Acadiana Business

Dillard's scores partial win in tax case

by Walter Pierce

First Circuit rules customer catalogues are not subject to state's use tax.

Dillard's Louisiana department stores won a partial victory in its appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of the Louisiana Department of Revenue. The case goes back to a 1997 LDR imposition of a use tax against Dillard's for catalogues printed by an out-of-state company and mailed directly to Dillard's credit card holders in Louisiana as well as to Dillard's department stores in the state. The bill, including interest, totalled more than $153,000, which the company paid under protest on Dec. 22, 1997, the day before it filed an appeal in the case.

A lower court last year granted LDR a summary judgement in the case. However, citing Louisiana tax law precedent, the First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge ruled that the use tax applies only to the catalogues distributed in Dillard's department stores, not to the catalogues mailed to the credit card holders. (It's unclear, as the First Circuit ruling indicates, what percentage of catalogues were mailed to credit card holders; those figures were not submitted as evidence in the appeal.) The First Circuit remanded the case back to the lower court for a recalculation of Dillard's tax liability.

Dillard's Louisiana operates 15 stores in the state.

Read the First Circuit ruling here.