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News Releases

Protect yourself from filing-season tax scams...Continue Reading

 

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to protect themselves from tax scams that can drain their bank accounts, damage their credit ratings and even get them into trouble with the law.

 

“Tax scams are a growing problem,” Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Lewis Robinson said. “Be especially careful during filing season, when scammers are more active.”

 

The most prevalent scams this year include:

 

Preparer Fraud

 

Although most tax preparers provide excellent service, unscrupulous preparers will often promise inflated refunds, then on behalf of clients file returns that understate taxable income, exaggerate business or personal losses, or claim improper tax credits and deductions.

 

Taxpayers are responsible financially and legally for all information submitted on their tax returns, whether they prepare the returns themselves or pay someone to do it.

 

Tips to protect yourself:

 

·         Never sign a blank return

·         Review and ask questions before signing a return

·         Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns

·         Use a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed

 

Phone Scams

 

Criminals impersonating LDR or IRS agents will call individuals or businesses demanding immediate payment of an alleged tax debt.

 

Louisiana Department of Revenue agents will never make initial contact by phone to demand payment of a tax debt. Contact with delinquent taxpayers is always initiated through the mail with a letter that explains in detail what is owed and provides contact information for the department.

 

Phishing

 

Phishing often involves unsolicited emails with links to websites that pose as legitimate sites, but exist only to capture personal financial information such as Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers.

 

Be careful about clicking links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails. If you want to verify that an email is legitimate, don’t call phone numbers provided in the email; look the numbers up yourself.

 

Identity Theft

 

Identity Theft often involves use of a stolen Social Security number or taxpayer identification number to file phony tax returns and claim fraudulent refunds. In addition to tax fraud, identity thieves can drain your bank account, open credit accounts in your name or even use your health insurance to get medical treatment.

 

To help protect yourself against identity theft, always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords. Protect personal information for yourself and your dependents. Don’t risk exposing your Social Security card by carrying it with you. Ensure your physical and electronic tax records are secure. Use two-factor authentication on your accounts as an added measure of security.

 

**

 

If you suspect tax fraud, or if you have been a victim of identity theft, contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Division at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/TaxFraud.

 

 

Louisiana state income tax filing begins Monday, Jan. 28...Continue Reading

 

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue will begin accepting 2018 state individual income tax returns on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. The date coincides with the date the IRS begins accepting 2018 federal income tax returns.

 

On Jan. 28, Louisiana taxpayers can begin filing their state income tax returns electronically through Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual tax filers. Through Louisiana File Online, at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/FileOnline, taxpayers can:

 

  • File returns and pay taxes electronically
  • Check the status of individual income tax refunds
  • Amend current and prior-year tax returns
  • Request a filing extension

 

Also on Jan. 28, taxpayers can begin submitting returns to the state through commercially available tax preparation software; or they can download paper tax forms from the LDR website at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/Forms. Updated printed forms will not be available before Jan. 28.

 

LDR has implemented enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana taxpayers from identity theft and other types of tax fraud. If returns do not trigger any fraud indicators, taxpayers can expect their tax refunds within 45 days of the filing date if they file electronically, and within 14 weeks if they file paper returns.

 

Taxpayers can minimize delays in receiving their refunds by updating their contact information with LDR, including name, address and telephone number. If you have moved or changed your name since your last tax filing, update your contact information at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/AddressChange.

 

2018 Louisiana Individual Income Tax returns are due May 15, 2019.

 

 

Tips for Taxpayers

 

Steps to Insure Fast, Accurate Return & Refund Processing

 

  • File electronically – The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 45 days; for paper returns, expect to wait up to 14 weeks.
  • Taxpayers should update personal information if their name or address changed during the tax year.
  • Double-check return information – Ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct; math errors and incorrect tax-table information are leading causes of delayed refunds.
  • Include all supporting information such as W-2s; use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return.
  • Apply for extensions in a timely manner – Extension requests must be filed no later than the May 15 income tax filing deadline.
  • Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue; do not send cash.
  • If filing a paper return, attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

 

Tips for Choosing a Reputable Tax Preparer

 

  • Try to find a preparer who will be around to answer questions after the return has been filed.
  • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund or who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers without first reviewing your returns.
  • Review and ask questions before signing a return.
  • Ask others that you know who have used that preparer if they were satisfied with the services that they received.
  • Ask any preparer that you are considering for references.
  • Ask and verify if the preparer belongs to a professional organization that requires its members to pursue continuing education and also holds them accountable to a code of ethics.
  • Always question entries on your return that you don’t understand.
  • Never sign a blank return.
  • Insist that the preparer sign as the paid preparer of the return and provide his/her appropriate information on the return.
  • The preparer should meet with the taxpayer and go over the return before it is filed.
  • Taxpayers should be provided a copy of their return before it is filed.
  • Pay attention to media reports of persons who have been convicted of tax fraud.
  • Taxpayers should be aware that the information that they provide to their preparer could be used to commit identity theft by an unscrupulous preparer.

 

 

Special events vendors encouraged to register as sales tax users at Department of Revenue’s New Orleans office...Continue Reading

 

NEW ORLEANS – Prospective vendors at special events in Louisiana, such as next month’s Voodoo Fest, are encouraged to register as soon as possible to collect and remit sales taxes to the state.

 

The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) requires all individuals and entities making retail sales within the state to collect and remit sales tax, even if selling only one time per year at special events such as festivals, fairs, concerts and craft shows. Failure to collect and remit sales taxes can result in late filing and payment penalties, along with interest.

 

In New Orleans, special events vendors can register as sales tax users at the LDR New Orleans regional office in Benson Towers, 1450 Poydras, Suite 800. The office is open for walk-in customer service Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Services include:

 

·         Special event registrations

·         Filing and paying business taxes

·         Submitting completed state Individual Income Tax returns (staff cannot assist with the completion of IIT returns)

·         Boat registrations

·         ATC/video poker/lottery/driver’s license/Wildlife & Fisheries tax clearances

·         Payment plans

·         Resolving bank levies and wage garnishments

 

If you can’t make it to the LDR New Orleans regional office, you can register as a sales tax user online at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/LaTAP.

 

For more information, contact Special.Events@la.gov.  

 

 

Filing Dates

02/22 Friday
Supplier/Permissive Supplier
02/28 Thursday
Terminal Operator Annual
03/15 Friday
Alcoholic Beverage Tax
03/20 Wednesday
Sales and Use Tax
Prepaid Wireless Telecommunications 911 Service Charge
Hotel Occupancy Tax
Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority Food and Beverage Tax
Beer Tax
Tobacco Tax
Terminal Operator Monthly

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