Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program Celebrates Twenty Years
                                                        of Serving International Visitors

BATON ROUGE (January 27, 2009) - The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program (LTFS) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009. Louisiana was the first state to initiate a program of this type, offering international visitors tax-free shopping while traveling within the state.

The LTFS Program gives international visitors the opportunity to make tax-free purchases at more than 900 participating retailers throughout Louisiana. Visitors enjoy the convenience of applying for the sales tax refund in cash at four locations throughout the state.

Since 1989, more than 600,000 international customers have taken advantage of Louisiana Tax Free Shopping and recorded over $500 million in international tax-free sales. Hotel, restaurant, and service sales taxes are not refundable. In February of 2008 the University of New Orleans conducted a study to determine the economic impact of LTFS on Louisiana’s economy. It determined that LTFS generated $1.4 million in new state sales tax revenue in 2007. In addition, the program’s total economic impact on the State of Louisiana was $45.1 million. The figure includes both direct and indirect spending by international visitors.

”There is no doubt that Louisiana Tax Free Shopping has been a boon for our state’s economy,” says Cynthia Bridges, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. “The program’s 20-year record of success speaks for itself.”

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.

“This groundbreaking program promotes both tourism and retail trade globally for the state and has become one more reason for international travelers to visit Louisiana,” said Eugene Schreiber, Managing Director of the World Trade Center of New Orleans and chairman of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission since its inception.

For more information, please contact:
Denise Thevenot
Executive Director, LTFS
(504) 568-5248 phone
(504) 458-8258 cell

Mr. Eugene Schreiber
Chairman, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Commission
(504) 529-1601 ext. 227 phone