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Rebates of Sales and Use Taxes on Manufactured and Mobile Homes Delayed

State appeals court decision awarding attorney fees for non-litigants

February 18, 2002

BATON ROUGE – State sales and use tax rebates to buyers of new and used mobile homes purchased between January 1, 1998 and June 30, 2001 will not be distributed in March as previously scheduled, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges.

The delay is caused by an appeal of a decision by the trial court in the original litigation to award the attorneys a 28 percent fee from the rebates of mobile home buyers who were not a part of the original litigation. “Many mobile home buyers did not retain the services of an attorney, but filed valid claims with the state as individuals,” Bridges points out. She says the Department of Revenue is appealing this award because it believes mobile home buyers who filed valid claims on their own should not have to pay attorney’s fees.

Act 1212 enacted last year by the Louisiana Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mike Foster, authorized the rebates if the mobile home was purchased between January 1, 1998 and June 30, 2001 and the owner could prove payment of sales or use tax. Bridges says only the state portion of the sales and use taxes paid on the purchase are eligible to be rebated. Parish and local sales taxes are not a part of the rebate.

Bridges says claim forms were mailed in October 2001 to all mobile home buyers that state records show may be eligible for the rebate. Purchasers needed only to complete and return the settlement claim form by December 31, 2001 with a copy of the mobile home registration issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles, or some other documentation showing the amount of state sales or use tax paid. Bridges stresses that claimants did not need to retain an attorney to file a rebate claim. “Returning the completed claim form with a copy of the mobile home registration was sufficient to constitute a legal claim against the state,” she says.

Persons with questions about the rebates should call the Mobile Home Claims Unit of the Department of Revenue at (225) 925-4873 or 225-219-2087.