RS 47:337.23     

§337.23. Uniform electronic local return and remittance system; official record of tax rates and exemptions; filing and remittance of local sales and use taxes; penalties for violations

            A.(1) The legislature recognizes both the need to make Louisiana a better environment in which to do business and the complexities of the existing sales and use tax system. It is the intention of this Section to provide taxpayers with a simple, efficient, and cost-effective means of transmitting accurate sales and use tax returns and remittances to political subdivisions of the state from a central site in the quickest manner possible.

            (2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, beginning on the date provided for in Subsection H of this Section, but no later than January 1, 2005, a taxpayer may file a sales and use tax return of a taxing authority and remit any tax, interest, penalty, or other charge due by means of the uniform electronic local return and remittance system provided for in this Section unless insufficient funds are appropriated to fund the system as provided for in Subsection J of this Section.

            B.(1) The system by which such taxpayers file electronically and pay their taxes and by which the information provided for in Subsection I is to be posted on the internet shall be established, managed, and supervised by the secretary of the Department of Revenue. The Uniform Electronic Local Return and Remittance Advisory Committee shall provide advice and may make enforceable recommendations to the secretary for his consideration with regard to the design, implementation, and operation of the system in the manner provided for by this Section. The advisory committee is hereby created within the Department of Revenue and shall be composed of the following members:

            (a) The secretary of the Department of Revenue or his designee.

            (b) The chairman of the Louisiana Uniform Local Sales Tax Board, or in the absence of the chairman, the vice chairman of the board, who shall serve as chair of the advisory committee.

            (c) A member appointed by the governor from a list of three names provided to him by the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants, to serve at the pleasure of the governor.

            (d) The head of a collector's office, appointed by the Louisiana Uniform Local Sales Tax Board from a list of three names provided by the board of directors of the Louisiana Association of Tax Administrators, to serve for a three-year term.

            (e) A representative of a business that is required to file sales and use tax returns for multiple collectors in the state, who shall be appointed by the governor from a list of three names provided to him jointly by the Louisiana Retailers Association and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. The member shall serve at the pleasure of the governor.

            (2) Each appointment by the governor shall be submitted to the Senate for confirmation. All vacancies shall be filled in the same manner that is provided for the original member.

            (3) The members of the advisory committee shall serve without additional compensation except for their reasonable and necessary expenses related to the performance of their duties as members of the committee, and then only in such amounts as is provided by law for state employees.

            (4) Meetings shall be called by the chair at a time and place to be selected by the chair, or at a time and place provided for upon the written request of three members. Four members of the advisory committee shall be considered a quorum and the committee may make official recommendations and take other official action upon the affirmative vote of four members.

            (5)(a) If at any time the advisory committee believes the secretary has taken action contrary to the advice or recommendation of the committee, it may make a written request to the secretary specifying the advice or recommendation, the action which the committee believes the secretary has taken, and asking him to provide written reasons for such action. The secretary shall provide a written answer to the chairman of the committee within fifteen days or such longer time as the committee shall allow.

            (b) If, after receiving and considering the written answer of the secretary, the committee believes it unsatisfactory, the committee may make a written request to the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs and the House Committee on Ways and Means specifying the recommendation and asking the committees to make it an enforceable recommendation.

            (c)(i) The request of the advisory committee shall be considered as a proposed rule or regulation of the Department of Revenue and shall be subjected to the same oversight procedure as is set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act for such rules and regulations, except for the need for publication.

            (ii) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, if the oversight procedure under the Administrative Procedure Act results in approval of the advisory committee's request to make its recommendation an enforceable recommendation, then the advisory committee's recommendation shall be followed by the secretary.

            C. The uniform electronic local return and remittance system and the posting of the information required by Subsection I of this Section shall be established, managed, and supervised by the secretary with the advice of the advisory committee and the system shall include the following:

            (1)(a) The system shall allow the taxpayer to file a sales and use tax return that is uniform for each taxing authority except for the following:

            (i) The rate of the taxing authority's tax.

            (ii) The vendor's compensation allowed.

            (iii) Optional exclusions or exemptions allowed by state sales and use tax law, adopted by the local ordinance pursuant to such state law.

            (iv) Exclusions and exemptions in the local ordinance which were adopted prior to July 1, 2003, pursuant to state law authorizing such adoption, but not allowed as an exclusion or exemption from state sales and use tax.

            (v) Exclusions and exemptions adopted by local ordinance pursuant to legislation enacted under Article VI, Section 29(D)(1) of the Constitution of Louisiana, but not allowed as an exclusion or exemption from state sales and use tax.

            (vi) Penalty, interest, or attorney fees due on the sales and use tax. The amount of such penalty, interest, and attorney fees, shall be limited as provided by law, including relevant jurisprudence, until such statute or jurisprudence is changed.

            (b) The filing and remittance shall be done at no charge to the taxpayer by the state, the collector, or any taxing authority levying a tax.

            (2) A web page through which a secured electronic local sales and use tax return may be filed, which return shall be established by the Department of Revenue.

            (3) A system to allow for the remittance of any tax, penalty, interest, or other amounts due.

            (4) A system for the transmission and retrieval of the appropriate collector's data and funds to him.

            D.(1) Each collector shall provide to the secretary and the advisory committee within ninety days of its written request, or such other time as may be allowed by the advisory committee, the information necessary to design and implement the system provided for in this Section. Each collector shall follow the data validation procedures established by the advisory committee. If the collector fails or refuses to timely provide such information, the secretary and the advisory committee shall design and implement the system from the best information available to them.

            (2) Each collector shall provide written notification to the secretary and the advisory committee by certified mail, return receipt requested, of any change in the information provided to it pursuant to Subparagraph (C)(1)(a) thirty days prior to such changes becoming effective, or such other shorter time as may be allowed by the advisory committee. Each collector shall follow the data validation procedures established by the advisory committee.

            E. A taxpayer may rely on the information on the uniform electronic local return and remittance system and such reliance shall be an absolute defense against any claim for a taxing authority's sales and use tax.

            F.(1) It shall be the duty of the state through the Department of Revenue, with the advice of the advisory committee, to design, implement, and operate the system required by this Section and to provide the staff and equipment necessary to receive and transmit to the collectors the electronic returns and funds.

            (2)(a) It shall be the duty of the collector of each parish to provide and make available the appropriate staff, equipment, and information necessary for the receipt and transmission of electronic returns and funds. The Department of Revenue shall not be responsible for any loss of revenue attributable to the failure of a collector to comply with the provisions of this Paragraph.

            (b) The advisory committee may determine alternate distribution methods and the appropriate fees to be charged for such methods when a collector fails to comply with the provisions of this Paragraph. The amount of the fee shall not exceed the cost of the alternate distribution method.

            G.(1) It is the intention of this Section only to provide to taxpayers a simple, efficient, and cost-effective means of transmitting accurate tax returns and taxes to taxing authorities of the state from a central site in the quickest manner possible. This Section shall not be construed to grant to the advisory committee or the Department of Revenue any authority to collect or administer such taxes. In addition, any funds transmitted through the system as provided for in this Section shall be considered the funds of the taxing authorities to be distributed by the collector in the manner provided by local ordinances and shall not in any way be considered state funds.

            (2) The advisory committee shall provide a method for all questions related to the application and interpretation of the sales and use tax law of a particular taxing authority received by the committee or the Department of Revenue to be forwarded to the appropriate collector for response.

            H.(1) The uniform electronic local return and remittance system provided in this Section shall become operative on a date that the advisory committee determines such system is ready, but no later than January 1, 2005.

            (2) However, the system shall not become operative until all of the following occurs:

            (a) Notice is provided to each collector of the date upon which the system is to be operative and the date of the public meeting provided for in Subparagraph (2)(b).

            (b) After the notice is provided as required by Subparagraph (2)(a), but in no case less than thirty days before the date the system becomes operative, the advisory committee shall hold a public hearing to receive comments on the system.

            I.(1)(a) In addition to the uniform electronic local return and remittance system provided for in this Section, a link shall be created on the Department of Revenue's web site to a web page where the following information provided by the collectors shall be posted:

            (i) A list of tax rates.

            (ii) A list of the optional exemptions enacted by a tax authority as provided for in R.S. 47:337.10.

            (b) The secretary and the advisory committee shall be notified of any changes in such information as provided for in Subsection D of this Section. Each collector shall follow the data validation procedures established by the advisory committee.

            (2) The tax rates and optional exemptions posted on the web page as provided for in this Section shall be considered an official record of such tax rates and optional exemptions and any court, whether requested to do so or not, shall take judicial notice thereof. A taxpayer may rely on the optional exemptions and tax rates posted on the web page and such reliance shall be an absolute defense against any claim for a taxing authority's sales and use tax.

            J. If the secretary of the Department of Revenue and the commissioner of administration certify to the advisory committee that there was not a separate line item in the general appropriations bill appropriating funds to the Department of Revenue for the design, implementation, and operation of the system provided for in this Section for the fiscal year, or that insufficient funds were appropriated in such line item, then such electronic filing and remittance shall not be available to taxpayers from the first of the month following such certification and the secretary may take such steps as he deems necessary to prevent access to the system until the secretary and the commissioner certify that such funds have been appropriated in a separate line item.

            K.(1) Beginning January 1, 2015, the collector for each taxing authority may require the electronic filing and remittance of local sales and use tax by any taxpayer required to electronically file or electronically remit state sales and use tax by the Department of Revenue. If the local collector for a taxing authority chooses the option of requiring the electronic filing and remittance of local sales and use tax returns in accordance with the provisions of this Subsection, then all taxpayers required to collect and remit sales or use tax on taxable events occurring within the jurisdiction of the taxing authority who are required by the Department of Revenue to electronically file and remit such taxes shall file all applicable sales and use tax returns and remittances through the electronic filing options available for such purposes; however, in cases where the taxpayer can show cause that the electronic filing of a return and remittance would create an undue hardship on the taxpayer, the collector for the taxing authority may exempt the taxpayer from the requirements of this Subsection.

            (2) Failure of a taxpayer to comply with the electronic filing requirements set forth in this Subsection shall result in the collector for the taxing authority assessing a penalty of one hundred dollars or five percent of the tax owed on the return, whichever is greater; however, the total penalty per return shall not exceed five thousand dollars. The local collector for the taxing authority may waive remittance and payment of the penalty in whole or in part if the local collector determines that the failure to comply by the taxpayer was reasonable and was attributable, not to any negligence on the part of the taxpayer, but for a cause which is submitted to the local collector in writing.

            Acts 2003, No. 73, §1, eff. July 1, 2003; Acts 2014, No. 536, §1; Acts 2017, No. 274, §2, eff. June 16, 2017.