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Web purchase tax included in Gov. Jindal's reforms

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BATON ROUGE - One option being considered for Governor Bobby Jindal's tax reform package is a blanket, income-based tax which would cover all online purchases.

It's called a safe harbor plan, and Louisiana budget officials say other states have already adopted similar measures. The plan would let people make one payment based off their taxable income to cover most online purchases, in order to avoid accounting every single purchase or being audited.

National reports indicate state and local governments lose $20 billion annually from taxes not being paid for online sales, a number which increases every year. State officials say Louisiana takes an estimated loss of up to $800 million.

Louisiana Department of Revenue official Tim Barfield says more audits are also needed to make people comply, while the U. S. Congress is also looking for ways to address the growing problem.

Barfield says the safe harbor option would help people avoid keeping up with online sales records.  In states like California, someone making $100,000 per year would pay about $70 for their one-time payment.  Levels for a similar plan in Louisiana have not been set.


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