Louisiana has two types of consumer tax laws: taxes intended to raise revenue for the state and taxes to discourage certain behaviors. Louisiana has a sales tax that affects everyone, resident or non-resident, citizen or undocumented immigrant. In addition, Louisiana discourages alcohol use by having higher taxes on liquor. Gasoline and cigarette taxes both raise revenue and attempt to limit the consumption of gas or tobacco products, respectively. For general information, see the FindLaw State Tax Laws section.
The following table lists the main consumer tax laws and applicable tax rates for Louisiana.
|Sales Tax||The current Louisiana sales tax is 4%.|
|Use Tax||The use tax in Louisiana is the same as the sales tax, set at 4%. A use tax is the tax imposed on using personal property purchased in another state, but used in the taxing state. It’s generally a one-time tax imposed for ownership, possession, or use of the item. Sometimes the sales tax paid can be credited against the use tax due.|
|Cigarette Tax||Louisiana currently has a 36 cents per pack tax rate, an incredibly low tax compared to other states. However, State Representative Harold Ritchie tried to increase that tax to $1.41 per pack in the 2013 legislative session. That bill died in a house committee, but future bills may try to raise the tobacco tax rates to get it closer to on par with other states.|
|Gasoline Tax||Gasoline in Louisiana is taxed at 20 cents per gallon (16 cents plus an additional 4 cents). The gas tax in Louisiana is one of the cheapest in the country, but that may be bad for the roads that are supposed to be built and maintained using this tax money.|
|Liquor Tax||The Louisiana liquor tax varies based on the type of alcohol being taxed. The rates are:
|Gambling Tax||Louisiana taxes riverboat casinos at 21.5% of gaming revenue a year and land-based casinos pay either a $60 million annual tax or 21.5% of gross gaming revenue, whichever is greater. The “racinos” (combo racetracks and casinos) pay 18% of the gross gaming revenue paid to the horse owners.|
Taxing Out-of-State Goods and Goods Purchased Online
States generally can’t tax goods purchased in or imported from another state because according to the Constitution, only the federal government has the power to regulate commerce between two states. However, this doesn’t mean you can always avoid taxes by purchasing expensive items in states without sales tax, like Alaska or New Hampshire. For example, if you purchase a car out-of-state, you may have to pay a sales tax once you bring the vehicle to Louisiana. This discourages locals from spending their money outside of Louisiana.
Also, if you buy things online, you may have to pay sales tax on them. Typically, if a company has a physical presence in the state where an item is bought, the seller must collect sales tax from the buyer. If not, the seller doesn’t have to collect sales tax. The rules for international internet purchases differ greatly.
If you have questions about any taxes you’re paying in Louisiana, you should speak to an experienced local tax attorney.
Note: State laws change constantly. Therefore, you should verify these laws by conducting your own legal research or contacting a tax expert.
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