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Figures Show Consumer Use Tax Collections Up Dramatically

Convenience of paying tax via the state’s individual income tax return said to be a factor

May 03, 2001

BATON ROUGE - As of April 29, 2001, collection of the state’s consumer use tax totaled $263,380, or more than six times the $41,650 average collected in each of the last six fiscal years, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges. Louisiana residents are required by law to pay a consumer use tax on all of their catalog, Internet, or other out-of-state purchases when the seller has no legal presence within the state and is not required to collect the Louisiana sales tax.

Bridges says one reason collections are up so dramatically is the convenience this year of using the state’s individual income tax return to report and pay the consumer use tax. “This year, we added a specific use tax line on the front of the individual income tax return,” Bridges says. “This eliminated the need for the taxpayer to fill out and mail a separate worksheet form.” Using the new line on the tax return, taxpayers need only compute a total price for all qualified purchases and multiply that figure by 8%. The date of purchases, descriptions, and individual purchase amounts are not requested, Bridges says.

Louisiana residents may still report and pay their use tax at any time during the year, not just on the individual income tax return, Bridges points out. She says a Consumer Use Tax Worksheet can be downloaded anytime from the Department’s website at . The worksheet is found under ‘Tax Forms,’ in the subcategory of ‘Sales Tax.’

Although out-of-state retailers cannot be required to collect the state’s sales tax, many voluntarily register with the Department and collect sales tax at the time of a sale. Louisiana Revised Statute 47:302(K) was enacted in 1994 and allows out-of-state dealers who solicit sales into the state by catalog or the Internet to collect 8% use tax. Bridges says the 8% tax rate represents a 4% state use tax plus a 4% local tax, which is distributed to local governments.