LSBDC to hold classes on tax amnesty and business incentives
by: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – To ensure a recently enacted state tax amnesty program doesn't go unnoticed, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Louisiana University will offer two free workshops on the Louisiana Tax Amnesty program in Slidell and Mandeville.
The Slidell seminar, presented in partnership with Didier Consultants, will be held Thursday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at the East St. Tammany Chamber in Slidell, located at 118 W Hall Ave. The Mandeville seminar will be held Thursday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. -12 p.m. at the Southeastern St. Tammany Center, located at 21454 Koop Drive in Mandeville.
William Joubert, Southeastern LSBDC director, said the tax amnesty window began Sept. 23, and will end on Nov. 22. During this two-month time period, Louisiana taxpayers are able to officially apply for tax amnesty and submit payment for all tax periods that are outstanding.
"There are a significant number of businesses in this area that are eligible to participate in this special tax amnesty program offered by the state," Joubert said. "The time to participate, however, is limited, and it's not likely the state will offer another program of this nature for some time. Businesses that owe past taxes should take advantage of this rare opportunity. These programs are designed to provide the answers businesses need to participate in this opportunity."
The Louisiana Tax Amnesty 2013: Fresh Start is modeled after a similar and successful effort in 2009. To take advantage of the program this year, Joubert said, the taxpayer must apply during the amnesty window, which ends Nov. 22. During the 2013 amnesty period, half of the interest due and all penalties will be waived.
Additionally, the Louisiana Tax Amnesty and Incentives Workshop will update businesses on changes to Louisiana's tax incentive programs. The State of Louisiana offers tax rebates, exemptions and credits as incentives for businesses to increase hiring, expand, modernize or locate in the state. However, historically area businesses have been slow to take advantage of these incentive programs to save money on their taxes, said Joubert.
He added that the state has a broad base of tax incentive programs available for companies in all industry sectors. Each program has separate requirements that must be met in order to receive the tax credits, abatements or rebates. Understanding Louisiana's tax incentive programs and their requirements allows a company to proactively review and plan in order to participate in these extremely beneficial programs.
Joubert said the workshops will cover the following incentive programs:
Enterprise Zone; Industrial Tax Program; Restoration Tax Abatement; Small Business Loan Guaranty; Quality Jobs; Modernization Tax Program; EDAP Program; Training Grants and Performance Based Grants.
"Big companies that have their own lobbyists are familiar with this," said Belton Didier, whose firm, Didier Consultants, advises local companies on tax-related and other matters. "But a lot of small and medium-sized taxpayers are unaware that there will be an amnesty period, and it will be fairly short, so they will have to act quickly to take advantage of it."
"I really encourage people to pay sooner rather than later," added Didier. "Once the amnesty window closes on Nov. 22, taxpayers can no longer take advantage of the program this year."
The seminar is designed for industrial and business controllers, CPAs, CFOs, tax managers and officers, accounts payable personnel, and any company planning to relocate to or expand in the State of Louisiana, as well as any agents representing the companies described above. A total of 3.5 CPE hours are available.