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Louisiana Sales Tax Guide

By Cristina Garza

🎵 🥳 Louisiana, the Bayou state, is the 25th most populous state in the union and home to America’s original party city, New Orleans. While Mardi Gras may be one massive party, the complexity of Sales Tax in Louisiana can be a real buzzkill. Despite that, many small businesses thrive out of this low lying state that brings the funk! If you’re one of the many small business owners proud to call Louisiana home, you’ll need to comply with Louisiana's State and Parish sales tax laws to keep the party going. No worries! We have assembled this all-in-one guide for sales tax so that you can meet the sales tax compliance requirements for a small business in Louisiana. 


After reading this guide, you will have learned:

  • How to be prepared for your call with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
  • How to contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
  • When to charge sales tax in Louisiana.
  • What goods, products, and services are taxable in Louisiana.
  • When you establish a sales tax nexus with the state of Louisiana, and the nuances of various thresholds.
  • How to register for a sales tax license in Louisiana.
  • How to collect sales tax in Louisiana.
  • How to file and pay sales tax in Louisiana.

If, after reading, you still have any questions to help you determine your tax sales obligations in Louisiana and how to fulfill them, we are here for your small business bookkeeping needs! 

 

 

Louisiana Sales Tax Contacts

Louisiana Sales Tax Contacts

âś…  Do you need to get in touch with the Louisiana Department of Revenue?

âś…  Are you uncertain about whether to visit, call them, or contact them through their website?  

âś… Do you wonder what information you should have ready before you contact them?

 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please read onward, as we have just the information you need! :)

The Louisiana Department of Revenue is reachable by phone at (855) 307-3893. 

 

You can also shoot a message to them via their website, or you may visit one of their two physical locations. If you are hoping for the fastest response, we always suggest you call rather than send a message or visit in person. 

When you do call the Louisiana Department of Revenue, you will want to have some information on hand. It will save time to have the following information easily accessible before you call: 

  • Taxpayer Name
  • EIN
  • Sales & Use Tax ID Number

If you are calling on behalf of an individual or a business, or having a third party call on your behalf, you must have a Louisiana Power of Attorney (form  R-7006, PDF) signed before you call or else you will be wasting your time; they can only help if you have a completed form. 

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us so we can assist you with your sales tax needs.

 

 

Louisiana Sales Tax Registration

Louisiana Sales Tax Registration

Are you a new business selling tangible property in Louisiana? If yes, you are going to want to register your business with the Louisiana Department of Revenue so that you can pay your sales tax on time. 

You need not fret as this is a relatively simple process and one for which you’re about to be fully prepared. We are going to outline the steps below so you are totally ready to register for your sales tax license.

 

Here we go! Remember...

Preparation is key. 

Let’s get started!

 

 

How do I register to collect sales tax in Louisiana?

You can apply or register for a Louisiana state sales tax permit by visiting the Louisiana Secretary of State 'geauxBiz' website (you have our assurances, despite the awkward name, it’s legit) and following the instructions provided.

Louisiana also has an old school paper based form (PDF) you can print and mail in, but this is going to be a slower setup and with greater possibility for errors. We don’t recommend it, but wanted to make the option available in case it suits the needs of someone out there. 

Additionally, you will need to register with whatever local parish the business operates in. You can do so online at the Parish E-file website or by paper (PDF) (guess which we suggest!).

 

 

What information do I need to register for a Louisiana sales tax permit?

Fabulous question!

Before you sign up for Louisiana sales tax permit you’ll want the following information on hand:

  • Business name
  • Business entity type 
  • Description of business activities
  • Date business activities began or will begin
  • Business address and mailing address
  • Business contact information
  • Associated business entities 
  • NAICS code that best matches the business
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

Don’t forget! Preparation is key. When you have all this information ready, you can go online and register for your permit at the Louisiana DOR geauxBiz website. 

 

 

How much does it cost to register for a Louisiana sales tax permit?

Our favorite answer to give: The price for a sales tax permit in Louisiana is zero! :) No price better than free, we say!

 

 

Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number or EIN to register for a Louisiana sales tax permit?

As it happens, yes! You will definitely need one, but if you don’t already have one and need to get a new EIN, it’s a painless process. You can register for a Federal EIN right here :). 

 

Which agencies in Louisiana do I need to additionally register with?

You may need to apply to some of the following agencies: 

You’ll want to give this some thought and do a little research or investigating; every business is unique and, as such, there are different rules, regulations, and laws that may apply. 

We suggest contacting the Louisiana Department of Revenue to verify which additional government agencies you may be required to register with. 

 

 

*****

 

Huzzah!!!

You are now prepared to register for your Louisiana sales tax permit in Louisiana. 

Let’s summarize what we have covered:  

  • Have all the required information easily accessible before registering online.
  • Acquire a tax ID or EIN before registering for a Louisiana sales tax permit.
  • Register online at the Louisiana 'geauxBiz' site as well as with the LATA website.
  • Look into what other agencies you may have to additionally register with.

Registering for your Louisiana sales tax permit will be stress free as long as you are prepared. We recommend organizing all the essential information in a folder, preferably using a system like Box.com or Dropbox (something we’re happy to handle for our customers). 

 

 

Louisiana Sales Tax FAQ

Louisiana Sales Tax FAQ 

By now, you may have already contacted the Louisiana Department of Revenue and applied for a Louisiana sales tax permit. 

Once you have a license to collect and remit sales taxes in Louisiana, you will probably be asking yourself two questions: 

  • When do I charge a sales tax in Louisiana?
  • What goods and services are subject to sales taxes in Louisiana? 

We are going to go over some common questions that our clients have asked. We believe these questions will help you appreciate the nuances of taxable goods so you can be confident in fulfilling your tax obligations. 

Let’s start with the first question…

 

 

What goods and services are considered taxable in Louisiana?

The following items are all taxable in the state of Louisiana: 

  • Sales of tangible goods at retail.
  • Repairs or alterations of tangible personal property.
  • Property rentals, leases, or licenses [e.g. commercial, mini-warehouse]
  • Selling service warranty contracts.
  • Short-term rentals for living accommodations (e.g. motel/hotel, beach houses, condos, timeshares, vacation homes, or RV homes).
  • Charges for admission to any place of amusement, sport, or recreation.
  • Manufacturing or producing goods for retail sales.
  • Operating vending machines or amusement rides.
  • Services are mostly exempted

The complexity of which items are taxable and at what rate is too much for us to lay out in this article. The Louisiana DOR provides this document (PDF) which has tables full of specific details.

 

The bottom line is …

Your business must pay taxes on sales of any non-exempt goods, and some taxable services.

*****

 

 

Let’s now review some of our clients’ frequently asked questions:

  • Is Louisiana an Origin or Destination sales tax state?
  • What creates a sales tax nexus in Louisiana?
  • What is the economic threshold in Louisiana?
  • Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in Louisiana?
  • Does Louisiana have a Click-Through Nexus?

To best understand your tax obligations, new businesses need to consider how they are doing business and the type of relationships they have with buyers and any third parties to their transactions (such as affiliate marketers). 

 Let’s discuss some questions that will help you understand the nature of your small business and the subsequent tax implications.   

 

 

Is Louisiana an origin or destination-based sales tax state?

Louisiana is a destination-based sales tax state. This means you charge sales tax based on the location of the purchaser rather than that of the seller. Local parishes can complicate this as parishes may require different rates on different goods. The Parish e-file website has a lookup resource to help determine Parish specific sales tax.

 

 Protip: Charge the customer tax based on their location.

 

 

What creates a tax nexus with the state of Louisiana?  

Having nexus, also known as "sufficient business presence,” with Louisiana means your business has established a taxing connection with a state. When this happens, you are required to collect and remit sales tax in Louisiana because you created a sales tax Nexus.

Even if your business maintains its main headquarters in another state, you may still have to charge and pay sales tax to the Louisiana Department of Revenue even if you never step foot in Louisiana.   

So, how do you create a sales tax Nexus in Louisiana?

Sales Tax Nexus

 

A business establishes a nexus in Louisiana by:

  • having a business location in Louisiana;
  • having property stored in Louisiana;
  • employing any person in Louisiana;
  • contracting with a salesperson or other agent in Louisiana;
  • leasing equipment used in Louisiana;
  • performing services in Louisiana;
  • licensing the use of intangible property in Louisiana, or transporting property in Louisiana using the taxpayer’s vehicles.

Let’s talk a bit more specifically about where your goods are stored such as in the instance of an Amazon warehouse. 

 

 

Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in Louisiana?

No, Louisiana has no distribution centers at this time.

This information is relevant for our customers who sell products on Amazon or are recognized as Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) sellers. When Amazon stores products in one of its fulfillment centers in any state including, it triggers a sales tax requirement. 

 

 

Does Louisiana have economic nexus?

Not yet but very soon! Louisiana recently passed a bill, HB547, that clarifies the thresholds for economic nexus. It doesn’t, however, pick a date to begin enforcement! So the economic thresholds for remote sellers are established but the time from when they must begin to remit has not.

WHEN Louisiana updates its nexus requirements, the threshold for registering will be having a cumulative gross revenue of over $100,000 in sales to Louisiana purchasers or 200 separate transactions. 

Louisiana state legislature has said it will give thirty days notice before requiring compliance.

For  more information keep an eye on Louisiana DOR’s remote sellers page.

 

 

Does Louisiana have click-through nexus?

No, nor any plans to add it at this time. The new economic nexus rules in HB547 discuss and dismiss the idea so far. 

 

 

Is Louisiana a streamlined sales tax state?

No, Louisiana is not at this time a member of the SSP. Fingers crossed they might join this efficiency boosting project 🤞!

While they aren’t a member of SSP, they do cooperate with a convenient third party for managing local taxes.

 

More effectively manage your tax needs by keeping this guide handy. 

You and your business can be better equipped to avoid situations like paying fines, paying back taxes that you did know you had to pay in the first place, or facing an audit by the tax authorities in Louisiana.

 

 

Collecting Sales Tax in Louisiana

By now you know if you are a business that has established a nexus with Louisiana. So you have an understanding about whether, or when, you are required to collect sales tax. Knowing this is just half the battle! Now, we are going to help you with the next half of the battle: how to navigate the process of collecting taxes.

Let’s review some common questions our clients have asked regarding their Louisiana Sales Tax obligations. 

  • How do I collect Louisiana Sales Tax?
  • Who is eligible for Louisiana Sales Tax exemptions?
  • What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in Louisiana?
  • What happens if I lose a Louisiana nontaxable transaction certificate? 

After reading this, you will be better equipped to determine when --and when not-- to collect sales tax in Louisiana.

 

 

How do I collect Louisiana sales tax?

Because Louisiana is a destination-based sales tax state, your business should charge sales tax based on the location of the purchaser, at the time of the transaction. This is usually as simple as configuring the Point-of-Sales system accordingly. One difficulty with Louisiana is the myriad local parish tax policies. We suggest consulting a tax professional to ensure you’re meeting the required compliance activities. 

 

 

What are the current Louisiana sales tax rates?   

Louisiana’s state-wide sales tax rate is 4.45% for most tangible goods at the state level, but parishes can bring that rate from 8-11%! There is some variability for certain items at the state level (PDF) as well as local Parish taxes to consider. Since sales tax rates may change, we suggest utilizing the above links to stay current.

It always helps to be accurate and up to date with this type of information! :) 

 

 

What is exempt from Louisiana sales tax?

Here is a sample list of exemptions: 

  • Purchases for resale
  • Everyday clothing items
  • Medical supplies
  • Groceries 

Louisiana has far too many exempt items to list here, but they go into greater detail in this PDF.

 

 

Who are eligible for Louisiana sales tax exemptions?

At this point, you should know what products are exempt from sales tax in Louisiana. You also want to know who may be exempt. 

Under Louisiana law, the type of buyer or the way the goods will be used can qualify can buyer for a sales tax exemption. A good example of this is a merchant purchasing goods for resale, aka a wholesaler.

Other common examples of an exempt buyer may include:

  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Religious groups
  • Out-of-state buyers (should their business not have nexus in their home state).

Note that a non-profit or contractor status doesn’t necessarily immediately confer tax exempt status. Louisiana keeps a list of tax-exempt organizations (PDF).

 

 

What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in Louisiana?

Purchasers who are tax exempt must have completed an exemption certificate and must present their completed exemption certificate at the time of purchase. It is then incumbent upon the seller to hold on to this exemption certificate. Failure to do so may leave you unable to justify tax exempt sales.

Louisiana provides a website to determine whether an exemption certificate is valid. Note that determining the validity via the website doesn’t reduce the requirement to hold on to the certificate for bookkeeping purposes.

 

 

What happens if I lose a Louisiana sales tax exemption certificate?

Hmm... Obviously this issue is best to be avoided! Imagine finding out you’ll be audited and discovering you cannot produce an exemption certificate for a buyer! That nightmare scenario would mean you could be held liable to pay all taxes on behalf of the buyer. This is a bad scene and can be avoided by taking proper care with your paperwork… which happens to be one of our specialties! :) 

 

 

Does Louisiana have a sales tax holiday?

Yes, several in fact, and they were just restored after having been yanked away:

  • Back-to-school tax holiday: August 7-8
  • Disaster preparedness tax holiday: May 30-31
  • 2nd Amendment tax holiday: September 4-6

 

***** 

 

We have now covered who you need to collect sales taxes from, how to determine whether goods for sale are deemed taxable, what goods and services fall under tax exemptions, who is eligible for tax exemption certificates, and, finally, the process of collecting sales tax in Louisiana state. 

Now that we’re this far down the rabbit hole there’s only one thing we need to learn about next… how to pay the piper! 

 

 

Filing and Paying Sales Tax in Louisiana

Filing and Paying Sales Tax in Louisiana

It is time to talk about filing and paying your sales taxes in Louisiana. In this section, We are going to cover the following frequently asked questions from our clients:

  • When is Louisiana Sales Tax due?
  • What are the Louisiana Sales Tax thresholds?
  • What if a Louisiana Sales Tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?
  • How do I file a Louisiana Sales Tax Return?
  • How do I correct a Louisiana Sales Tax return?
  • What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?
  • What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?
  • Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in Louisiana?
  • If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?
  • Does the Louisiana Department of Revenue offer a discount for filing on time?

By the time you finish reading this, you will feel confident enough to file and pay your Louisiana Sales Tax.

 

 

When is Louisiana sales tax due?

Louisiana sales tax payments are due based on the filing interval. Filing intervals are based on the company’s tax liability [detailed ahead, be patient! :p] 

 

Filing Interval

Due day

Quarterly

No later than the 20th of the month following the relevant quarter

Monthly

No later than the 20th day of the month following the month being reported

 

 

 

What are the Louisiana sales tax filing interval thresholds?

The thresholds for filing intervals are based on the expected or actual tax liability owed:

 

Tax Amount Owed monthly

Filing interval

Less than $500 for six months or more

Quarterly available via request

Equal to or more than $500

Monthly

 

Louisiana defaults all businesses to monthly filing but permits applying for quarterly filing for those who have less than $500/mo average tax liability.

 

Not sure how to determine your tax filing frequency?

You can review your eCommerce or Point-of-Sale Software to see the volume of sales you have generated. 

Don't worry though! The state will let you know when your due dates change. :) 

Keep an eye out for notices in your mail from the State of Louisiana so that you don't miss any shift in deadlines.

 

 

What if a Louisiana sales tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?

The deadline is moved to the next business day, typically the Monday following the weekend or the day after the holiday. Where possible, we always suggest filing well before the holiday, of course ;). 

 

 

How do I file a Louisiana sales tax return?

Paper: Complete form R-1029 (PDF) and mail to the address on the form.

Electronic: File form online via the LATAP website and submit payment via EFT.

  

 

How do I correct a Louisiana sales tax return?

Correct the return via the Louisiana LATAP site or by filling out the same form form R-1029 (PDF) and make sure to tick the box for an amended return. In either case, simply fill out the amended return as though it was the only one you’re submitting. 

 

 

What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?

If you were required to collect sales taxes and failed to do so for whatever reason, that’s a big no-no! The business may be held liable for the due tax, although Louisiana is one of the few states that may also potentially go after the consumer for the tax. Which can certainly create a bad impression with the customer! 

Always be sure to collect sales tax at the point of sale. Attempting to collect after the fact will be time consuming and most likely unsuccessful. 

 

Protip: You may still be responsible for remitting sales taxes even if you failed to collect them. 

 

What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?

Louisiana Department of Revenue charges penalties for late filing or late payment.

Failure to file a return on time or make due payment can lead to 5% per 30 day period, not to exceed 25% based on tax owed. 

Louisiana may also charge excess penalties if they suspect willful negligence, as well as  an examination fee for incidents that require their involvement.

 

 

Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in Louisiana?

Yes! Louisiana requires businesses file a “Zero-Tax” return even when they have no sales during a taxing period.

 

 

If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?

Yes, Louisiana requires businesses to file a “Final sales tax” return when closing their doors or selling to another entity.

 

 

Does the Louisiana Department of Revenue offer a discount for filing on time?

Yessiree! Louisiana offers a discount of .935% of tax due If paying on time. Take advantage!

 

 

*****

 

 

Now that we covered all our bases for filing and paying sales taxes in the state of Louisiana, you should feel more at ease about the process.

 

Some things to remember:

  • Due dates are important. If anything, file and pay your taxes early.
  • There are three payment plans for filing and paying your sales taxes depending on how much you collect in sales tax on average in a month.
  • You can file and pay your taxes electronically or by mail
  • If you need to amend a return, you may do so electronically or by paper.
  • If you don’t collect sales tax and you were supposed to, you (not the buyer) is liable to pay the sales tax to the state of Louisiana.
  • You will have to pay late fees if you fail to file your tax return on time and/or if you fail to make your tax payment on time.
  • Even if you collect no sales tax, you still need to file a return.
  • You need to file a “Final sales tax report” when you close your business.

 

Now, you are ready to file and pay your sales tax in Louisiana. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.

  

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Please note: This blog is for informational purposes only and the information is accurate as of 7/16/2019. If you want legal advice on sales tax law for your business, please contact a Sales Tax professional. Keep in mind that sales tax regulations and laws are subject to change at any time. While we strive to keep our blog current, this blog possibly may be out of date by the time you review it.