News for July 2010
Press Release from Louisiana Department of Revenue - Tax Deduction for school tuition and moreJuly 23, 2010 Latest News
Louisiana families are reminded to retain receipts as documentation for back-to-school items that might be eligible for the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Tax Deduction.
The deduction applies to 50 percent of the cost of eligible items, up to $5,000 per student.
Eligible expenses include:
- Elementary and secondary school tuition
- Purchases of school uniforms required by the school for general day-to-day use.
- Purchases of textbooks, curricula, or other instructional materials required by the school.
- Purchases of school supplies required by the school
Homeschooling expenses are eligible as well.
In order to claim the deduction, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return.
Deductions for eligible expenses paid during 2010 can be claimed on state tax returns due by May 16, 2011.
More information is available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction.
Press ReleaseJuly 20, 2010 Latest News
POST KATRINA - INTERNATIONAL VISITORS ARE ONCE AGAIN CHOOSING NEW ORLEANS AS A SHOPPING DESTINATION
From January through June of 2010, the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program recorded over $15 million in eligible purchases made by international visitors shopping in Louisiana. This data indicates an increase of over $2 million when compared to January through June of 2004, the year before Hurricane Katrina. 2009 also showed a very strong growth in international shoppers, when spending increased from $16 million in 2008 to $19 million in 2009.
The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program tracks the number of international visitors serviced, as well as the dollar amount spent on tax-free shopping purchases. Visitors receive a sales tax refund on shopping they do throughout the state at participating merchants, however, not on services used such as hotel stay, car rental, restaurants etc.
An economic impact study conducted by U.N.O in 2008 concluded that the overall impact of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program was $45.1 million in 2007.
Not to be confused with “duty free” shops at international departure terminals in airports, “Louisiana Tax Free Shopping” is available at well known retail stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Gucci, The Gap, Sears, Wal-Mart, Coach, and many more. Tax Free members also include manufacturer outlets, other department stores, jewelry stores, art and antique dealers, computer and electrical appliance stores, as well as hundreds of smaller specialty shops throughout the state.
Since 1989, the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program has serviced over 600,000 international visitors and recorded over $500 million in international tax-free sales. The LTFS Program allows international tourists the opportunity to shop at over 800 stores throughout the state and apply for a tax refund IN CASH at any of our five refund centers.
After suffering setbacks from the lack of tourism following Hurricane Katrina, LTFS has once again hit its stride under the leadership of Executive Director Denise Thevenot, who stated, “We are finally seeing our Latin American tourists return to Louisiana to shop. Since January, Brazil posted the highest number of visitors utilizing the program, spending $2.2 million on tax-free shopping sales.”
Misconceptions and impact of oil spill on the Tourism Industry in New OrleansJuly 20, 2010 Latest News
New Orleans tackles tourists’ oil spill misperceptions
July 15th, 2010
New Orleans has a new ad campaign to convey it’s party-as-usual there….
New Orleans tackles tourists’ oil spill misperceptions
By Kitty Bean Yancey, USA TODAY
Now — just when N.O. is getting back on its feet — some potential visitors think the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is swirling nearby, and that’s dead wrong, says Kelly Schulz, vice president of PR for the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We’re inland” from the Gulf of Mexico, she says, and not directly affected by the spill. Nevertheless, “tourism is an image-driven business,” she told me during a meeting today. “Some people think we have beaches, and CNN is broadcasting from New Orleans, so that is confusing.” So far, she says, there’s no wave of cancellations, but lots of calls inquiring about the spill. Some ask if you can smell oil in the city (you can’t, she says). It’s true that Gulf oysters are in short supply, but the city is importing the bivalves from elsewhere.
Schulz is out doing damage control, and the city has launched print and TV ads (using $5 million from BP oil company to assuage damage) that tell people The Big Easy is still letting the good times roll. “Things in New Orleans are NORMAL. Well, OUR normal,” one print ad with a couple sipping cocktails on the street reads, alluding to the city’s rowdy, party-hearty image.
New Orleans was on a roll last year with about 7.5 million visitors — about a million less than its record of 8.5 million pre-Katrina. The Saints won the Super Bowl this year, and the city reaped an image benefit from that, says Schulz, a sunny blonde wearing a rosy blazer and fleur-de-lis earrings in homage to New Orleans’ French heritage. She says the expanded World War II Museum is doing good business and the big Hyatt hotel slammed by Katrina is being redone in even more lavish style and is due to reopen in 2011.
Now, “we want to acknowledge what a tragedy (the oil spill is), but we don’t want it to be made worse” by damaging the city’s $5 billion tourism industry — its No. 1 source of revenue. New Orleans has had so much bad luck, she says. And as the fifth anniversary of Katrina approaches, it needs a break
Readers, are you less or more likely to visit N.O. because of the oil spill? Have you been down since Katrina ,and is it what it used to be?