Archive for LDR News Release

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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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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