Louisiana companies and individuals cut their state tax bills by almost $5 billion from 2005 through 2010 by claiming coverage under the state’s 464 tax credits and exemptions, the Legislative Auditor’s Office said in a new report issued March 5.

Companies lowered their liabilities by more than half over the six-year period.

The auditor’s report said companies that would have paid $5.8 billion in state taxes paid $3 billion. Individual taxpayers reduced their $16.5 billion of liabilities by $1.8 billion.

It is not known by how much the state benefited from the allowances, according to the report.

“State law does not require agencies that administer tax credits and other exemptions to track and report their return on investment,” the report said. Fourteen state agencies are entitled by law to provide exemptions and credits.

Most of the corporate tax cuts were provided to only a few large entities, the report said. Five operators received 78% of the state’s motion-picture investor tax credits in 2009, and another five accounted for 94% of the tax credits allowed that year for research and development.

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