By: Jeremy Alford
As painful as it might be for some, filing your state income tax return could soon take on a sense of purpose if lawmakers approve a special check-off box for coastal restoration donations. You already have the option, when filling out your individual income tax return, to donate all or part of your refund to military families, scholarship funds, animal-related programs, cancer trusts, housing initiatives and community-based health-care funds. Senate Bill 697 would create another check-off box for contributions to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, which is used to bankroll a variety of projects ranging from freshwater diversions to barrier island maintenance. While its difficult to estimate how much support taxpayers might put into the fund, it would be required by law to bring in at least $10,000 annually over a two-year period to remain on tax forms. Otherwise, it would be taken off. As for costs to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, its allowed by the legislation to take as much as 20 percent of all donations to put toward data processing, accounting and other functions. If passed, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2009 just in time for your 2008 tax returns.