Calcasieu Parish School Board Sales and Use Tax Department
Representing Lake Charles, Sulphur, DeQuincy, Westlake, Iowa, Vinton,
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Calcasieu Parish LED Dist. 1,
Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau

CALCASIEU TAX REVIEW

       Volume 15 Issue 2           December 2003

 

Uniform Local Sales Tax Code

Taxing authorities and taxpayers alike have long desired some form of uniformity in the administration of local sales and use tax ordinances.  With the passage of Act 73 of the 2003 Legislative Session, we now have a uniform local sales tax code that provides for the levy, collection, enforcement and administration of local sales and use taxes.

The code is found under Title 74 of the LA Revised Statutes in Sections 337.1 through 337.87.  This new law was effective July 1, 2003.  Persons and organizations responsible for this major action are currently working on uniform regulations and administrative procedures that will be patterned after those currently utilized by the Stateís Department of Revenue. 

The UTC (Uniform Local Sales Tax Code) was designed not to increase nor decrease existing local taxes applicable to taxpayers and taxing authorities alike.  Any noted discrepancies will be submitted to the appropriate officials for corrective or remedial action.

 

Court Decision Restores Penalties

The Louisiana Supreme Court rendered its decision on October 21, 2003 in a case that may be cited as Anthony Crane Rental, L.P. vs Rufus Fruge, Jr., Director of Calcasieu Parish Sales Tax Dept., 03-C-0115 that reinstated localís authority to impose penalties and collect attorney fees in connection with delinquent taxes and litigation required to enforce the collection thereof.

Due to an earlier ruling, the stateís highest court had declared that the assessment of delinquent interest and penalties could not exceed fifteen percent per annum nor did any authority exist that would allow for the collection of attorney fees unlike the Stateís Department of Revenue.  The Supreme Court in this most recent decision

overturned themselves on both issues concluding that after considering LA R.S. 33:2841 and R.S. 33:2746 and legislative history of the statues, local authorities were authorized to impose interest, penalties and 10% attorney fees.  The parish tax office has incorporated the results of this latest ruling in all current outstanding issues.

 

Computation of Penalties and Interest under the UTC

Through the passage of the Uniform Local Sales Tax Code, interest and penalty computations were affected.

      Interest in delinquent sales or use tax will be calculated from the 1st of the month if not timely remitted, when due, until paid. 

This methodology calls for daily computation. Penalties are also imposed upon taxes not timely remitted (by the 20th) in 30-day segments.  The initial 5% delinquency will not increase to 10% until the 21st of the following month.  Under the previous method, the rate of penalty would increase to 10% on the 1st of the following month.

 

             Why the New Look?

Today in most  industries, technology facilitates other events.  In the case of the Sales Tax Dept, we are no different. The installation of a scanning system and collection system are the primary reasons for the revisions being made to the tax return.  The eventual product was designed to help enhance the performance of our scanning process and data entry.

      In giving the return a new look, certain features were removed and as a result, dealers should make note.  Key features missing are the return period for which the return is filed and the asterisk that was usually found in the column(s) of registration.  It is recommended that dealers always insert the appropriate business name, return period and account number anytime it is not provided on the return being used.  Moreove, added caution should also be excised in choosing the correct column(s) for reporting any and all taxes due.

 

Filing Frequencies 

Shortly after moving to our new office location at 2439 6th Street, dealers were cautioned to look forward to an advisory announcing a policy change regarding filing frequencies.  In September 2003 the departmentís policy was changed from offering five (5) filing alternatives  of Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annual, Annual and Occasional to three (3).  Accepted filing frequencies are Monthly, Quarterly and Occasional.  The announcement was made via letter to every dealer registered as an Annual or Semi Annual filer.

Usually, with respect to policy changes, some problems do arise initially.  Naturally, this change was no exception.  What appears to be the biggest problem is an inconsistency in application upgrades.  For example, applications are available at a number of sources that may still have all five filing frequencies as a choice.  This was anticipated to be a minor problem until supplies were exhausted and until websites were upgraded.

Although dealers were reassigned to an Occasional filing status, a choice between the three frequencies is an option.  For dealer convenience, we hope to get web information and other application sources in line with this policy as soon as possible.

 

OFFICE HOLIDAYS

For all businesses needing clearances, please be aware of our office closure. We will be closed Monday, December 22nd and reopen Monday, January 5th of the new year.

 

REMINDER All returns are due on the 1st day of the month following the covered period and become delinquent after the 20th.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

AND

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

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