LAKE CHARLES- Louisiana Department of Revenue is providing tax relief for victims of Hurricane Rita through the Natural Disaster Claim for Refund of State Sales Taxes Paid. Alarmingly, many taxpayers are falling victim to wayward tax preparers who are taking advantage of taxpayers by charging taxpayers to prepare the sales tax refund forms and fraudulently listing items on the detailed schedule of tangible personal property form.
Louisiana victims of Hurricane Rita living in parishes declared by the President as disaster areas, where disaster relief funds have been made available, may be eligible for a refund of state sales taxes paid on uninsured personally owned movable property destroyed by the storm.
Cynthia Bridges, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue states, “It is imperative to report any fraudulent activities you may know or have reason to know that exist. With the help of taxpayers phone calls and random reviews of income tax returns, it has become apparent that the content of some of the claims have been erroneous. We intend to identify and prosecute those preparers who are committing fraudulent acts, and are not acting in the best interest of our taxpayers.”
The Natural Disaster Claim for Refund of State Sales Taxes Paid form must be completed, notarized and submitted to the Louisiana Department of Revenue with the following requirements:
The schedule must detail the items of tangible personal property destroyed during the natural disaster and should include a description of each item, the year of its purchase, and the original cost item. (Schedules similar to those used by insurance companies are acceptable, but the original cost of the item, not the replacement cost, and the date of purchase must be indicated on the schedule.)
Persons must file a claim for refund of the state sales taxes paid on the destroyed property on or before December 31, 2008.
Persons claiming a refund MUST present some evidence to show that they actually suffered the loss with no reimbursement from insurance or otherwise. (A deduction claimed and allowed for federal and Louisiana income tax purposes will be acceptable as proof of loss.)
If a copy of the federal or state income tax return cannot be attached, Sales Tax Refund Schedule-Disaster Loss of Tangible Personal Property, Form R-13625, must be substituted.
If the claimant is unable to provide documentation to show the actual amount of tax that was paid, the secretary will estimate the sales tax originally paid on the purchase of the tangible personal property that was destroyed.
Fraudulent behavior must be reported, and the compliant taxpayers of Louisiana have a responsibility to report tax fraud if they have knowledge that it’s occurring.
To report fraud, contact 1-866-FRAUD05 or logon to http://revenue.louisiana.gov/TaxFraud.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue’s mission is to administer the applicable tax laws of the state of Louisiana as well as regulations concerning alcohol, tobacco and charitable gaming.