Louisiana Declines to Tax Legal Services

Louisiana merchants typically must collect sales tax when selling tangible, physical products to a consumer. However, the state does not collect sales tax from all individuals who provide “services” (as opposed to tangible products). While Louisiana does tax some services, see La. R.S. § 47:3014, it does not tax legal services.

Representative Mark Wright attempted to change this through House Bill 605, which he proposed during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. The legislature referred his bill to the Committee on Ways and Means in April of 2021. The Louisiana State Bar Association opposed HB 605. Ultimately, the bill did not pass.

This should come as a relief to Louisiana lawyers and their clients. Most states do not tax professional services. See A State-by-State Analysis of Service Taxability (avalara.com). Moreover, as a normative matter, the state should not tax individuals for simply exercising or defending their legal rights. Many people already struggle to access the civil justice system because of the need to pay costs and legal fees. Forcing clients to pay sales tax on top of legal fees would have further impaired their ability to access the court system.

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