APPEAL FROM THE BOARD OF TAX APPEAL, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO.
L00214, LOUISIANA BOARD OF TAX APPEALS
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, FMT SHIPYARD & REPAIR,
LLC Jason R. Brown William J. Kolarik, II
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, JOSEPH P. LOPINTO, III,
SHERIFF AND EX-OFFICIO TAX COLLECTOR, JEFFERSON PARISH AND
JEFFERSON PARISH BUREAU OF REVENUE AND TAXATION Kenneth C.
composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Robert A. Chaisson, and
Stephen J. Windhorst
A. CHAISSON JUDGE
FMT Shipyard & Repair, LLC ("FMT"), appeals a
final judgment of the Louisiana Board of Tax Appeals - Local
Division ("the Board") that denied its petition for
redetermination of taxes owed, rendering judgment in favor of
the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish, as Tax Collector ("the
Sheriff"), and against FMT, in the amount of $23,
800.00, plus applicable penalties and attorney's fees.
For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the
Board of Tax Appeals.
& PROCEDURAL HISTORY
operates a shipyard in Harvey, Louisiana, where it performs
various services and repairs to floating ships and barges
that are used in the inland waterways of the United States of
America. Its principal business is performing repairs to
vessel hulls, as well as various other steel repairs, for the
purposes of returning vessels to seaworthiness. The work is
performed on-site at its Harvey shipyard. In connection with
these repairs, FMT fabricates certain parts, such as
propeller shafts, rudders, rudder shafts, and stairwells.
Each of these parts is typically unique to the vessel being
began operating in Jefferson Parish in 2008. At that time,
and throughout the taxable period at issue, 2010 to 2013, FMT
registered and paid occupational license taxes
("OLT") under the "contractor"
designation as set forth in Jefferson Parish Code Ordinance
("J.P. Code Ord.") Sec. 35-182. Under this
classification, FMT paid OLT in the amount of $700.00 per
2015, the Sheriff conducted an audit of FMT for the tax years
2010 through 2013 and determined that FMT should have paid
its OLT under the classification of "shipbuilder"
as provided by J.P. Code Ord. Sec. 35-175, which imposed a
higher OLT rate than that of the "contractor"
classification. Following the audit, on December 23, 2015,
the Sheriff sent a Notice of Delinquent Taxes -Formal
Assessment to FMT, which claimed a total OLT deficiency of
$41, 015.88, consisting of $23, 800.00 in tax, $11, 265.88 in
interest, and $5, 950.00 in penalties for the taxable
January 15, 2016, FMT timely filed with the Louisiana Board
of Tax Appeals a petition for redetermination of the Sheriffs
OLT assessment. In its petition, FMT claims that during the
taxable period it erroneously, but not improperly, claimed to
be a "contractor" while it should have been
classified as a "manufacturer" and is therefore
exempt from all OLT liability. The Sheriff filed an answer
and reconventional demand in which he rejected FMT's
claim to be a manufacturer and demanded attorney's fees
in addition to the total amount of tax, interest, and penalty
a hearing on the matter during which both parties introduced
documentary evidence and testimony from accountants and
auditors, the Board rendered judgment with written reasons
denying FMT's petition for redetermination and further
rendered judgment in favor of the Sheriff in the amount of
$23, 800.00 in tax and $5, 950.00 in penalty, together with
interest and 10% attorney's fees on the amount of tax,
penalty, and interest due.
appeal, FMT raises numerous assignments of error which may be
generally summarized: first, the Board legally erred in
failing to classify FMT as either a
"manufacturer"" or, in the alternative, as a
simple "contractor" for purposes of the Jefferson
Parish OLT; and second, the Board legally erred in failing to
rule that the Jefferson ...