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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana victims of Tropical Storm Francis or Hurricane Georges who live in any of the 19 parishes that have been declared disaster areas by President Clinton may be eligible for a refund of state sales taxes paid on personally owned movable property destroyed by the storms, according to Revenue Secretary John Kennedy.
"Many of our citizens have suffered terrible losses in the last several weeks. Revised Statute 47:315.1 of the Louisiana Sales Tax Law allows the state to refund the sales tax paid by citizens who lost movable property that was not reimbursable by insurance," Kennedy said. Kennedy added that the losses must have occurred in the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, Cameron, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, and Washington.
In order for a claim to be processed by the Department of Revenue, Kennedy says a citizen''s loss must meet the following guidelines:
* The loss was not reimbursable by insurance.
* The loss must be suffered by a natural person to property used in or about the citizen''s home, apartment, or homestead. Property owned by other than a natural person, such as a corporation, partnership, or any type of business, does not qualify for a sales tax refund.
* The statute only authorizes refunds of sales taxes paid on the original acquisition of destroyed property and not on the acquisition of replacement property.
* The destroyed property eligible for a sales tax refund must have been moveable, both at the time of its purchase and at the time of its destruction. Sales taxes paid on components that become parts of buildings, homes, or other fixed structures are not eligible for refund. Accordingly, no refund is authorized for taxes paid by a homeowner on such fixed items as wall-to-wall carpeting, cooling or heating systems, lighting fixtures, lavatories, or wall structures. Refunds can be made for taxes paid on movables such as clothing, boats, appliances, or furniture.
* State sales or use tax must have been paid on the acquisition of the destroyed property by the person making the claim. If the property was acquired by the person suffering the loss without the payment of the state sales or use tax, or if the purchase was made in another state, or if the destroyed property was acquired as a gift, then a refund cannot be issued under this statute.
Kennedy says persons suffering movable property losses from Tropical Storm Frances or Hurricane Georges must file claims with the Department of Revenue. Further information and forms for filing for the sales tax refunds can be obtained by contacting any of the following offices of the Department: Baton Rouge, (225) 925-7356; New Orleans, (504) 568-5233; Thibodaux, (504) 4470976; Lafayette, (318) 262-5455; Lake Charles, (318) 491-2504; Alexandria, (318) 487-5333; Shreveport, (318) 676-7505; and Monroe, (318) 362-3151.
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