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Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Marks Quarter Century of Service

Louisiana Tax Free Shopping for International Visitors will celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014, with a special offer that makes it more convenient for merchants to participate.
Baton Rouge -- Louisiana Tax Free Shopping for International Visitors (LTFS) will celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014, with a special offer that makes it more convenient for merchants to participate.

LTFS gives international visitors the opportunity to make tax-free purchases at over 900 participating retailers throughout Louisiana. This year, in honor of the 25th anniversary, the membership fee for merchants has been lowered to $25 from $100. Any store wishing to participate should contact LTFS at (504) 484-4739 or visit the member information section at www.louisianataxfree.com.

The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program was created by Act 535 of 1988, introduced by state senators Hank Lauricella, Ben Bagert, and Ken Hollis, and by state representatives Jim Donelon, Woody Jenkins and Charles Lancaster. LTFS Refund Centers processed the first sales tax refunds for international visitors in November 1989.

At its inception, LTFS was the first such program of its kind in the United States and is one of only two in existence today. Subject to a regular review process, the legislature has never failed to renew the program, recognizing its value in generating tourism dollars and promoting the state to a global audience. Visitors enjoy the convenience of applying for the sales tax refund in cash at seven locations throughout the state.

“For 25 years, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping has offered international visitors a wonderful opportunity to shop and support hundreds of merchants around the state,” said LTFS Commission Chairman Steve Windham. “This year we're hoping that the special low participation fee will expand the program, allowing small business owners to enjoy the same benefits that others have for the past quarter century. Participants are listed in our guidebooks, on our website, and receive special promotional material that helps set them apart. Joining LTFS is a true win-win for everyone in Louisiana.”

Added Dawn Johnson, Executive Director of the Louisiana Retailers Association, “Louisiana Tax Free Shopping is a unique program that promotes tourism and encourages international visitors to shop at participating stores in Louisiana. The reduction of membership fees will allow even more Louisiana retailers to participate in the Tax Free Shopping program, which has helped establish Louisiana as a tourism destination for international visitors.”

Since 1989, more than 800,000 international customers have taken advantage of Louisiana Tax Free Shopping and recorded over $600 million in international tax-free sales. Hotel, restaurant and food, and service sales taxes are not refundable.
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