The Louisiana Legislature on Thursday passed a tax reform bill that could eventually lead to the creation of a centralized sales tax commission to replace the state’s currently fragmented collection system.
The Senate voted 37-0 to pass House Bill 199, sponsored by House Speaker 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 put on a ballot for voters to consider on October 9. After that, lawmakers should pass statutory legislation to set up the actual collection methods.
The constitutional amendment proposes to create the Streamlined State and Local Sales and Use Tax Commission to “provide for simplified electronic filing, electronic remittance, and collection of sales and use taxes collected in the state,” according to the bill.
After its first year, the commission would replace both the Uniform Local Sales Tax Council and the Tax Commission for Distance 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 collection agencies, including individual parishes, cities, sheriffs, police juries, school boards, and other government entities. Additionally, the Tax Commission for Distance 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 pass statutory provisions that define more detailed duties and functions of the commission. Such provisions would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature, and if not passed, the state will continue to use its current collection systems.
The commission would be made up of eight members:
- One member appointed by The School Boards Association of La. or its successor.
- A member appointed by the Municipal Association of La. or its successor.
- A member appointed by the Police Jury Association of La. or its successor.
- A member appointed by the Sheriffs Association of La. or its successor.
- The secretary of the Ministère du Revenu or the person designated by the secretary.
- One member appointed by the Governor.
- A member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- A member appointed by the President of the Senate.