Acadiana Business

Get the lowdown on tax credits Wednesday at LITE

by Leslie Turk

"Tax credits offer a unique way for businesses to generate capital without sacrificing equity," says Clay Allen of Allen & Gooch law firm, sponsor of Wednesday's event. The Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Opportunity Machine are hosting a tax credit symposium Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at LITE on Cajundome Boulevard. The event, sponsored by Allen & Gooch law firm, is free and open to the public. It aims to educate executives about the opportunity to use state tax credits to fuel job creation and offset tax liability.

"Tax credits offer a unique way for businesses to generate capital without sacrificing equity," says attorney Clay Allen, managing partner Allen & Gooch, in a press release. "Whether you are a start-up firm trying to get your product off the ground, an established local business looking to expand, or an out-of-state company considering a relocation, Louisiana tax credits are a powerful economic tool to help reach your goals."

Led by tax attorneys, accountants, former Louisiana regulators and other experts in the field of tax credits, the symposium will touch on all the vital elements of the tax credit ecosystem (CPAs who attend will get continuing professional education credit).

Topics to be covered during the half-day session include:
    Overview of the tax credit landscape in Louisiana
    The legal landscape around tax credits
    Who is eligible to apply for tax credits
    The new, transparent marketplace for the trading of credits
    Case studies on the positive economic impact tax credits have had on Louisiana businesses

Historically, according to symposium organizers, only very large businesses have utilized the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits issued in the state each year. They say while the energy and entertainment industries have long been recipients of these credits, there are thousands of small to medium-sized businesses that are eligible to make use of these powerful tools.

"Louisiana issues approximately $300 million in transferable tax credits each year, providing an opportunity for businesses to use these credits to create jobs and grow in the state," says Danny Bigel, founder and chief executive officer of The Online Incentives Exchange, in the release. "If a tax credit is earned but the company does not have a tax liability, they can sell the credits to increase liquidity, while helping another Louisiana business offset their tax liability."

Mike Olivier, the state's former secretary of Economic Development, believes tax credits are a vital economic tool, particularly in Louisiana: "This symposium aims to help businesses, large and small, understand the value and opportunity that state tax credits provide as well as provide a road map to take advantage of these vital programs."

Speakers confirmed for the event include:
    Olivier, now CEO of the Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Inc.
    Sherri McConnell, principal, McConnell & Associates Consulting, former executive director of Louisiana's Office of Entertainment Industry Development
    Danny Bigel, CEO and co-founder of The Online Incentives Exchange
    John Munsell, CEO and co-founder of Lafayette-based Bizzuka Inc.
    Ron Bienvenue, CEO of the Louisiana Buyout Fund
    Richard Matheny, partner, Phelps Dunbar LLP in Baton Rouge
    Heath Williams, director of Digital Media and Software Incentive Program for Louisiana Entertainment

To learn more about the symposium or to register for the free event, click here.