Abbeville oil company seeks tax refund from Vermilion Parish School Board
One Abbeville oil field company is trying to get close to $500,000 in refund from the Vermilion Parish School Board for possibly overpaying sales and use taxes over a four-year period.
Cajun Industries, LLC and Cajun Maritime filed suit against the School Board in hopes of getting a refund of $419,679.
According to the lawsuit, Cajun paid $195,965 in sales and use taxes on certain purchases that it made from 2007 to 2010. Cajun later conducted an internal audit and asserted that those purchases were exempt from taxation because the ships, barges and vessels were used in federal or coastwise interstate commerce.
In 2010, Cajun filed a claim for a refund of $195,965 and the next year, Cajun filed another claim to the School Board for additional refund of $245,855 for sales and use taxes paid in 2010-2011.
In June of 2011, the School Board contacted Cajun and said it was conducting its own audit to verify Cajun’s compliance with Vermilion Parish Sales and use tax ordinance.
A year later, the School Board informed Cajun it was only refunding the company $7,413 on Cajun’s first claim and $14,710 on its second claim. Those refunds were paid.
Cajun did not accept the findings of the School Board. It requested a full refund. After going back and forth and not agreeing, Cajun filed a petition for its refund in the 15th Judicial District Court in May of 2013.
The School Board filed an answer and reconvened against Cajun’s for statutory offset, stating that it expected to find over $100,000 in delinquent taxes, interest and penalties owned by Cajun for the disputed periods, 2007-2011.
Cajun filed a motion to stop the School Board from auditing Cajun’s books from 2007 to 2010.
The lower court ruled in Cajun’s favor and School Board appealed the lower court’s ruling.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeal heard the arguments and ruled in favor of Cajun. The Court of Appeals ruled that because a three-year period from a date requested had passed, the School Board can not seek an audit.