need more time to prepare their 2013 individual state income tax returns must submit an extension request by the May 15 deadline to avoid late filing penalties. An extension allows more time to file a return, but it does not allow more time to pay taxes due. Payments made after May 15 are subject to penalties and interest. Extension requests must be submitted electronically, or by phone for those with limited Internet access. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/extensions or call 888-829-3071.

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New Orleans woman arrested for tax fraud

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces five felony counts related to tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue announced Monday.

Charnell R. Haymond, of 6921 Bunker Hill Road, New Orleans, is the 18th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative of the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Office of the Attorney General.

Haymond is accused of filing false state individual income tax returns and collecting $22,208 in fraudulent refunds. She is charged with theft, identity theft, computer fraud, monetary instrument abuse, and injuring public records.

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2014 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is May 24 & 25

BATON ROUGE – Flashlights, batteries, portable generators and other emergency supplies are free from the 4 percent state sales tax on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25.

The 2014 Louisiana Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday gives Louisiana residents a chance to get ready for storm season before the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1.

“There is no substitute for early preparation,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This sales tax holiday is the best opportunity to stock up early on the items that can keep your family safe and comfortable during and after a storm.”

The sales tax holiday exempts each eligible item from the 4 percent state sales tax. It applies to the first $1,500 of the purchase price of each item.

Eligible purchases include:

  • Self-powered light sources, such as flashlights and candles
  • Portable self-powered radios, two-way radios, and weather-band radios
  • Tarpaulins or other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems, straps or tie-down kits
  • Gas or diesel fuel tanks
  • Batteries, sizes AAA, AA, C, D, 6-volt, or 9-volt (Automobile batteries and boat batteries are ineligible)
  • Cellular phone batteries and chargers
  • Non-electric food storage coolers
  • Portable generators
  • Storm shutter devices (Materials and products manufactured, rated, and marketed specifically for the purposes of preventing window damage from storms)
  • Carbon monoxide detectors
  • “Blue Ice” (and similar re-usable cooling products)

The exemption applies only to the 4 percent state sales tax. Local taxes apply unless specifically exempted by local taxing authorities.

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/hurricaneprep for more information.

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New Orleans tax preparer arrested for fraud

BATON ROUGE – A New Orleans woman faces charges of defrauding the State of Louisiana of more than $900,000 through the filing of false tax returns, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Thursday.

Kenshika Sade Jiles, of 5209 Spain Street in New Orleans, was arrested by investigators from the Louisiana Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 16 and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. She faces two felony counts of computer fraud and injuring public records.

Investigators say Jiles, owner of S&A Tax Service, prepared and submitted tax returns containing false information including phony business expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses and improper child care tax credit claims. Her alleged actions resulted in $923,751 in unpaid taxes and fraudulent refunds.

Jiles is the 17th person arrested since March 2013 under an anti-fraud initiative by the Department of Revenue and state Department of Justice.

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Bossier Parish tax preparer arrested on fraud charges

BATON ROUGE – A Bossier Parish tax preparer faces felony charges related to tax fraud, the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Wednesday.

Marie Kemp, known also as Marie Devers, of 430 Kingston Road in Benton, was arrested in Bossier City on April 3, 2014, and transported to Baton Rouge on April 7, where she was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

Kemp is the 16th person arrested under a joint anti-fraud initiative by the Department of Revenue and the Louisiana Department of Justice (DOJ). She faces 21 counts of identity theft, computer fraud, and filing or maintaining false public records.

Kemp is accused of falsifying tax returns filed through Marie’s Tax Service, a tax preparation business with two locations in Bossier City. She allegedly inflated income tax refunds for her clients by improperly claiming the state’s Child Care Expense Tax Credit. Investigators contacted the providers listed on the falsified returns, who denied providing the services.

“The abuse of state tax credits is fraud,” Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said. “This anti-fraud initiative helps to ensure valuable programs such as the Child Care Expense Tax Credit remain available for those who need them.”

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Louisiana state income tax filing begins January 31, 2014

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) will begin processing 2013 state individual income tax returns on January 31, 2014. On that date, 2013 state income tax forms will become available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/taxformsLouisiana File Online, the state’s free electronic filing application will begin accepting returns on that date, as well.

The state income tax filing deadline is May 15, 2014.

LDR recommends the following steps to ensure the fastest, most accurate tax return and refund processing:

  • File electronically – The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 21 days; for paper returns, expect to wait 12 to 16 weeks
  • Update your personal information if your name or address has changed during the tax year
  • Double-check return information – Ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct, and that all names and Social Security numbers are in the same order as previous years; math errors and incorrect tax-table information are leading causes of delayed refunds
  • Include all supporting information such as W-2s; use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return
  • Apply for extensions in a timely manner – Extension requests must be filed no later than the May 15 income tax filing deadline
  • If additional tax is due, include the remittance coupon to ensure proper payment posting
  • Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue; do not send cash
  • If filing a paper return, attach the proper label to the mailing envelope

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Louisiana File Online is the state’s free web portal for individual and business tax filers. With Louisiana File Online, taxpayers can:

  • File returns and pay taxes electronically
  • Check the status of individual income tax refunds
  • Amend tax returns
  • View business tax information for current and previous years

Louisiana File Online is a public service from the Department of Revenue. There are no fees associated with its use. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.   

Taxpayers may also use commercial tax preparation software to file their state income taxes.

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