Lafayette_Tax_RatesCongressional legislation aimed at sales tax collections for online shopping has prompted lengthy discussions recently over just how much states are losing to online retailers. In Louisiana, the staggering losses are in the neighborhood of $352 million for this year alone.

For shoppers looking to save a few bucks, online buying often means avoiding both the local and state sales taxes one would pay if purchases were made at a cash register. In the city limits of Lafayette, Duson, Carencro, Scott and Broussard, the local sales tax rate is 4 percent, combined with the state’s 4 percent sales tax for a total of 8 percent, according to the Lafayette Economic Development Authority’s website. In Youngsville, shoppers pay an 8.5 percent sales tax, while a number of economic development districts (aka TIFs) throughout the parish garner higher sales tax rates as shown in the accompanying chart provided by the Louisiana Association of Tax Administrators.

According to The Daily Iberian, a study authored by University of Tennessee professor and economist Donald Bruce predicts 25 percent of Louisiana’s $1.3 billion in sales tax collections won’t make it to the state’s coffers, also pointing out that the state’s “self-reporting” sales tax law asking consumers to track their own online purchases generated only $1.3 million in collections during the last fiscal year:

But evading sales tax is not so easy as shopping online. Many cyberspace retailers charge the tax at the transaction, but it varies from retailer to retailer. Walmart charges the local area’s standard [sales tax rate] as does Barnes and Noble. Both Target and Sports Authority charge around 4 percent. Meanwhile, on Ebay some sellers charge tax, others do not. One Florida retailer charged based on his state sales tax. And Amazon, the largest online retailer, according to the Los Angeles Times, charges sales tax only for five states. Louisiana is not one of them.

Bruce said the problem is that enforcement on these taxes is “basically nil.” He mentioned that Louisiana and other states put a line on the income tax form where citizens may voluntarily list purchases where they paid no sales tax.

According to The Advocate, the Marketplace Fairness Act making its way through both the U.S. House and Senate would give states more autonomy in pursuing sales tax collections on out-of-state businesses, more specifically on Internet companies. A similar measure was proposed in the Louisiana Legislature this year but failed, The Advocate reports:

State Rep. Rosalind Jones, D-Monroe, attempted to get at taxes through affiliates’ Louisiana addresses by authoring legislation earlier this year that would have expanded the definition of merchants responsible for collecting Louisiana’s sales and use tax. Jones’ House Bill 641 would have included in that definition Internet companies with a physical presence in the state or who work through an independent contractor in the state.

[Gov. Bobby] Jindal opposed the legislation, which failed to clear the state Senate.

Jindal said he consistently opposes burdening Louisiana families with additional taxes.

Read more here and here.

To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.

Loading
Chart
ABiz Stock Watch
o Home Bancorp 22.86 ▼0.03 (-0.13%)
o Frank's International 17.05 ▼0.42 (-2.40%)
o IberiaBank Corp 63.96 ▼0.10 (-0.15%)
o LHC Group 23.53 ▲0.17 (0.73%)
o MidSouth Bancorp 18.81 ▼0.12 (-0.63%)
o Petroquest Energy 4.39 ▼0.08 (-1.79%)
o PHI Inc. 40.04 ▼0.17 (-0.42%)
o Superior Energy 25.16 ▼0.55 (-2.14%)
o Stone Energy 24.53 ▼0.71 (-2.81%)
o Facebook Inc. 79.69 ▼0.35 (-0.44%)
o Twitter Inc. 49.50 ▼0.17 (-0.34%)
o Gannett 31.02 ▼0.22 (-0.70%)
NYSE:HBCP

Home Bancorp

Company ID [NYSE:HBCP] Last trade:22.86 Trade time:9:48AM EDT Value change:▼0.03 (-0.13%)
NYSE:FI

Frank's International

Company ID [NYSE:FI] Last trade:17.05 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.42 (-2.40%)
NYSE:IBKC

IberiaBank Corp

Company ID [NYSE:IBKC] Last trade:63.96 Trade time:10:35AM EDT Value change:▼0.10 (-0.15%)
NYSE:LHCG

LHC Group

Company ID [NYSE:LHCG] Last trade:23.53 Trade time:10:36AM EDT Value change:▲0.17 (0.73%)
NYSE:MSL

MidSouth Bancorp

Company ID [NYSE:MSL] Last trade:18.81 Trade time:10:23AM EDT Value change:▼0.12 (-0.63%)
NYSE:PQ

Petroquest Energy

Company ID [NYSE:PQ] Last trade:4.39 Trade time:10:38AM EDT Value change:▼0.08 (-1.79%)
NYSE:PHII

PHI Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:PHII] Last trade:40.04 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▼0.17 (-0.42%)
NYSE:SPN

Superior Energy

Company ID [NYSE:SPN] Last trade:25.16 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.55 (-2.14%)
NYSE:SGY

Stone Energy

Company ID [NYSE:SGY] Last trade:24.53 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.71 (-2.81%)
NYSE:FB

Facebook Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:FB] Last trade:79.69 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.35 (-0.44%)
NYSE:TWTR

Twitter Inc.

Company ID [NYSE:TWTR] Last trade:49.50 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.17 (-0.34%)
NYSE:GCI

Gannett

Company ID [NYSE:GCI] Last trade:31.02 Trade time:10:41AM EDT Value change:▼0.22 (-0.70%)
Advertisement

Economic Indicators

  • Real Estate Data
    Real Estate
     
    Rentals
     
    Commercial
     
     
  • Energy Data
    Oil
     
    Gas
     
     
  • Taxable Sales
    Register
     
  • Unemployment Rate
    Employment
     
 

Read the Flipping Paper!

Click Here for the Entire Print Version of
ABiz
 
Advertisement
Advertisement