Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Louisiana tax collections on remote sellers have eclipsed $1B in just over two years

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Louisiana tax collections from online sales eclipsed $1 billion in November, just over two years after the state established a commission to tax remote sellers.

Renee Roberie, director of the Louisiana Sales and Use Tax Commission for Remote Sellers, outlined recent online tax collections for commission during a meeting Thursday, as well as total collections since the commission’s inception 29 months ago.

“The most recent distribution was for the November 2022 period that we collected in December, and we distributed on January 10, 2023. We collected $51,643,013.84,” Roberie said. “We distributed $51,126,582.85.”

The commission for November processed 6,396 returns — the highest number to date — and currently has 7,767 open accounts as of Dec. 31, with an average weekly increase of 50 new accounts, Roberie said.

“The big news for this is that with this new collection we have now collected over $1 billion since inception,” she said to applause from committee members. “And we’re definitely on target to exceed collections from last year as we move forward.”

Other business involved a discussion of how the commission deals with incorrect returns and the increasing volume, as well as increasing expenses tied to a growing staff.

Roberie acknowledged that the higher volume of returns resulted in more in need of corrections, but explained that new staff are focused on rectifying the issues.

“It is increasing, but now that we have additional staff we’re starting to actually work those,” she said.

Roberie updated the commission on benefits costs, and increased telephone expenses associated with a new office, as well as a request to increase spending on a financial services contract.

The initial funding for the roughly $140,000 financial services contract was $75,000, and commissioners increased that figure by $40,000 at the last commission meeting. Roberie requested an additional $35,000 to fulfill the contract and cover additional expenses.

“The remaining work to be completed is … the monthly bookkeeping that they’re still doing for us, also the policies and procedures development,” she said. “There’s some work on the annual financial statement … that’s going to help us be in a better position to know what to do next year, so that we’re in the proper … format.”

“That additional work still needs to be conducted,” Roberie said, adding that staff will eventually take over the accounting duties. “We’re just kind of gradually easing into that.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the additional funding.

The commission also postponed discussion of an executive director salary study, opting instead to forward the study to a human resources group to analyze and offer suggestions for the commission at its next meeting.

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