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Louisiana Implements Program to Help Taxpayers

August 03, 2005

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Tara G. Cunningham, LDR
August 3, 2005 (225) 219-0960


Louisiana Implements Programs to Help Taxpayers

BATON ROUGE- Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges announced today that The Louisiana Department of Revenue is implementing a multi-faceted program to increase compliance with the law eliminating the state sales tax on food for home consumption.

Secretary Bridges states that, “We have been hearing a great deal more about convenience stores that are not in compliance. As it has become a matter of concern for the media and the public, compliance has, is and always will be a priority for us. While it concerns us when individuals and businesses do not pay Louisiana what is owed, it is even more appalling to Governor Blanco, the Legislature and to me that our citizens are paying more at the cash register than they should simply due to the negligence of a store owner.”

The exemption applies to a broad class of food and beverage products regardless of package size or quantity sold, provided that the foods are for human consumption, are not prepared by the sellers, and are not sold by restaurants, drive-ins, candy and nut counters, snack bars, private clubs, or establishments who furnish facilities for the on-premises consumption of food.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue has attempted to increase awareness of the new law to all retailers through tax publications, letters, and seminars to educate all storeowners about the change in the sales tax law. Although many retailers have complied, there have been instances where retailers have not yet fully implemented the changes made following the voters’ passage of the 2002 Stelly Amendment.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue is implementing the following enforcement measures to protect the citizens of this state from being charged with state sales tax on food for home consumption.

1. A Public Information Campaign, which will include partnering with the media to disseminate as much information as possible so that customers will know which items are taxable and which ones are not. Merchants will also be receiving additional materials and seminars on sales tax.

2. Compliance reviews will be increased. We will utilize individuals as mystery shoppers to determine who is in compliance. When a store is found to be non-compliant, information will be left with the manager and a subpoena will be issued to produce its records.

3. Modification of tax audit plan. As with any issue of non-compliance that is identified, we will be devoting more audit resources to this taxpayer base in an effort to determine who is charging state sales tax incorrectly, and if such monies have been remitted to the Department.

4. Revocation of Alcohol Permits. For those who remain non-compliant, the department will revoke alcohol permits. We will work with the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commission to deny or revoke permits to those businesses.

5. The department will also seek public assistance. We ask the public to review their receipts when they shop at a convenience store and make certain that state sales tax is not being charged on items that are considered food for home consumption.

If a taxpayer believes they are being taxed for items which should be exempt, or if they need more information about this sales tax amendment, they should call the Fraud Hotline at 1-866-FRAUD05 (1-866-372-8305) or any of the following offices of the Department: Alexandria Regional Office, (318)
487-5333; Baton Rouge Headquarters, (225) 219-7318; Baton Rouge Regional Office, (225) 922-2300; Lafayette Regional Office, (337) 262-5455; Lake Charles Regional Office, (318) 362-3151; New Orleans Regional Office, (504) 568-5233; Shreveport Regional Office, (318) 676-7505; and Thibodaux Regional Office, (985) 447-0976.

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.


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