Your Guide To Filing Taxes For Your Bar Or Restaurant In Louisiana

by in Lifestyle
Louisiana vendor certification

So you have a bar or restaurant in Louisiana and have obtained your Louisiana vendor certification already. The next thing you have in mind is the intricate maze of tax laws and regulations that can be daunting, especially if you own a bar or restaurant in Louisiana.

But don’t worry; if you have a better understanding of the local tax environment and its implications on the business, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions that could save your hard-earned money.

In this guide, you will know the taxable items in Louisiana that restaurant owners must pay. You will also know how to file taxes for a restaurant or bar business, which can be a challenging process that will ensure compliance and avoid any potential legal complications down the line.

So sit back and better understand the complexities of the tax obligations for you!

What You Need to Know About Restaurant Taxes in Louisiana


In Louisiana, you must understand more about your restaurant business and know that it isn’t just subject to federal taxes; you’ll also be dealing with state and potentially local taxes as well.

As a bar or restaurant owner, you’re responsible for multiple types of taxes, such as sales tax, alcohol beverage tax, withholding tax, and unemployment insurance tax, just like how you prepare when you obtain a Louisiana vendor certification.

It’s important to keep an accurate record, file all forms needed on time, and avoid penalties or audits. There’s this Alcohol Beverage Tax, an important factor every time you sell alcoholic beverages in an establishment. 

So, as an employer in Louisiana’s hospitality industry, you need to withhold state income tax from employees’ wages, and you also have responsibilities related to Unemployment Insurance Tax which ensures workers are protected if they lose their jobs.

In this article, you will understand the different facets of taxation to help ensure you comply with Louisiana’s laws and regulations.

Are Food and Groceries Taxable in Louisiana?


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Bet you didn’t know that food for home consumption and groceries are generally tax-exempt in Louisiana! That’s right, most food items purchased at grocery stores for preparation and consumption at home are not subject to sales tax. 

But what about drinks? In Louisiana, beverages like alcohol are indeed taxable. As a bar owner, keeping track of the taxes is important as they can significantly impact your bottom line.

The key here is understanding the items that fall under the ‘taxable’ category and which ones do not. That way, you can accurately calculate your total tax obligations without surprises when tax time comes. Remember that the laws can change occasionally, so it pays to stay on top of them or seek advice from a professional who does.

Types of Taxes Needed to Be Paid by Restaurant Owners


In Louisiana, other than the Louisiana vendor certificate, the state sales tax collection on all food and drinks sold in your establishment includes both the dine-in and takeaway orders. 

Last but equally important is the property tax if you own the building where your bar or restaurant operates. This rate varies across parishes in Louisiana, so be sure to check with local authorities for specific rates applicable to your business location.

Are Meals and Beverages Taxable in Louisiana?

It doesn’t matter if your establishment provides dine-in services, takeout, or delivery; all meals are subject to tax. The same goes for the drinks – whether it’s a craft cocktail enjoyed at your bar or a simple soda grabbed on the go, it attracts sales tax too!

Don’t forget about special events where you do catering, for they’re taxable too! Knowing these laws will help ensure your business remains compliant with state regulations while maintaining profitability. 

After all, understanding how much money needs to be set aside for taxes helps prevent under-budgeting or surprise losses due to unanticipated tax obligations.

How to File Taxes for Restaurant and Bar Businesses in Louisiana?


Going through the tax waters might seem intimidating, but it’s not as complicated as you’d think when filing for food and drink establishments in Louisiana.

First, you must obtain a Louisiana Sales Tax ID from the Department of Revenue. You can apply this online through their Louisiana Taxpayer Access Point (LaTAP) system. Also, remember that you must file and pay your sales taxes on time; otherwise, penalties will be applied.

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The current state-wide rate is 4%, plus any additional local parish or city taxes. For alcohol-related taxes, alcoholic beverages sold at retail establishments are also subject to state and local excise taxes; these rates depend on the alcoholic beverage being sold.

As for food tax, the state doesn’t charge sales tax on grocery-type foods served in restaurants; however, some cities/parishes may levy their taxes on restaurant meals, so be sure to check your local regulations too.

With all these in mind, you must diligently track all transactions because accuracy is important, especially during audits or inspections by the Department of Revenue. With careful planning and organization, managing your bar or restaurant’s taxes in Louisiana will be a piece of cake. 

What are the Consequences of Not Filing Taxes?

Should you disregard the legal obligation of filing taxes, you must be prepared for repercussions that may significantly impact your financial health. 

The Louisiana Department of Revenue takes tax evasion seriously and imposes heavy penalties on businesses that fail to comply with their tax obligations. This includes hefty fines, levies on your business income or property, and the potential for criminal charges.

Depending upon the severity of the violation, these penalties can range from 5% to 25% of the underpaid tax amount if filed late, in addition to interest accrued since your original due date.

Moreover, these legal issues can destroy your business reputation and cause a potential loss in clientele and revenue. In this highly competitive hospitality industry, where trust plays a pivotal role in attracting and retaining customers, such negative publicity can damage your bar or restaurant business in Louisiana.

That said, restaurant owners must adhere strictly to all state and federal tax laws and should not only be seen as a legal duty but also an essential part of managing a successful hospitality enterprise.


So, you’ve already got a good handle on the tax landscape for Louisiana’s bars and restaurants. It’s important to understand your obligations, from taxing meals and beverages to filing correctly.

Don’t let the consequences of not obtaining a Louisiana vendor certificate or filing catch up with you. Stay informed, stay compliant, and keep your business thriving in Louisiana’s vibrant hospitality industry.

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Louisiana vendor certification