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Sacramento Tax Law Blog

Pass Through Entities Become Focus of New IRS Compliance Campaign

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently launched a new compliance campaign focused on S corporations and shareholder distributions. The three areas of concern include failure to report gain upon the distribution of appreciated property, failure to correctly determine the taxability of a dividend, and the failure to report non-dividend distributions in excess of their stock basis subject to taxation. The IRS will be conducting issue-based examinations and reaching out to stakeholders on this topic. For more information, click here.

IRS Announces New Virtual Currency Compliance Campaign

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is going to be taking a closer look at virtual currency transactions in a new compliance campaign focusing on education and guidance efforts about reporting requirements for convertible transactions involving digital currency such as Bitcoin. "Taxpayers with unreported virtual currency transactions are urged to correct their returns as soon as practical," the IRS said in its press release. For more information, click here.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines FATCA Case - What This Means to Individuals with Offshore Accounts

What do a U.S. Senator, the owner of an Albanian brokerage firm, an attorney who is a dual citizen of America and Israel, and a group of current and former U.S. citizen now living in Canada, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic all have in common? They have been denied review by the U.S. Supreme Court in their jointly failed attempt to enjoin the enforcement of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), certain intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), and the foreign bank account reporting (FBAR) penalty.

Plans Underway for New Federal Form 1040

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced plans to consolidate the federal Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ into a single Form 1040 for the 2019 filing season. The shorter form would be supplemented with schedules for more complex tax filing situations. Tax professionals can view the proposed new Form 1040 in draft form here and submit any comments to [email protected].

FTB Releases 2018 Filing Season Update

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently released an update about the 2018 tax filing season. As of May 31, 2018, the FTB had processed over 17 million personal income tax (PIT) and business entity (BE) returns. Ninety-one percent of personal returns and 85 percent of business returns were e-filed. The FTB issued 10.9 million personal refunds totaling $10 billion and 76,000 business refunds totaling $363 million, averaging $917 and $4,776, respectively. Over 1.3 million California Earned Income Tax Credits were claimed, and $292 million in credits/refunds were allowed.

Sales Taxes have Caught Up with the Times

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that states may now require online retailers to collect sales taxes from consumers, regardless of where the business is located or the product is delivered. In 1992, the same court ruled that a business had to have some kind of "physical presence" or "nexus" in order to be required to collect sales tax in a state. With the increased use of online shopping, however, it turns out not all taxpayers report non-taxed purchases to the states in which they reside. In fact, an estimated $33.9 billion goes uncollected in sales taxes each year, costing states a significant sum. Additionally, internet shopping tax-free has hurt the brick-and-mortar stores that already have higher operational costs due to a physical presence in a state, since they must collect sales tax on taxable transactions.

Californian Convicted of Filing False Tax Returns

A resident of Saratoga, California, was recently convicted of filing false tax returns and making false statements to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent during an audit. The taxpayer, who owns part of a home-based international trading business, failed to report profits related to sales to China during 2006 and 2007, and he made false statements concerning ownership of foreign bank accounts.

Taxpayers Now Have More Time to Challenge IRS Levies

Through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, taxpayers now have up to two years to file an administrative claim and bring suit for a wrongful levy by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where the IRS has already sold the property it levied. This time limit is a significant extension on the previous nine-month time limit and applies to levies made after December 22, 2017, and on or before that date if the shorter time limit hadn't yet expired.

IRS Supervisor Loses Passport, May Face 10 Years in Prison for Theft and False Statements

An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) supervisor in the Central District of California, Leslie Williams, was arrested this week on charges of theft of government property and making false statements. Williams allegedly embezzled federal funds and lied to obtain death benefit payments related to her former spouse. She continued to lie about her relationship to her deceased former spouse when interviewed in 2017 by special agents for the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA). She was released on a $10,000 appearance bond and had to surrender her passport; Williams could serve up to 10 years in prison for the charges.

IRS Puts Taxpayers on Notice Regarding State and Local Tax Deductions

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a notice about proposed regulations that will address the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes, specifically reminding taxpayers that the IRS position is that federal law controls the characterization of payments, regardless of the treatment under state law. To read the IRS press release, click here.

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