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Metairie business man disputes sales tax charges

Businesses that incur an average monthly sales tax liability in excess of $500 must file a return and pay sales taxes to the state every month. A Metairie business-person has learned that failure to make the required payments can lead to white collar criminal charges.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue arrested the man on Sept. 20, 2017, and charged him with one count of failing to pay state sales taxes when due. The suspect's business sells point-of-sale computer systems to restaurants, hotels and stores.

The Revenue Department alleges that the business failed to pay $121,396 in state sales taxes between January 2011 and September 2015. The state also alleged that the business owner was "fully aware" of the amounts that he owed the state. The total bill, with the addition of interest and penalties, is now $215,915.

The business-person's attorney issued a statement that indicated that a settlement may have been in the works when the arrest was made. The lawyer said that his client had "made efforts to get his accounting straight with the state" and had made a significant down payment on his tax liability. The lawyer also questioned the state's decision to issue a warrant for his client's arrest.

Businesses that fail to pay withholding, payroll and sales taxes on time can expose their owners to serious criminal liability. Anyone who is facing charges of failing to pay such taxes may wish to seek legal counsel for advice on the severity of the penalties and advice on how to resolve the matter as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, "Metairie businessman arrested in state sales tax investigation," Michelle Hunter, Sept. 21, 2017

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