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Tax Application Package for New Business Owners

FAQ
Tax Information
Taxing Ordinances
Sales & Use Tax Rules and Regulations

The City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge is committed to encouraging and supporting business development and economic growth in our Parish.  The Finance Department has prepared this site to assist those individuals starting a new business or purchasing an existing one in obtaining a sales tax and occupational license tax account number.  The "General Information" Section found below contains basic information regarding sales/use tax and occupational license tax requirements.  For further information concerning the requirements of other local, state, and federal agencies when opening a new business, visit the Checklist for Starting a New Business page.

To apply for a sales tax and occupational license tax account, you must complete the forms listed below.  Once completed, please mail the forms to the City-Parish Revenue Division, Taxpayer Assistance Section, P. O. Box 2590, Baton Rouge, LA  70821.

If after reviewing this site you have additional questions relative to local tax matters, please contact the Taxpayer Assistance Section at (225) 389-3084 or send us an e-mail message.

INDEX

PURCHASING AN EXISTING BUSINESS

STARTING A NEW BUSINESS

SALES AND USE TAX

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE TAX

OTHER TAXES THAT MAY APPLY

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS

TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE

GENERAL INFORMATION

PURCHASING AN EXISTING BUSINESS

If you are going to purchase an existing business instead of forming a new one, there are a few things you should know to protect your interests.

You should contact the Revenue Division to determine if the seller is registered to collect and remit sales and/or use tax and, if so, whether the seller owes sales or use taxes to the City-Parish. As the buyer, you may be liable for any sales or use taxes owed by the seller. If delinquencies do exist, the tax ordinance requires that the buyer withhold a portion of the purchase price to cover the amount of any unpaid tax, penalty, or interest until paid by the seller.  Failure to do so can cause the purchaser to be liable for the payment of said taxes, penalties, and interest owed by the former owner or owners.

If you purchase the business in a bulk sales transaction, you must notify the Revenue Division at least ten days prior to taking possession of the business. You will be advised of any requirement to withhold any of the purchase price from the seller. If you purchase a business in a bulk sales transaction without notifying the Revenue Division, you will be held responsible for any taxes, penalties, or interest owed by the former owner.
 

STARTING A NEW BUSINESS

An important step in opening a new business is registering for sales and use tax and occupational license tax. Registration forms should be requested and completed at least one month prior to opening for business to insure the timely receipt of the proper certificates, license for operating, and forms for filing.
 

SALES AND USE TAX

Who Must File: If your new business sells goods or services, leases or rents tangible property, or purchases tangible personal property for use or consumption, you must apply for a sales tax certificate, collect the proper taxes from customers, and remit the tax to the Revenue Division.

Registration For Sales and Use Tax:  To register as a dealer, you must request a Business Registration Form for OLT/Sales TaxThis document is in PDF format.  Download the free viewer from www.adobe.com .  Each location of a business must be registered for sales and use tax.

Sales Tax Certificates: After the Revenue Division receives your properly completed registration form, it will be processed and a sales tax certificate will be issued. The certificate gives you the authority to collect and remit sales taxes and confirms your registration as a dealer in this parish. Display each certificate in plain view at the appropriate business location. Your certificate is nonassignable and nontransferable.

Rate of Tax: Effective July 1, 2000, the combined sales tax rate for the City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge, City of Zachary, Zachary Community School District, City of Central, Central Community School Board, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, Zachary School District, Baker School District, Sewer Improvement Fund, and Street Improvement Fund is 5.00%. The tax rate for the City of Baker and the Baker School District is 5.50%.

Date Payment and Return Due: All new businesses with sales and use tax accounts are required to file on a monthly basis. Tax forms will be mailed to you by the Revenue Division. Contact the Revenue Division if you do not receive a tax form. Monthly returns are delinquent if not sent to the Revenue Division on or before the 20th of the month following the close of the calendar month reporting period. You must file a timely return each month even if you have no tax to report. Dealers whose tax liabilities average less than $50 per month may apply to file quarterly.

Using the Proper Column: The City-Parish Revenue Division is the collecting authority for the taxing agencies located in this parish. Sales and use tax revenues are distributed to each agency based on the column or columns used when preparing the sales/use tax report. Therefore, it is extremely important to use the correct column(s) when preparing the tax report.

To determine the correct column(s), it is necessary to maintain suitable records indicating where a product was delivered or a taxable service was performed. If you do not deliver your merchandise, then you should use the column based on the location of your business. If you deliver merchandise, then you should use the column(s) where the product was delivered or the taxable service was performed.

Basis of the Tax: The tax is payable on the sales price when a transaction is subject to a sales tax, and on the cost price when a transaction is subject to a use tax. For sales, the taxable base will include the total amount for which tangible personal property is sold, including any services rendered by the seller in connection with the sale; the gross amount charged for lease or rental of tangible personal property; and the gross amount charged for taxable services.

The sales and use tax is levied on the following transactions:

  • The sale of tangible personal property at retail in this parish.

  • The use, consumption, distribution, or storage for use or consumption in this parish of any tangible personal property.

  • The lease or rental of tangible personal property within this parish.

  • The sale of services as defined in the ordinance, which includes the furnishing of rooms by hotels, the sale of admission to places of amusement and to athletic and recreational events, and the furnishing of privileges of access to amusement, entertainment, athletic or recreational facilities; the furnishing of storage or parking privileges by parking lots; the furnishing of printing and over-printing; the furnishing of laundry, cleaning, pressing, and dyeing services; the furnishing of cold storage space and the preparation of property for such storage; and the furnishing of repairs to tangible personal property.

Purchases Subject to Use Tax: A use tax is due on goods purchased from out-of-parish vendors for use, consumption, distribution, or storage in this parish. This would include such items as furniture, fixtures, office equipment, supplies, and materials.  Items which are purchased for resale are not subject to use tax. If the vendor does not charge sales tax, the purchaser must pay the tax directly to the Revenue Division on the sales/use tax return. A direct use tax payment is due on either the actual cost or the market value of the property purchased, whichever is less. A credit for sales and use tax paid to another political subdivision is allowed against the use tax imposed by the political subdivisions within East Baton Rouge Parish.

Purchases for Resale: Purchases of tangible personal property for resale or further manufacture are excluded from sales and use tax. The purchaser must furnish a Resale Exemption Certificate This document is in PDF format.  Download the free viewer from www.adobe.com to the seller. The retail exemption certificate must be signed by the buyer and must include the business name, address, and sales tax registration number. The seller must collect sales taxes on all sales when the purchaser fails to furnish a properly executed exemption certificate.

Exempt Transactions: The sales and use tax ordinance and state law exempts or excludes certain transactions from sales and use tax. Specific information regarding exemptions and exclusions can be obtained from the Revenue Division. Some of the major exemptions and exclusions are listed below.

  • Sales of gasoline, natural gas, steam, and water when delivered to consumers via mains, pipes or conduits, electric power, newspapers, fertilizers, and containers used for farm products when sold directly to the farmer.

  • Isolated or occasional sales of tangible personal property by someone not engaged in the business of selling that type of property. Casual or isolated sales shall not apply to the sale of vehicles.

  • Sales of human tissue transplants including all human organs, bone, skin, cornea, blood, or blood products transplanted from one person into another recipient person.

  • Sales of electricity for chlor-alkali manufacturing processes.

  • Sales to bona fide fire protection districts.

  • Purchases of motor vehicles for lease and autos for rental.

  • Purchases made with Food Stamps and WIC Vouchers.

  • Purchases by state and local governments.

Other general and specific instructions concerning the sales and use tax report are located on the reverse of the taxpayer's copy.

Sales Tax Security Deposit: The Finance Director will require a security deposit from a dealer who is seriously delinquent, a dealer who purchases a delinquent business, and itinerant vendors (which includes sellers at flea markets, by the roadside, or any other dealer not having a fixed place of business). A security deposit shall be in the form of cash, certified check, cashier's check, or money order.
 

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE TAX

Who Must File: Each person engaged in any trade, profession, vocation, calling, or business must complete a Business Registration Application Form. This document is in PDF format.  Download the free viewer from www.adobe.com

Registration  for Occupational License Tax: A Business Registration Application form must be requested and completed at least one month prior to opening for business to insure timely receipt of license. A separate license is required for each place of business.

Certain businesses applying for an occupational license require approval from the Department of Public Works-Inspection Division and/or the Department of Health.  A fee is charged to obtain a zoning clearance or certificate of occupancy. Please contact the Permit Department (see Checklist for Starting a New Business) to insure that your business is properly zoned.

Rate of Tax: The rate of tax varies with each class of business (see Occupational License Tax Tables). Tax forms are supplied by the Revenue Division, Taxpayer Assistance Section.

Date Tax Due: The first license tax is due on the date the business is opened; thereafter, the tax is due on January 1 of each calendar year. All payments for licenses after the last day of February of the calendar year for which they are due, or in the case of a new business, payments after the date such business is commenced, shall be delinquent and subject to delinquent interest and penalty.

Basis of the Tax: If the business has operated a full year, the basis for determining the amount of the annual license is the annual gross receipts, gross fees, or gross commissions earned during the preceding calendar year.  If a business commences during a calendar year, the initial license shall be issued for the minimum tax rate. After the business has operated for 30 days, the gross receipts for that period shall be multiplied by the number of months, or major fraction thereof remaining in the calendar year, to determine if any additional occupational license tax is due.

Exempted Transactions:

The occupational license tax shall not apply to the following:

  • Blind persons and their widows or orphans, where the business is conducted by any blind person, exclusively for his own support or the support of his family.

  • Any occupational license tax imposed on retail dealers not having a fixed place of business shall not apply to Louisiana artists and craftsmen who display their own original art and handicraft for sale at functions sponsored by non-profit organizations.

  • Artists, craftsmen, and vendors who are authorized to display their own original art and handicraft for sale at functions sponsored by a Baton Rouge (IRS 501C) non-profit organization or vendors authorized by a Baton Rouge (IRS 501C) non-profit organization at its function.

  • Qualified non-profit organizations which are exempt from the collection of sales and use taxes under the provisions of R.S. 47:305.14 or from the payment of federal income taxes under the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Any person engaged in the business of selling at wholesale malt, vinous, spirituous, alcoholic, or intoxicating liquor containing more than six percent of alcohol by volume, and beer, porter, ale, fruit juices, and wine containing more than one-half percent of alcohol by volume.

  • Banks, homestead and building and loan associates, editors, broadcasters, publishers, clerks, laborers, ministers of religion, school teachers, graduated trained nurses, those engaged in agricultural or horticultural pursuits, those operating sawmills, and corporations organized and operated for the purpose of lending money to farmers for production purposes (the stock of which is owned by farmer members and employees of such corporations).

  • Manufacturers, except those manufacturers who sell their manufactured articles at retail shall be subject to the payment of a license tax on such retail sales.

  • Exhibitors for trade shows when the promoter has paid the license fee.

Business Classification Listing:  The Business Classification Listing provides an alphabetical listing of business classifications and their corresponding Occupational License Tax Table.
 

OTHER TAXES THAT MAY APPLY

State of Louisiana Sales/Use Tax: The State of Louisiana levies a 4% tax on the retail sale of tangible personal property and sales of services. For more information regarding sales/use taxes, as well as state income and franchise tax, contact the website for the Louisiana Department of Revenue External web link not maintained by City of Baton Rouge or use the number listed in the Checklist for Starting a New Business.

Hotel-Motel Tax: There is a 4% tax levied on the rate charged for the occupancy of hotel, motel, and motor court rooms located within the City of Baton Rouge or Parish of East Baton Rouge. This tax is in addition to the applicable sales tax and is remitted on forms mailed by the Revenue Division.
 

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS

In the event that you cease doing business for any reason, sell your business, or the legal status of the business changes, you must do the following:

  • Return your Sales Tax Registration Certificate with the proper information on the reverse side, along with your last sales/use tax report marked FINAL RETURN.

  • Return your Occupational License with the applicable information reflected on the reverse side.

If you have a "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS" sale, you must contact the Taxpayer Assistance Section at (225) 389-3084 and the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-351-4889 prior to conducting the sale.

TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE

For a listing of agencies you may need to contact before starting your business enterprise, please refer to the Checklist for Starting a New Business.

This information has been provided to assist taxpayers and does not cover every aspect of sales/use tax, hotel-motel tax, or occupational license tax law. Contact the Revenue Division if you have specific questions which were not addressed in this information or send us an e-mail.