BCI Delays Deadlines For Incentive Programs

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry (“BCI”) held a special meeting via teleconference to consider a Motion to Suspend All Deadlines (the “Motion”). The Motion extends all deadlines related to advance notifications, applications, compliance documentation, other contractual documents and Industrial Tax Exemption Program local notices of action that are required to be filed through the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (“LED”) for programs administered by the BCI during the pendency of the Executive Orders issued by Governor Edwards related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Under the Motion, all deadlines for BCI programs are suspended between March 17, 2020 until April 30, 2020, or later if additional proclamations are issued and thereafter subject to an additional thirty (30) day extension. However, the Motion does not affect any standing rules of the LED regarding requesting extensions and other deadlines for BCI programs. Further, in the Motion, the BCI encourages applicants to continue to file relevant program-related documents to avoid delay once the restrictions imposed by the Executive Orders are lifted.

Click here for the BCI’s agenda and Motion.

Louisiana Department of Revenue Extends April 25, 2020 Severance Tax Filing and Payment Deadline to June 25, 2020: Automatic Extension with No Penalties or Interest

Today, the Louisiana Department of Revenue issued Revenue Information Bulletin (“RIB”) No. 20-011, which provides filing and payment extension relief for monthly Louisiana severance tax returns, payments, and reports due on April 25, 2020.

The RIB provides that the filing and payment deadline for the February 2020 monthly oil and gas severance tax return, which is normally due on April 25, 2020, is now extended to June 25, 2020.

This is an automatic extension, and no extension request is necessary.

No penalties or interest will be assessed provided that the applicable monthly return, payment, and report for this severance tax period is submitted to the Department by the June 25, 2020, extension date.

Importantly, however, this extension does not apply to severance tax returns, payments, or reports due on any other dates.

Louisiana Tax Commission Sets Dates and Schedule for 2021 Rules and Regulations Process

The Louisiana Tax Commission has set the dates and schedule for its 2021 Rules and Regulations process. During this annual process, the Commission receives and considers proposals to amend its Rules and Regulations submitted by assessors, including the Louisiana Assessors Association, by the Commission’s own staff and by taxpayers. The proposals vary from ministerial amendments to amendments that can dramatically impact the value of personal property and thereby, the ultimate amount of taxes paid by taxpayers. Every year proposals are made to amend the tables providing the average economic lives of most business assets in Chapter 25 of the Commission’s Rules and Regulations. In addition, there have been perennial disputes over the methodologies to value oil and gas and other types of wells as well as how to value pipelines.

If you have property in Louisiana, it is important to review the proposals (they will be posted on the Commission’s website after submission on June 26, 2020) and determine whether  any proposal impacts your property in Louisiana. If any do, you should consider attending the presentation of proposals on July 15, 2020 and submitting a rebuttal by the July 31, 2020 deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact Jay Adams of our State and Local Tax Team.

Mississippi Secretary of State Issues New Remote Notarization Order Guidance

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s office has now issued its new Remote Notarization Order Guidance following Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ Executive Order 1467, which modified the in-person requirement for notarization temporarily.

According to the new Remote Notarization Order Guidance, effective immediately, and continuing throughout the period of the State of Emergency Proclamation as declared by Governor Reeves on March 17, 2020, Mississippi notaries public are authorized to perform notarial acts by remote notarization and remote online notarization.

The new Remote Notarization Order Guidance provides the following requirements for remote notarization and remote online notarization:

  • You must be a currently commissioned notary in Mississippi, in good standing.
  • You must notify the Secretary of State, Business Services Division of your intent to use remote notarization technology on the form located here.
  • Using the Secretary of State’s form, you must identify the communications technology vendor you will use and confirm that the vendor allows you to, (1) view and hear the remotely-located principal in real-time; (2) verify the principal’s identity through one or more of the methods set forth in the Order; and (3) record the entire notary transaction.
  • For each notarial act conducted remotely, you must create and retain an audio-video recording of the entire notarial act. You must keep this electronic record just as you would your notary journal or log book.
  • For each notarial act conducted remotely, you must note in your notary journal or logbook details about the notarial act, including that the notarial act was conducted for a remotely-located principal using communications technology.
  • You may charge your normal $5 fee, plus the cost of using the communications technology, not to exceed $25.

The new Remote Notarization Order Guidance also provides that notaries should note the following before beginning the performance of remote notarizations:

  • The Governor’s Executive Order is only a temporary waiver of the in-person requirement of the Mississippi Notary Statute and Rules. This is a significant change to notary practices in Mississippi.
  • The Governor’s order requires you to use a communications technology vendor designed for the purpose of facilitating remote notarizations, as opposed to services that primarily offer video-conferencing ability. Such purpose-designed services include the ability to both see and hear a remotely located individual. It is your responsibility to choose the vendor.
  • For additional guidance on available technology, you may wish to review the information made available by the National Notary Association www.nationalnotary.org or other professional membership associations.
  • In advance of utilizing remote notarization, you must give notice to the Secretary of State by emailing the Remote Notary Notification to remotenotary@sos.ms.gov.
  • As a commissioned notary, it is your legal responsibility to perform notarizations correctly pursuant to the Mississippi notary statute and Rules. The statute, Rules, and Governor’s order are available on the Mississippi Secretary of State website at https://www.sos.ms.gov/BusinessServices/Pages/Notaries-Apostilles.aspx.
  • You may email any questions about this new process to remotenotary@sos.ms.gov .

The new Remote Notarization Order Guidance also provides additional Remote Notary FAQS for notaries interested in utilizing this new temporary remote notarization option.

 

BTA Notice Regarding Status Conferences

The Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals is canceling all status conference set for April 28, 29, and 30, 2020. All will be rescheduled for a later date.

At this time, we are unsure what date your status conference will be rescheduled. Once a date is determined, the Board will serve notice of the date and time by U.S. Mail.

-Board Administrator, BTA

Louisiana Tax Commission Issues Additional Guidance on Hearings and Property Tax Filing Deadlines

Today, in compliance with Proclamation No. JBE 2020-41, which was issued by Governor Edwards on April 2, 2020, the Louisiana Tax Commission (LTC) issued Statewide Advisory 03-2020 providing for the continued suspension and continuance without date of all LTC appeal hearings. The LTC will continue to meet telephonically to consider ad valorem property tax change order requests, tax sale certifications and similar matters.

In addition, the Advisory explains that JBE 2020-41 continues the suspension of the statutory April 1, 2020 deadline for filing personal property renditions with local assessors (for property owners other than public service companies) and annual reports of public service companies with the LTC to at least April 30, 2020.

Public service companies that file annual reports for public service properties with the LTC should be able to rely on the extension provided in the Advisory.

As noted in our prior post, for all other owners of personal property that are required to file renditions with the local assessor, we previously provided the following best practices:

  • File your rendition with the local assessor on or before April 1, 2020; or
  • Request in writing (an e-mail should suffice) an extension of time not to exceed 30 days from the local assessor and obtain a written (an e-mail should suffice) confirmation of any such extension granted by the local assessor (La. R.S. 47:2324 provides that upon written request, the local assessor may grant an extension of time to file a personal property rendition of up to 30 days).

In order to avoid penalties, including but not limited to the potential loss of rights to contest the assessor’s determination of fair market value of the subject property, property owners must file the required renditions/reports on a timely basis.  Property owners must be vigilant every year, but especially this year, to timely file all renditions (local assessors) or annual reports (LTC).

COVID-19 Corporate Income and Franchise Tax Filing and Payment Extensions

The following link is a chart of information on the COVID-19 corporate income and franchise tax filing and payment extensions, as well as sales and use tax extensions, for Alabama, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The chart will be updated as more information becomes available.

COVID-19 State File and Pay Extensions

*Updated as of 04.14.2020

Mississippi Department of Revenue Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance, Extended Deadlines, Telework Nexus Forbearance

This afternoon the Mississippi Department of Revenue issued a notice containing updated information related to multiple extended filing deadlines and audit procedures. Among the changes are the following:

  • Income and franchise tax filing deadlines remain extended to May 15 (no change from prior notice)
  • Sales and use tax return filing deadlines remain unchanged, but interest and penalty imposition on any unpaid balances will be extended during any period covered by the presidentially declared national emergency
  • Homestead exemption applications are extended until May 1
  • Tax sale deadlines in Amite, Quitman and Sunflower counties are extended until May 4
  • Personal property renditions are extended until May 1; the mandatory 10% penalty will also be extended until that date
    • NOTE: the notice does not address deadlines for filing free port warehouse license applications, inventory reports, and reports of inventory movement, so taxpayers should assume normal March 31 deadlines still apply; as noted in our prior newsletter, failure to file these reports by that deadline could result in a loss of the exemption for the current tax year per prior Attorney General opinions
  • The deadline for local tax assessors to furnish real and personal property tax rolls to the boards of supervisors has been extended by thirty (30) days
    • NOTE: it is unclear at this time whether the normal August deadline for filing ad valorem tax objections will be similarly extended
  • Affordable rental housing owners have until April 15 to provide statements of actual net operating income to the local tax assessors
  • Interest and penalty accrual has been suspended on all new assessments and prior liabilities effective March 15; this suspension will continue until the end of the national emergency
  • The Department will continue to work its pending audits, but will agree to abate penalties and interest on any audits closed during the period of national emergency if the taxpayer agrees to settle the audit without appeal and pay the tax due
  • Withholding requirements remain unchanged based on an employee’s temporary telework location, and the Department will not use any changes in the employees’ temporary work location to impose nexus or alter any income apportionment while those temporary telework requirements are in place
  • The Department must adhere to existing statutory appeal deadlines, but remind taxpayers that electronic filing is already permitted

Jones Walker LLP will continue to monitor these Mississippi filing issues and will update as additional information is made available.

Assessors Extend LAT Filing Deadline Until May 1, 2020

On March 25, 2020, Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams extended the deadline to file LAT 5 forms until May 1, 2020.  Similarly, Randy Sexton, Assessor of Iberville Parish, also extended the LAT 5 deadline until May 1st.  Wendy Aguillard, Assessor of Calcasieu Parish, extended the due date for all LAT forms, including LAT 5 forms, until May 1, 2020. Under applicable state law, LAT forms are due on April 1st of each reporting year. Every assessor has the statutory authority to grant a 30 day extension to file those reports.

The LAT 5 is used to report the vast amount of business assets, including 1) Inventory and Merchandise: 2) Fixtures and Furniture; 3) Machinery and Equipment; 4) Leasehold Improvements and 5) Consigned Goods, Leased, Loaned or Rented Equipment, Furniture, etc.  The normal deadline to file the LAT 5 is April 1 of each year. The LAT 5 form, as well as other LAT reporting forms, can be found on the Louisiana Tax Commission’s website under the “Forms, Reports, Regulations” tab.

Note that the extension for filing LAT 5 forms in Orleans Parish and Iberville Parish, unlike the extension is Calcasieu, does not apply to any other LAT forms. These extensions are inconsistent with the general rendition filing deadline of at least April 13, 2020, set forth in guidance issued by the Louisiana Tax Commission in the Statewide Advisory 02-2020. Also refer to our post from 3.25.20 regarding the Advisory.

If you have any questions about the due date of the LAT forms applicable to your business, it is advisable to contact the assessor’s office in the parish where your property is located.

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