Tax Collector's Attorney's Fee in Excess of Statutory 10% of Tax, Interest, and Penalty?
May 30, 2012
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Nicole F. Gould, M.B.A., J.D.
State and Local Tax Controversy
In Livingston Parish School Board, Through its Sales and Use Tax Division v. Highway 43, LLC, et al, 2012-0103 (La. App. 1st Cir., 5/23/2012) the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal has suggested in dicta that the tax collector’s cause of action for reimbursement of attorney’s fees may be in excess of 10% of the tax, penalty and interest. La. R.S. 47.337.13.1 provides for the tax collector’s reimbursement of attorney’s fees for any collection action of final and due sales taxes in the amount of 10% of the tax, interest and panalty; however, the fees are to be reviewed for reasonableness. The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal stated that,
“We believe that the attorney fees can be higher or lower than ten percent if that would be reasonable in the instant case.”
However, this is only dicta. The appellate court made judgment on other issues we are all well-versed in: the local sales tax collector may proceed in district court for an injuction against the taxpayer’s pursuit of business when the taxes assessed are “due and final”, that any assessed taxes not appealled become “due and final”, and the taxpayer’s failure to file any defense prior to hearing is a bar to asserting any defenses at the hearing. To read the full opinion, click here: http://www.la-fcca.org/opiniongrid/opinionpdf/2012%20CA%200103%20Decision%20Appeal.pdf