The United States Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on September 19, 2017, to address business tax reform goals. Chairman Orrin Hatch focused his opening remarks on the need to reduce corporate tax rates to remain competitive in the international market and to reduce the burden on the American working class. He recommended allowing businesses to deduct dividends paid as a way to offset what he interpreted as double-taxation, since investors are also taxed on dividends received. He also stressed the need to find a way to reduce the tax burden on pass-through entities such as sole proprietorships, LLCs, and partnerships.
If Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goolatte (R-VA) get their way, it will. On June 12, 2016, Sensenbrenner and Goolatte introduced the "No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017" which would expand the "physical presence" requirement of a similar 2016 House Bill (H.R. 5893) to all taxes and to all regulations in general.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced on June 7, 2017 that the Department will no longer follow the informal guidance issued as Administrator Interpretation Letters in 2015 and 2016 regarding joint employment and independent contractors [here], signaling an easing of the federal guidance on the use of contract labor. According to its press release, "The Department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act." To read the full press release, click here.
The Franchise Tax Board announced it will be accepting applications for the California Competes Tax Credit from March 6 through March 27, 2017. The credit is available to businesses that relocate to California or stay and expand within the state. During Fiscal Year 2016/2017, credits totaling $243.3 million will be available for allocation during three application periods.
As of January 1st, your dollar will go a little further as California reduces its sales tax rate by 0.25%. Actual sales tax rates vary by county and city. To look up the current sales tax rate where you live, click here.
For employers, the new year brings many new laws regarding worker benefits, hiring practices, and workplace protections. In addition to ensuring workers are properly classified, employers should also be aware of the increase to California's Minimum Wage, the identification of restroom facilities, smoking prohibition, and rights to refuse to travel.
If your company contracts with the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), you have one more reason to be compliant with your federal tax obligations: Effective September 30, 2016, these agencies will no longer award contracts to corporations having delinquent Federal tax liabilities or a felony conviction under any law. This includes any assessed liabilities such as unpaid income tax, employment tax, payroll withholdings, and social security and Medicare taxes that are not contested or paid on time.
If you use the internet to provide customers with services, such as household chores and handyman services, or the use of assets, like a car or room for rent, you may be part of the newest workforce known as the "Sharing Economy" or "Gig Economy." The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is keeping with the times by acknowledging this quickly evolving category of businesses and assisting business owners with regard to their gig-source tax obligations by creating an Internet-based Sharing Economy Resource Center.
On February 19, 2016, California Assembly Member Lopez introduced Assembly Bill No. 2625 to amend certain sections of the Revenue and Taxation code related to the annual minimum franchise tax and microbusinesses. Specifically, it would reduce the annual tax for qualifying new microbusinesses according to a sliding scale, up to $600 annual tax for businesses with gross receipts less returns and allowances of more than $100,000 but less than $150,000.
The US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) announced on May 11, 2016, that it is issuing final rules under the Bank Secrecy Act to "clarify and strengthen customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for: Banks; brokers or dealers in securities; mutual funds; and futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities." The final rules, which have been four years in the making, will be effective July 11, 2016. Covered financial institutions must come into compliance by May 11, 2018.