The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released its annual inflation adjustments for many tax benefits applicable for tax year 2018 (returns filed in 2019). The standard deduction for taxpayers who are married filing jointly will increase slightly to $13,000; for single and separately filing married taxpayers, the standard deduction will also increase slightly, to $6,500. For tax year 2018, the foreign earned income exclusion is $104,100, up from $102,100 for tax year 2017. The annual exclusion for gifts increased to $15,000, an increase of $1,000 from the exclusion for tax year 2017.
California counties will not automatically reassess homes due to the recent fires, because the law requires that the counties first receive an application from the homeowner. Those who lost property will need to file the appropriate county casualty abatement form for the 2016-2017 year.
On October 2, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 36, the fee bill for the State Bar of California, into law. This year's annual attorney licensing fee bill includes major reforms for the agency, including the separation of voluntary sections into a new, private non-profit entity. The Board of Trustees will transition to being composed entirely of trustees appointed by the California Supreme Court, Legislature, and Governor. Attorneys will no longer elect any of the trustees. The Supreme Court will appoint the Board's Chair and Vice Chair.
According to the October 2017 newsletter of the California Franchise Tax Board, beginning in January 2018, California taxpayers will be able to e-file amended individual returns for tax year 2017 and later on a new Schedule X, California Explanation of Amended Return Changes. The Form 540X will be eliminated going forward, but you will still need to paper file Forms 540X to amend returns for prior tax years.
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.
Certain partnerships that failed to file their required federal tax returns by the new, April 15th due date for tax years beginning with 2016 may be provided penalty relief, according to Internal Revenue Service Notice 2017-47. The calendar-year partnership due date was moved up from April 18th by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. If your partnership filed its returns with the IRS and provided appropriate copies to receipients by the historical due date, or requested an extension by that time, you may qualify for penalty relief. For more information, click here.
The California Supreme Court issued a ruling on August 28, 2017 in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland that may have created a loophole for special interests to get around the limitations on tax increases established by Propositions 13 and 218. In the instant case, an initiative was proposed in Upland, California to repeal an ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries and instead allow up to three dispensaries to obtain permits, subject to an "annual Licensing and Inspection fee" totaling $75,000. Since this fee exceeds the costs incurred by the government for issuing the license, it is considered a general tax. Normally, such taxes can only be heard at general elections, but an exception was made and the initiative was voted on in a special election.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about possible fake charity scams related to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. Taxpayers should be sure the charities they want to support are recognized by the government to accept donations. Don't let your compassion get the best of you - be careful who you send your money and information. The IRS offers the following tips to help you protect your interests while also supporting causes you care about:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has just obtained specialized software for identifying users of bitcoins and other virtual currency. According to a work contract obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by The Daily Beast, the IRS hopes to use this software "to identify and obtain evidence on individuals using bitcoin to either laundry money or conceal income as part of tax fraud or other Federal crimes."
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is seeking applicants for places on its Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT), specifically to assist with the employee plans, exempt organizations, and tax exempt bonds segments. The Department of the Treasury appoints members for three-year terms. Applications are accepted through September 18, 2017.