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Sacramento Tax Law Blog

Ninth Circuit Confirms Tribal Manufacturers Are Subject to Tobacco Excise Tax

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in U.S. v. King Mountain Tobacco Co., affirming that tribal manufacturers of tobacco products on land held in trust by the United States are subject to the federal excise tax on manufactured tobacco products. The case began as an issue of delinquent excise taxes, which the tribal entity paid until 2009 when it fell into arrears. In the recently decided case, the tribal entity claimed an exemption to these taxes under the General Allotment Act of 1887, 4 Stat. 388, and the Treaty of the Yakamas of 1855, 12 Stat. 951.

"Doing Business" Thresholds in California

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced the 2018 indexed threshold values for determining whether an entity is doing business in the state. If any of the following conditions are met, the taxpayer is considered to be doing business in California:

IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Ends - What Are My Options Now?

The Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) 2014 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) officially ends on Friday, September 28, 2018. This program was offered to help taxpayers get into compliance with their foreign account reporting requirements. The end of the OVDP does not mean the IRS is less interested in offshore compliance --- to the contrary, "The IRS remains actively engaged in ferreting out the identities of those with undisclosed foreign accounts with the use of information resources and increased data analytics," said Don Fort, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation, in the IRS' initial announcement about the program's end. "Stopping offshore tax noncompliance remains a top priority of the IRS."

IRS SS-8 Program Does Not Sufficiently Address Gig Economy Worker Needs

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently audited the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) SS-8 Program, which addresses worker classification issues. The standard options have been either employee or independent contractor. However, in recent years, classification has become more complicated with the emergence of the "gig economy," defined by its reliance on short-term contracts and freelance work.

IRS Issues Final Regulations on Substantiation for Charitable Contributions

If you regularly claim deductions for donations, you may need to update your tax record keeping practices --- the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations this summer concerning the correct way to substantiate any charitable contributions you wish to deduct. Under Section 170(f)(8), for contributions of $250 or more, the recipient organization should provide you a receipt at the time of the contribution that shows:

Legislators Seek to Limit Impact of Wayfair Decision through New House Bill

On September 13, 2018, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives "to prohibit States from retroactively imposing a sales tax collection duty on a remote seller," among other purposes. H.R. 6824, also called the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018, seeks to limit the impact of the recent Wayfair decision, which eliminated the need for a business to be physically present in a state in order to have economic nexus in that state.

IRS Collection Due Process Program Remains Imperfect

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently reviewed the Internal Revenue Serivce's (IRS's) program on Collection Due Process requests, and found it to have similar room for improvement as compared to TIGTA's last review. For instance, the program could be more accurate in classifying requests and providing the correct type of hearing to taxpayers. The IRS also needs to improve how it handles taxpayer requests initially sent to the wrong location, as well as how it calculates statute expiration dates. For more information on the results of this review, click here.

TIGTA Report Finds IRS Private Debt Collection Policies May Be Harmful to Taxpayers

The Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently conducted an audit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)'s latest private debt collection program and found much room for improvement. As of May 31, 2018, the private debt collection program had netted $1.3 million, but the private agencies have collected only 1 percent of the $4.1 billion assigned to the program. For reference, the industry average for 2016 was 9.9 percent.

State and Local Tax Deductions Available to Businesses

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this week that business payments to charities that result in state or local tax credits will be deductible expenses in most cases.  This is unlike the manner in which the IRS has said it will treat payments that individuals make to charities (details here).  For more information on SALT deductions available to businesses, click here.

Californian Pleads Guilty to Willful Failure to Report Foreign Accounts to IRS

A Californian pleaded guilty this week before the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, to willfully failing to disclose over $1 million held in offshore bank accounts. He and the bank also took other steps to hide and secretly access his funds. The man now faces up to five years in prison, supervised release, restitution, and other monetary penalties.

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