Tax refund center opens at Macy’s

A tax-free shopping refund center for international visitors to Louisiana is opening Tuesday inside Macy’s department store at the Mall of Louisiana on Bluebonnet Boulevard, the state revenue department announced.

Hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. seven days a week.

The refund center processes the paperwork for eligible shoppers to receive cash refunds for sales taxes under the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program for International Visitors.

The Baton Rouge refund center joins existing locations in Metairie, New Orleans, Kenner, Lafayette and Shreveport.

The program has assisted more than 600,000 international visitors spending more than $500 million dollars while shopping in Louisiana, the revenue department said.

Workshop to focus on global business

The LSU Louisiana Business and Technology Center will present “Louisiana Going Global,” a workshop on business expansion in international markets and trade, 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the LBTC at 8000 GSRI Ave., Building 3000.

The workshop is free and registration begins at 11 a.m.

Topics include why businesses should export to Latin America, steps to creating an export plan and preparation for international trading of products and services.

For more information or to register, call (225) 578-7555 or contact Shannon McCormick at smccormick@lsu.edu or Daniel Vlosky at dvlosk2@lsu.edu.

Discussion set on wireless plans

The LSU AgCenter will host a roundtable discussion 10 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. Oct. 24 to inform consumers about the importance of technology and how to make informed choices in the selection and use of wireless plans.

The program will be offered via distance education from the LSU AgCenter Baton Rouge campus and can be viewed:

•In Acadia Parish at 157 Cherokee Drive, Crowley; phone (337) 788-8821.

•In St. Tammany Parish at 1301 N. Florida St., Covington; phone (985) 875-2635.

Seating is limited. Online registration is available at:

•Baton Rouge: wirelessedcmlbatonrouge.eventbrite.com

•Crowley: wirelessedcmlacadia.eventbrite.com.

•St. Tammany: wirelessedcmlsttammany.eventbrite.com.

More information on the program is available online at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/connectmyla.

Speaker to present La. economic outlook

Loren C. Scott, Louisiana economist and professor emeritus at LSU, will present his “Louisiana Economic Outlook for 2012-2013” Thursday at Cypress Columns at 157 Tourist Drive in Gray.

Registration opens at 11:30 a.m., with the luncheon program at noon.

The program is sponsored by Coastal Commerce Bank and South Louisiana Economic Council in cooperation with the Louisiana Economic Development department.

The cost is $45. The registration deadline is Monday.

Register by faxing (985) 448-4486 with your name, company, address, email, phone and fax or go online to the South Louisiana Economic Council website at http://www.bayouregion.com.

Crawfish company receives grant

Cash’s Louisiana Crawfish LLC in Port Allen was selected to receive a $48,851 grant for energy-efficiency improvements funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses.

USDA Rural Development received more than $547,000 total that went to seven agricultural producers and small businesses in Louisiana to promote energy-efficiency improvements and job creation, said Clarence W. Hawkins, state director of USDA Rural Development.

Claim center takes unemployment calls

The Louisiana Workforce Commission announced that its Unemployment Insurance Claim Center will take calls on weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to have more staff members available to handle calls during peak times.

The claim center assists people who are filing for unemployment insurance benefits. Services include filing of new, renewed and extended benefit claims, as well as information on claims filing.The center’s phone number is (866) 783-5567. Services also are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at http://www.laworks.net.

IRS has new worker classification program

The Internal Revenue Service launched a new program that will enable many employers to resolve past worker classification issues by voluntarily reclassifying their workers.

The new “Fresh Start” initiative will allow employers the opportunity to get into compliance by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit.

Employers accepted into the program will pay an amount equaling just more than 1 percent of the wages paid to the reclassified workers for the past year. No interest or penalties will be due, and the employers will not be audited on payroll taxes related to these workers for prior years. Participating employers will, for the first three years under the program, be subject to a special six-year statute of limitations, rather than the usual three years that generally applies to payroll taxes.

Full details are available on the Employment Tax pages of http://www.irs.gov, and in Announcement 2011-64.