On Tuesday, June 27, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017. Sweeping changes to the administration of taxes and fees formerly administered by the Board of Equalization take effect on July 1, 2017. A new Office of Tax Appeals will begin hearing tax appeals of California income tax, sales tax, use tax, hazardous waste fees, and other taxes and fees effective January 1, 2018. The rules and regulations that will govern the two newly created state agencies remain a work in progress. For more information, click here.
The Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017, which will create two new entities (the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the Office of Tax Appeals) to take over most of the California State Board of Equalization's functions, has passed both the Assembly and the Senate and was presented to Governor Brown on June 21, 2017. Once approved by the Governor, the bill will take effect on July 1, 2017. Keep track of developments in the bill process here.
The Board of Equalization is attempting to respond to the California Legislature's mandate to turn over most of its authority to two newly created agencies, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and a Department of Administrative Tax Appeals. It's obvious that the short time frame and political climate have the Board of Equalization members and management scrambling to meet the July 1, 2017 deadline for most of the changes to occur. The Governor is expected to sign the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017 into law any day now.
As of July 1, 2017, California's State Board of Equalization will likely be a thing of the past. Lawmakers voted on June 15th to pass Senate Bill 86, The Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017, which will rapidly create a new Department of Tax and Fee Administration that will fall under the umbrella of the Government Operations Agency and take over all of the Board's non-Constitutional functions from headquarters in Sacramento. The only responsibilities left to the Board will be property tax administration, tax rate setting, and some other minor duties.
The California Board of Equalization (BOE) will update sales and use tax rates effective October 1, 2016, in the following cities:
Taxation can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to personal items. Consumers in California currently pay over $20 million each year in taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins alone, which some lawmakers say are necessary health items for women. The state Assembly approved a bill this week that would make these products exempt from sales and use tax in California, arguing that the taxation of such items creates a penalty to women.
Medical marijuana use was authorized in the state of California by the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 which provided guidelines for individuals and businesses to cultivate, use, and distribute cannabis within California. This Act did not "legalize" medical marijuana, but instead legislated the absence of punishment for specific marijuana-related offenses under state law. All activities related to marijuana of any kind continue to be an offense at the federal level.
When it's time to close a business in California, there are many important steps that must be followed to ensure the requirements of the IRS and the California tax agencies are met. Failing to do so can result in the tax agencies coming back years later to collect tax on income you may not have earned, or tax on workers you no longer employed. Different rules apply depending on the type of entity and whether there are shareholders, assets to distribute and employee benefit or retirement plans in place. In addition to filing final income tax returns, business owners should also be sure to file other applicable final tax returns including sales and use tax returns and employment tax returns. The IRS, California Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization and Employment Development Department each provide guidance on the steps to following when closing a business.
A 2013 law created by Governor Brown's 2013 Economic Development Initiative allows certain businesses in manufacturing or in the fields of biotechnology or physical, engineering, and life sciences to purchase or lease manufacturing or research and development equipment at a reduced sales and use tax rate for purchases occurring on or after July 1, 2014. (See Assembly Bill 93 (Stats. 2013, Ch. 69) and Senate Bill 90 (Stats. 2013, Ch. 70); and Revenue & Taxation Code section 6377.1.) The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) will be the agency overseeing and implementing this manufacturing exemption.
On October 7, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 576 into law, authorizing a pilot program to create the "Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement Team" (RRCET) consisting of an alliance primarily between the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the State Board of Equalization (BOE), and the Employment Development Department (EDD) in an effort to combat "criminal tax evasion associated with the underground economy."