Louisiana Solar Help – For Taxpayers Denied State Credit

Are you a solar homeowner affected by changes in the Louisiana solar tax credit? Please see bottom of page for resources and to register as an affected taxpayer.

NOTE: GSREIA provides these resources for informational purposes only. All taxpayers are encouraged to contact a qualified tax advisor such as a cpa or tax attorney to review their specific tax and credit situation.

Update June 28, 2017:

Governor Edwards today signed HB 187 into law: Act 413, providing funding for taxpayers denied their solar tax credits from year 2015 and prior.

Act 413 provides up to $5 million per year over the next 3-4 years to pay all valid claims for the residential solar purchase tax credit for installations through December 31, 2015. Claims will be paid over 3-4 years, and interest may be paid starting in 2017. Credit claimants should not have to re-file for the credit, but if a denial letter was not received, applicants may need to ensure their complete credit documents were received and processed in full.

Department of Revenue details on Act 413  

Please take a moment to Thank Legislators and Governor for HB187

Update May 26, 2017:
The Louisiana Legislature is in full swing, and HB187 by Representative Cromer is the bill that is carrying the fixes to the 2015 retroactive tax credit problem. If you have not contacted your representatives and senators already, do so right now: LA Solar Works Tax Credit Action. The next action is in Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 12:30pm at the Louisiana state capitol building. Agenda can be found here.

Update March 5, 2017:
The Louisiana Legislature Regular Session will begin April 10, 2017. Make sure that legislators and governor have heard from all constituents ahead of session and during session, and encourage them to fix the broken tax credit program. This easy resource is available for Louisiana citizens to contact their representatives with just a few clicks: LA Solar Works Tax Credit Action.

Update November 20, 2016:
The Louisiana CPA Association has posted resources for individuals denied the state credit. Please see their page here for more information: LCPA Solar Credit Page

This page provides resources for Louisiana taxpayers affected by the 2015 Louisiana Legislature Act 131, which made a retroactive change to the state’s solar tax credit program.

In July 2015 the Louisiana Legislature changed the state solar tax credit significantly. The credit changed to a first-come first-served basis regardless of installation date, and caps were applied to annual payments for the program. No consideration was given for homeowners who purchased solar systems before the July 2015 date when the law went into effect, and as a result, the program has been reported as overspent by the state Department of Revenue ( http://revenue.louisiana.gov/NewsAndPublications/PressReleaseDetails/5435 ).

As a result of the underfunded 2015 credit and lack of action in 2016 at the state legislature, approximately 1200-1500 taxpayers have been denied solar credits. This includes many homeowners who legitimately installed before the law changed in July 2015 and who are impacted retroactively. Many solar families also use short-term loans to bridge the tax credit payment period, and must pay back loans before Fall 2016 or face steep penalties or default.

Media and state officials have  been slow to recognize the importance of this issue after months of appeals by GSREIA and solar advocates. GSREIA continues to encourage solar supporters and taxpayers to contact their legislators and Governor immediately to ensure the state meets its commitment to all those who legitimately purchased solar before July 2015.

If you are a taxpayer, it is important that you consider the following: 

  1. Assess the details of any short-term loans and refinance if necessary
  2. Ensure you have received final notice from LDR of your credit status (to be paid in 2016, paid in 2017, or denied). Denied notices must be received as certified mail. 
  3. Consider filing an appeal with the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals immediately – you have 60 days for the BTA to receive this appeal. 
  4. Contact legislators and governor now and during the legislative session

How can you help? Whether you are directly affected or not, please write and call  legislators and governor as soon as possible and tell them to fix the retroactive cuts to the Solar Tax Credit Program. The message should be simple: Don’t leave legitimate taxpayers stranded who followed the rules in place before July 2015 and trusted the state to meet its obligations.

Find legislators at this link:
https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx

And Contact the Governor’s Constituent Help Line:
(225)342-0991 or (844)860-1413

Please call and write now.

You may also write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Links to major state newspapers: 

NOLA.COM: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/42715123258956#incart_opinion

The Advocate: https://www.theadvocate.com/site/forms/online_services/letter_editor/

Are you a homeowner affected by this retroactive change? Please complete the form below to register as an affected taxpayer. All further developments and opportunities for resolution will be communicated to registered taxpayers. GSREIA is working to bring the voices of affected owners together for greater acknowledgement by our elected officials and to help accelerate a solution.

What is known as of 10/1/2016: 

  • Most solar owners have received notices from the department of revenue stating the “period” that their return fell in, whether 2015-2016, 2016-2017, or 2017-2018. All those approved for a credit except the 2017-2018 year should have received refunds by 9/30/16.
  • All other applicants should have received credit denial notices via certified mail. If you have not received a notice informing of the period, denial, or next steps for your refund, you should contact the department ASAP to ensure that your credit filing was received and processed.

Steps if you are affected by the retroactive credit change: 

  • If you have not yet filed your Louisiana state tax return and R-1086 Solar Tax Credit form for 2015 or before, do so immediately. Seek a qualified accountant and gather the necessary documentation from your solar installer to complete the forms accurately. The 2015 R1086 can be found here: R1086 2015
  • Register As A Credit Denied Taxpayer Using the Form Below
  • If you have a typical short-term loan from a consumer finance firm to help pay for solar:
    • Notify lenders of the credit situation IMMEDIATELY and request their assistance.
    • Arrange an alternate funding source for at least one year while the state determines its ability to pay credits
    • Common funding sources for longer term loans that may involve more favorable terms:
      • Home equity loans from your bank or mortgage company
      • 401k loans that allow low-interest borrowing against retirement
      • Secured personal property loans from a bank or credit union
        • At least one financial firm has indicated a willingness to help affected families refinance solar panels, ASI Federal Credit Union. Contact ASI by phone at (504) 733-7274, option 3, or on its website at www.asifcu.org
      • Low or no interest balance transfer offers from credit card firms
    • GSREIA does not endorse or sponsor specific financial firms, but provides this resource for informational purposes only.
  • Contact your legislators and Governor (contact info above) to request they remedy the situation, and ask relatives and friends to do the same.
  • If you have received a denial letter from Department of Revenue:
    • Consult an experienced tax attorney on next steps
    • Follow instructions listed on the rejection paperwork to “appeal” the rejection to the Board of Tax Appeals.
    • More information on the Board of Tax Appeals can be found here: http://labta.louisiana.gov/faq.html

Affected Taxpayer Registration

Please complete this form to register as an affected taxpayer from the 2015 Louisiana Solar Tax Credit shortfall. An acknowledgement will be sent within 48 hours.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Solar Installation Date

Tax Filing Date

Solar Installation Company

LA Dept of Revenue Response

Other Notes

 

Files:

LDR Waiver of Penalties

LDR Abatement of Interest

 

News and other updates: 

GSREIA conversation with LDR staff on 8/9/2016:

Payments for 2016-2017 recipients will commence immediately and be paid out by September 30, 2016. A new Revenue Information Bulletin (RIB) will be issued imminently to explain the change in policy on automatic future payments. All further credit recipients will  be paid approximately one year from now (2017-2018 group). Approximately 1400 credit applicants are in the process of receiving certified denial notices by mail. Taxpayers should observe the instructions in this denial letter and submit a petition to the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) if they feel the denial is not accurate or fair.

Further information was published in a nola.com article on 8/2/2016: ”
“[LDR chief Kimberly] Robinson said taxpayers who are denied a credit will be able to appeal the decision before the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals. Directions on how to do so will be included in denial letters sent to taxpayers, she said.”

New information was published on approximately 7/18/16 by the State regarding the Solar Tax Credit Program. A press release was issued by the Department of Revenue, saying:

“Consumers purchasing residential solar energy systems from this point forward should not expect to receive tax credits from the state.” as well as

“The Department is currently reviewing previously submitted claims and the amount of approved credits and claims under review exceeds the funds available to pay claims on solar energy systems by $14 million.”

(Full text can be found here: http://revenue.louisiana.gov/NewsAndPublications/PressReleaseDetails/5435 )