BSW Tax Blog

Federal and Louisiana Taxes

Monthly Archives: May 2014

How To Preserve Your Flex Fuel Vehicle Income Tax Claim

A taxpayer who purchased a new FFV between 2010 and July 1, 2013, may claim the La. alternative fuel vehicle income tax credit (10% of the purchase price up to $3,000) through an amended Louisiana income tax return.   The right to claim a refund for income tax year 2010 will prescribe on December 31, 2014, 2011 in 2015, and so on.

When LDR denies the refund claim (or disallows the credit taken), the taxpayer should promptly file a petition for review with the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals, as the right to do so prescribes in 60 days from the denial. The petition is very simple and should not have a filing fee. You can see the instructions for filing same at the Board’s website. Taxpayers may be represented at the BTA by a lawyer, a CPA or by themselves.  Because the FFV tax credit issue is still working its way through appeal, the newly filed BTA appeals should simply sit and wait.

If a taxpayer failed to appeal the LDR appeal timely, s/he may still file a claim against the state with the Board of Tax Appeals, which has the same prescriptive period as claiming the refund itself.  For example, a person making a 2012 claim for the FFV credit for a 2010 FFV purchase was more than likely denied in March 2013.  If it wasn’t appealed within 60 days, the taxpayer cannot appeal the denial now but must instead file a claim against the state for the credit.  The Board has provided instructions for this on it website as well.  The biggest difference between this action and one appealing a refund denial is that a refund will be promptly paid by LDR but a claim against the state must be paid by way of appropriation by the legislature.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us.  While some taxpayers have the time and ability to handle such a matter on their own, we are presently representing a group of clients who prefer to have representation through the process.

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Louisiana Flex Fuel Credit Allowed at Board of Tax Appeals

On May 14, 2014, the Board of Tax Appeals granted the first flex fuel credit in that matter Bolotte v. LDR, BTA #8007. The decision essentially states that because LDR interpreted La. R.S. 47:6035 as including flex fuel vehicles and that law did not change until July 2013, which was to specifically remove the flex fuel vehicle from qualifying, the credit must be allowed until the July 2013 amendement. One of the 3 board members dissented on the grounds that he does not think the flex fuel vehicle ever qualified for the credit and his opinion generally includes a concern about the overall cost of the credit to the state.

It is certain that the state will appeal.

Should the matter be fully resolved in favor of the taxpayers, those individuals with pending claims will be entitled to their refund.  For those persons that purchases a flex fuel vehicle from 2010 through July 2013, your right to amend your tax return to claim the credit is still available.  LDR will deny it and you would have to appeal within 60 days of the denial in order to preserve your rights.  If you have already claimed your credit and did not appeal the denial, you may file a claim against the state.  Louisiana income tax year 2010 will close on December 31, 2014.

 

Filing A Sales Tax Refund Does Not Interrupt Prescription For Unpaid Taxes

The right to collect unpaid taxes prescribes on December 31, three years from the year the tax was due. La. Const. art. VII, sec. 16. Likewise a taxpayer’s right to claim a refund for taxes paid expires on December 31 three years from the year the taxes were remitted. R.S. 47:337.79. For example, both the right to collect, or obtain a refund of, 2009 sales taxes would prescribe December 31, 2012.

 

The filing of a refund claim before the December 31 prescriptive date, interrupts the running of prescription as to the refund. The Louisiana Third Circuit held the filing of the claim did not, however, interrupt or suspend prescription for the purposes of collecting unpaid taxes. Cajun Industries, LLC v. Vermilion Parish School Board, Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit, No. 14-22, May 14, 2014.

 

In Cajun, the taxpayer filed a refund claim for sales taxes in December 2010 for the tax periods 2007, 2009 and 2010. It filed second refund claim in 2011 for the tax periods 2010 – 2011. The collector denied most of the refund claim and the taxpayer appealed the denial in district court in May 2013.

 

In response to the taxpayer’s suit, the collector asserted that it had the right to offset any unpaid taxes against the refund and asked that it be allowed to audit the taxpayer to see if, in fact, there were any unpaid taxes for the years 2007 – 2011. The Third Circuit affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the taxpayer’s refund claim did not interrupt the running of prescription as to the collector’s right to collect taxes. The filing of a suit did, however, interrupt the running of such prescription pursuant to R.S.47:337.67. Accordingly at the time the suit was filed May 2013, any right to collect unpaid taxes for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 had already prescribed while the 2010 and 2011 tax periods were still open.

 

While this holding will affect taxpayers with pending refund claims, its effect may be short lived since there is a bill pending in the Legislature, which would amend the law such that the filing of a refund claim would suspend the running of prescription. See H.B. 863, pg. 11. H.B. 863 is scheduled for floor debate on May 21, 2014.