Taxpayers to receive notices about taxes due on online purchases

Halen Doughty

Louisiana taxpayers could owe sales taxes on their online purchases from remote retailers. The Louisiana Department of Revenue announced notifications will be sent out to online shoppers from retailers about taxes due on their purchases.

A law was passed in the 2016 regular session that aims to boost compliance with Louisiana's use tax for online shopping. Byron Henderson with the Louisiana Department of Revenue said the use tax is owed on purchases made from online retailers who do not have a physical presence in Louisiana, if the tax was not paid at the time of purchase. It applies to purchases where the shipping address is in Louisiana, meaning Christmas gifts purchased in other states and sent to Louisiana will be subject to the tax.

Henderson noted this is not a new tax, as the use tax has always been due. Prior to the notices, Henderson said it was the shopper's responsibility to keep track of their online purchases and pay the use tax. He said the only change is this new support for the taxpayer to know how much is owed and hopefully improve compliance.

The annual notices to be mailed on January 31 each year will include all of the information taxpayers need concerning how much they owe in use taxes. The total amount paid by the purchaser, dates and amounts of purchases, the name of the retailers, and a clear statement from the retailer that Louisiana use tax may be due will be included in the notice. It will also explain whether the property or service is exempt from sales and use taxes.

The notice includes instructions for the purchaser in reporting and paying the use tax. It can be reported on the state resident or nonresident Individual Income Tax Return or on the Consumer Use Tax Return, which is available at Taxpayers filing through a paid preparer should provide the preparer with a copy of the notice.

Online shoppers should keep an eye out for the first class or certified letter in an envelope marked "IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT ENCLOSED." It may also be sent electronically if the purchaser authorized the remote retailer to do so in writing. In addition to notices sent to the purchasers, remote retailers must also prove the same information to the LDR.

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