Jim Brown’s Weekly Column: Louisiana Taxpayers – Have we got a deal for you

Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


You’re not really going to pay your Louisiana state taxes on time are you? Why on earth would you do that? Why not do what so many other Louisianans do. Hang on to your money or invest it or spend it. Nothing is likely to happen. And before you know it, the state will kick in with a really great amnesty program where you pay no penalties. That’s right, no penalties. Zilch. Nothing.

And hey, it gets better. When the time eventually comes, you’ll only have to pay one half of any back interest. What a deal. Heck, paying Louisiana taxes on time is only for fools. So go ahead. Game the system. A lot of others do, and they reap big benefits. It’s the Louisiana Way. Or so it would seem, judging from the message being sent by the state.

The Louisiana legislature, in its collective wisdom, authorized what is called the “Fresh Start” program, offering a chance to catch up on back taxes to all those folks worried about being caught and labeled tax cheats. And of course, that’s exactly what they are. The current program just ended and it was a bountiful success. Over $435 million was collected with a net loss of millions of dollars to honest Louisiana tax payers.

So who are these slackers who are taking advantage of Louisiana’s laxness toward collecting legitimate taxes which Louisiana calls a “tax amnesty program?” Well, they’re not individuals who have a conscience that is bothering them. No. Eighty percent of the money collected came primarily from business accounts that were being audited or litigated. In other words, these delinquent taxpayers knew full well that the Louisiana Department of Revenue was on their case and would demand back taxes with full penalties and interest. So knowing that the jig was up, and these delinquent companies were right on the verge of getting stuck with big penalties, they merely opted to grab the amnesty crutch, not pay what they lawfully owed the state, and laugh all the way to the bank with the money they cheated out of the rest of us. Continue Reading…………