The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued Chief Counsel Ruling 2017-01 on August 2, 2017, regarding market-based sourcing rules for performance of "non-marketing" services. Where a subcontractor performed administrative or non-marketing business services for a health plan client, the members or sponsors of the health plan are not considered the direct customers of that subcontractor, but rather only the health plan entity.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently released an update on the current state tax filing season. The number of personal returns that were e-filed in 2017 increased by one percentage point as compared to 2016 (88% in 2017, and 87% in 2016). Some 133,400 people used CalFile to file returns this year, and 95% of CalFile users found that the program was easy to use and understand.
The Franchise Tax Board has updated its cost recovery fees, which are assessed against individuals and business entities when they fail to file tax returns upon demand or fail to pay their delinquent taxes. The filing enforcement fee for individuals and most entities will be $84, and the collection fee will be $287. For corporations and LLC's treated as corporations, the filing enforcement fee will be $85 and the collection fee $374.
We experienced an original success this month, trying a new approach to a very old problem. Businesses that register with the California Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) must, among other things, file annual income tax returns with the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and pay either the appropriate amount of income tax due based on the business' California net income, or pay a minimum $800 franchise tax, whichever is larger. Frequently, a taxpayer may set up a business but ultimately abandon the idea before ever operating the business. Or, sometimes a business ceases to operate, but the requisite documents are not correctly filed with the SOS, leaving the FTB to believe the business is still active. Many years may pass before the would-be business owner realizes an annual $800 franchise fee has been assessed against the business, along with additional penalties and interest.
Remember: The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) changed the tax return due dates for returns filed by business entities. The original return date is now April 15 for calendar-year filers (one month later than it used to be), and the 15th day of the 4th month following the close of the taxable year for fiscal-year filers. The extended due dates remain unchanged.
In December a three-judge California appellate panel affirmed a superior court ruling finding that Comcast lacked a unitary relationship with OVC, Inc., and was therefore entitled to a $3 million refund. However, the court also affirmed the trial court's holding that Comcast owed tax on a $1.5 billion termination fee.
California Rev. and Tax Code section 23101 defines what it means to do business in California, including a sales threshold for taxpayers not physically located in the state. A taxpayer is considered to be doing business in California "if it actively engages in any transaction for the purpose of financial or pecuniary gain or profit" where any one of a number of conditions are satisfied, including having $54,771 in real and tangible personal property (originally $50,000), $54,771 in payroll (originally $50,000), and $547,711 in sales (originally $500,000) in the state for taxable year 2016.
Next year, the due dates for various federal tax returns will change based upon the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41). California Assembly Bill 1775 was passed to conform the due dates of related state tax returns to the federal dates. In 2017, the following changes will take place:
The California Franchise Tax Board recently announced that it will be increasing the interest rate for personal, corporate, and franchise taxes from three to four percent beginning January 1, 2017. The rate for corporation tax overpayments will remain zero percent. The interest rate has not changed since July 1, 2012.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) implemented a "no cash" policy in its field offices effective September 1, 2015. However, recognizing that this could create a hardship for some taxpayers, the FTB has established an exemption policy effective July 1, 2016. Taxpayers may sign a No Cash Policy Exemption Request form and submit it to the FTB with an explanation for their inability to pay using an alternative method. If accepted, exempt taxpayers will need to make an appointment at an FTB field office to pay in cash.