Louisiana task force agrees sales tax collections should be centralized 

A study group the Louisiana Legislature created has agreed that the state’s complex sales tax collection system should be centralized, though details still must be hammered out, according to The Center Square. 

“I do believe that we’ve made a pretty healthy start,” says tax attorney Jason DeCuir, who chaired the sales tax centralization study group. “We’ve still got work to do.”

Sales tax collection in Louisiana is highly decentralized, which business advocates say is difficult to navigate.

“Each parish in Louisiana oversees its own sales tax collection, audits, rates and even interpretations of what is taxed,” the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana said in a 2018 report. “No other state has this degree of local independence and control of its sales tax system. Louisiana has an unusually large number of exemptions and exclusions, and state and local governments lack uniformity about what is taxable.”  

But local government officials traditionally have been wary of creating a unified state collector, arguing that local control is the best way to ensure the money is spent according to the wishes of local taxpayers and voters.

The group proposes creating a statewide entity that would oversee state and local sales tax collections and take over the duties of two existing boards focused on internet sales taxes and resolving disputes between taxing entities. Taxpayers would only have to file one return. State and local government would jointly fund its operations. Read the full story.