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.
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.
In January, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted review of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (Lee) (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 718.
California Senate Bill No. 807, introduced February 17, 2017, proposes various tax credits and exemptions aimed at attracting and retaining educators. Legislators hope to offer qualifying taxpayers a credit against their net tax equal to qualified costs paid or incurred in a given year to earn a full teaching credential. Taxpayers who have taught in a classroom for at least five years would be exempt from paying state taxes on that income.
Helpers Community Inc. must pay the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder approximately $31,000 in back taxes for misrepresenting the use of properties the charity owns around Golden Gate Park. The nonprofit was founded in 1953 to assist people with developmental disabilities, including providing residential care support. They have received about $100,000 in property tax exemptions since 2003 for this use. However, city officials recently found that the charity ended its residential services in 2002 and has been using the properties for storage and a high-end fashion resale boutique instead.
On February 9, 2017, the U.S. Tax Court released its opinion in Schieber v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2017-32, ruling that the lump-sum value of CalPERS pension benefits should not be included in asset calculations to determine a taxpayer's ability to immediately pay tax on canceled debt income.