BSW Tax Blog

Federal and Louisiana Taxes

Monthly Archives: May 2015

Louisiana Sales and Use Tax Consultation

Are You Over or Under Paying?

Louisiana derives 1/3 of its tax revenue from its 4% sales and use tax alone.  Estimates show that an equal amount of tax is avoided through 192 exemptions or exclusions to sales and use tax.  Since the combined state and local rate averages 10%, it is clear that the money involved in sales and use tax can be staggering.   Despite the significant amount of money involved, we find that many of our clients are unable to access sales and use tax expertise to gain affordable advice.  The result is either a surprise hefty tax bill or unclaimed refunds.  Our BSW SALT Team can help.

WHICH BUSINESSES SHOULD CONSIDER A SALES AND USE TAX CONSULTATION?

As a quick test, any business that cannot afford to waste money equal to 10% of expenses or 10% of sales, needs a consultation.  The need for a consultation exists with any business scheduled for a sales and use tax audit.

Businesses selling or leasing tangible personal property (think movable property) must collect the correct sales tax for the correct jurisdiction or else it can be made to pay its customer’s tax out of pocket as a penalty.  Conversely, the same business often enjoys exemptions and exclusions on its own purchases, such as those for raw materials, manufacturing equipment, and purchases for resale.

Business engaged in one of the seven taxable services or leasing movable property must also carefully watch its transactions with customers and venders.  These services can be complicated, but are generally summarized as: rooms for lodging, parking, cold storage, amusements, printing, repair to movables, and laundry.

Businesses selling immovable property, usually contractors, rarely collect any sales tax but must be hyper vigilant in paying sales and use taxes on its purchases to the correct jurisdiction.  Contractors with multi-parish jobsites operating from a centralized storage facility are a particular favorite of local tax auditors these days.

Any business in the following particular industries often receive significant benefit from a consultation:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Nonprofits
  3. Construction
  4. Fabrication
  5. Manufacturing or Farming
  6. Repair services
  7. Any entity with gross sales or expenses over $1M

WHAT ARE THE DELIVERABLES? 

A sales and use tax consultation will deliver training specific to your business based upon its historical transactions and provide peace of mind that your sales and use tax practices are up to snuff.  Some clients have sales personnel join in the consultation along with their payables clerk for greater accuracy in project cost and sales price estimates.

Through sampling methods and then drilling down to individual transactions, Mrs. Gould can identify audit risks, possible exemptions, overpayments, or reporting errors.  Mrs. Gould will provide recommendations at the conclusion of the consultation which may warrant a full reverse audit.  If you are entitled to a refund, you are free to handle it yourself or retain Mrs. Gould and our BSW SALT Team at an hourly or contingency fee for recovery.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS?

The consultation fee is equal to 0.2% of your 3-year IRS Form 1040 gross sales average.  Mrs. Gould will review your basic financial statements, tax returns and the nature of your business before conducting an onsite visit to review specific transactions.  During the onsite visit, valuable sales and use tax training occurs as part of her transaction investigation with your payables clerk.  At the conclusion of the visit, Mrs. Gould will deliver a confidential written report identifying areas of reporting error and potential exemptions and overpayments that may generate a refund or future tax savings.  Every consultation has delivered bottom-line results that have surprised our clients.

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