Clerical error cited in tax credit dispute

A Baton Rouge marketer of state film tax credits maintains a clerical error caused one of his customers to lose $57,617 on state film tax credits that already had been sold to another person.

Samuel Jason Hewitt, 40, said in an email that he intends to repay the debt to David L. Fabre, 56, who recently filed suit against Hewitt in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.

But Hewitt did not say when he expects to retire that debt, adding he mistakenly sent the credits to John B. Fabre, 58.

Brett P. Furr, an attorney who represents David Fabre in the litigation against Hewitt, said Wednesday that John Fabre is David Fabre’s older brother.

“He (Hewitt) said he was going to pay it back (in the past), but he didn’t,” Furr added. “We’d be delighted to have him pay (David Fabre) back, but it hasn’t happened.”

Hewitt said in an email late Tuesday: “Once I was able to identify the issue, I transferred tax credits to John Fabre, which satisfied his 2009 (tax) issue, and transferred the $18,571 in tax credits I had immediately available to David Fabre.”

The problem surfaced in 2013, Hewitt said, when John Fabre notified him that his 2009 film tax credits had not been properly transferred to him.

“I was able to come to the conclusion that specifically in the (brothers’) cases that both had purchased tax credits for multiple years within a short time frame, (and) an error was made in our record keeping, which resulted in the recording of a single transaction instead of two.”

In addition, Hewitt said, “I am awaiting the certification of a number of projects by the state film office, which will allow me to transfer the remaining amounts of credits owed to Mr. (David) Fabre.”

Hewitt did not reply Wednesday to telephone and email requests for additional comment on the dispute.

In his email Tuesday night, though, Hewitt said: “There was never any intention of harming Mr. (David) Fabre, as I had previously sold him tax credits without any issue, and I am regretful that we are in this current situation.

“I have never denied that Mr. Fabre is owed the balance and fully intend to satisfy the outstanding amount owed to him,” Hewitt concluded.

David Fabre says in his court suit that he paid Hewitt $61,600 for $70,000 in film tax credits that were to be applied to his 2009 state tax debt.

Last year, however, David Fabre received a bill from the Louisiana Department of Revenue for $98,134 in taxes and interest owed for 2009, according to the suit.

David Fabre added in his suit he confronted Hewitt, who then forwarded him $18,571 in usable film tax credits. A 2013 state tax amnesty enabled forgiveness of half of the interest owed on the 2009 tax debt, according to the suit.

David Fabre added he still lost $57,617 in taxes that should have been covered by the tax credits purchased from Hewitt.

On Tuesday, Furr said David Fabre “basically had to pay the tax twice — once to Hewitt and again to the state.”

The case is pending in the court of state District Judge Kay Bates.