Ad valorem tax collectors collect, and remit or distribute, ad valorem (or property) taxes on behalf of the taxing authorities in the parish.
Sheriffs serve as the ad valorem tax collector in every parish in Louisiana but Orleans. The City of New Orleans serves as the ad valorem tax collector in Orleans Parish.
Louisiana Revised Statute (R.S.) 24:513 B. (1), enacted by Act 711 of the 2010 Legislative Session, was an amendment to the audit law and pertains to the annual reporting requirement of sheriffs to the Legislative Auditor (LLA) regarding ad valorem taxes, and states,
- The accounts and records of each sheriff, in his function as ex officio tax collector, shall be audited in accordance with the provisions of this Section not less than once every year. Upon request, the tax collector shall provide the legislative auditor with a sworn statement of the amounts of cash on hand and taxes collected for the current year, with an itemized statement of all taxes assessed and uncollected. The statement shall include the reason for his failure to collect.
LLA has determined that for the purpose of complying with this provision of the law, the audit reports of sheriffs for fiscal years ending on or after June 30, 2011 shall include the following information:
- The amount of cash on hand in the tax collector account at year end
- The amount of taxes collected for the current year, by taxing authority
- An itemized statement of all taxes assessed and uncollected, indicating the reason for the failure to collect these taxes, by taxing authority
- A sworn statement, signed by the sheriff, attesting to the correctness of the information in the first three bullets
- Any other local auditee or vendor that collects and distributes ad valorem taxes on behalf of a taxing authority shall have its tax collection and distribution fund audited annually and distribute a copy of the audit report to the legislative auditor and each taxing authority for which it collects taxes. The audit report shall include a sworn statement of the gross amount of taxes to be collected, any deductions made from the tax rolls, the amount of taxes collected, and the taxes distributed to the taxing authorities. The statement shall detail any taxes on hand at the end of the reporting period, the amounts of such balance belonging to the taxing authorities, the amounts of collections related to current tax collections, the amounts relating to prior year taxes, the amounts of any interest and penalties collected and disbursed, the extent to which the prior year tax collections relate to collection and audit efforts, and the reason, if any, for failure to collect. The statement shall include other disclosures as may be determined necessary by the legislative auditor.
LLA has prepared an illustrative sworn statement or affidavit that may be included in the audit report of a sheriff to comply with this provision of the law. The affidavits for sheriffs and the City may be included in a supplemental schedule in the audit report; the other required information is usually included in the notes to the audited financial statements.