Louisiana lawmakers approve centralized sales tax commission

Voter approval needed to be enacted

By: - June 3, 2021 6:47 pm
Centralized sales tax commission approved by lawmakers

The Louisiana Capitol Building, April 8, 2021. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator).

The Louisiana Legislature passed a tax reform bill Thursday that could eventually lead to the establishment of a centralized sales tax commission to replace the state’s currently fragmented system of collections.

The Senate voted 37-0 to adopt House Bill 199, sponsored by Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder. The legislation is a proposed constitutional amendment, requiring voter approval to be enacted. It had already passed the House unanimously and will be placed on a ballot for voters to consider on Oct. 9. After that, lawmakers would have to pass statutory legislation to set up the actual collection methods. 

The constitutional amendment proposes to create the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission to “provide for the streamlined electronic filing, electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes levied within the state,” according to the bill.

After its first year, the commission would replace both the Uniform Local Sales Tax Board and the Tax Commission for Remote Sellers. The commission would also issue policy advice and develop rules and regulations to simplify and streamline the audit process for taxpayers.

Louisiana relies on 54 different collecting agencies including individual parishes, cities, sheriffs, police juries, school boards and other government entities. Additionally, the Tax Commission for Remote Sellers collects remittances from out-of-state businesses that have customers in Louisiana. 

If accepted by voters, the constitutional amendment will allow the legislature to enact statutory provisions that provide more detailed duties and functions of the commission. Such provisions would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature, and if not enacted, the state will continue using its current collections systems.

The commission would be comprised of eight members:

  1. One member appointed by the La. School Boards Association or its successor.
  2. One member appointed by the La. Municipal Association or its successor.
  3. One member appointed by the Police Jury Association of La. or its successor.
  4. One member appointed by the La. Sheriffs’ Association or its successor.
  5. The secretary of the Department of Revenue or the designee of the secretary.
  6. One member appointed by the governor.
  7. One member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives.
  8. One member appointed by the president of the Senate.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the following 22 years since then, he has worked as a journalist for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. Much of his work has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and watchdog coverage of municipal and state government. He has received several honors and recognitions, including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus, a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper, and an adjunct English teacher at Baton Rouge Community College. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his teenage son and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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