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August 12, 2022

Mt. Hermon Farm Family Wins Lawsuit Over Taxes Filed by Sheriff

On October 1, 2021 Randy "Country" Seal, as Sheriff and Ex-Officio Tax Collector of Washington Parish, filed suit against Jason Smith, Individually; Nathan Smith, Individually; Ellen Donaldson, Individually; Walter W. Smith, Individually; Dianne W. Smith, Individually; and Walter Smith Family Farm, LLC. The Sheriff asserted that the defendants (hereafter referred to as SMITH) owed sales taxes of $38,609.92 for the sale of beef products sold by SMITH and contended that the sales by SMITH were of beef products and not livestock and therefore not exempt. 

LA RS:47:305(A)(1), states “The gross proceeds derived from the sale in this state of livestock, poultry, and other farm products direct from the farm are exempted from the tax levied by taxing authorities, provided that such sales are made directly by the producers. When sales of livestock, poultry, and other farm products are made to consumers by any person other than the producer, they are not exempted from the tax imposed by taxing authorities.” 

After considering the above statute and other relevant law and after considering arguments by both the Sheriff and SMITH, 22nd JDC Judge Alan Zaunbrecher on July 19, 2022 rendered a decision in favor of SMITH, denying the Rule to Cease Business filed by the Sheriff and finding that SMITH and intervenor Angus Lane, LLC are exempt from sales and use tax.

On August 11, 2022, Sheriff Seal responded to the ruling, stating that he “filed the lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Washington Parish, all of whom benefit from the collection of sales tax which is distributed to various recipients, including school systems, parish and municipal governments, law enforcement agencies and other entities as specified by law. The litigation was filed on the advice of counsel and with no animus against any parish business” and that he “will abide by the court’s decision and plans no appeal.”

An excellent article was published on August 11, 2022 by Victoria G. Myers, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor. The article includes much more detail and perspective from Jason Smith. Click here to read the article

Another article was published on August 11, 2022 by Kevin Gallagher, Louisiana Radio Network, which provides perspective from Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain. Click here to read the article

To see the Court's REASONS FOR JUDGMENT, Click "Read more" below

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