LSU Could Owe $750,000 in Meal Plan Back Taxes

State's tax law changed years ago, but no one seemed to notice. Other schools could be affected, too.

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Louisiana State University may owe $750,000 for three years of back taxes for meal plans, the Daily Reveille reports. For years, LSU and other schools in the state enjoyed a special meal plans exemption from the 4 percent sales tax, but some time ago, the state legislature suspended that exemption. No one at the schools noticed—until now.

"I was shocked," LSU's associate vice chancellor for accounting said. "Now we have this huge tax bill we were told we weren't going to have."

Colleges will start charging the 4 percent sales tax on meal plans in January. The tax will cost current LSU students an extra $37.50 for the spring semester, but officials say it is impossible to track down students from previous years. The university may end up having to pay those costs.

Meanwhile, the University of Louisiana system says the private food-service providers—Aramark, Chartwells, and Sodexo—should be liable for the back taxes. "We're not the provider of the service," [the UL system vice president for business and finance] said. "We're not providing the food."