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Sacramento Tax Law Blog

IRS Failed to Notify Most Victims of Employment Identity Theft

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a report finding that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has failed to notify the majority of individuals they found to be victims of employment identity theft.  When an identity thief uses another individual's information to obtain employment, the victim may have taxes computed based on income they did not personally earn, and may experience other difficulties.  The IRS has a computer-based process to notify victims of the issue, but due to a programming error related to a decision to notify only newly identified victims, the IRS failed to notify over 450,000 individuals for processing year 2017.  In addition, over 15,000 individuals who did receive notice (13.5 percent of the total group notified) were not actually victims of employment identity theft.

Beware of Erroneous Refunds from Scammers this Tax Season!

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about a new, multi-layer scam this tax season: erroneous refunds. Criminals are filing fraudulent returns to get money deposited into victims' accounts using data stolen from tax professionals, then posing as debt collection agency officials to request that the victims "return" the money due to an error. Other victims are receiving recorded messages threatening the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges and other consequences if the erroneous refund is not returned.

Californians to Vote on Two Tax-Related Ballot Measures in June 2018

Californians will be able to vote on two new legislative measures related to taxes on the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election ballot.

Californians Reminded That Paid Tax Preparers Should Sign Their Work

The California Tax Education Council (CTEC) began a public awareness campaign for the 2018 tax filing season targeting "ghost tax preparers," meaning paid tax professionals who do not sign the returns they prepare. The Council reminds taxpayers that "tax preparers who charge a fee to do your taxes, but never sign your tax return are breaking the law." Hiring a ghost preparer could lead to tax refund fraud, penalties, or additional taxes. For more information from CTEC on this issue, click here.

IRS Issues Directive Concerning Business Research Credit; FTB To Follow Suit

In September, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a directive to tax examiners concerning research expenditures for business entity taxpayers with assets of at least $10 million and that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to prepare certified financial statements and records for research costs following ASC 730. Taxpayers are provided a federal credit for increasing research activities under IRC Section 41; the state of California has decided to follow the same directive for California business entity taxpayers.

Updates to California Tax Return Filing

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has updated certain aspects of tax return filing starting with returns for tax year 2017. The standard deduction for taxpayers filing as single increased to $4,236; for taxpayers who are married filing jointly, the new standard deduction is $8,472. Personal exemptions were also raised to $114 and $228, respectively.

State Tax Relief for Californians Affected by Recent Natural Disasters

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced that tax relief may be available to certain California taxpayers impacted by the recent wildfires, floods, and mudslides. Specifically, the deadlines for individual income tax returns normally due on April 17, 2018, and quarterly estimated tax payments normally due on January 16, 2018, have been extended to April 30, 2018. More information on how to claim a disaster loss with the FTB is available here.

High Court Reconsiders Physical Presence Requirement for Sales Tax

South Dakota is taking the physical presence rule back to our nation's highest court in its dispute with Wayfair, Inc., to determine whether it may continue to require out-of-state sellers such as online retailers to register with the state and collect and pay over sales tax.[1] In the seminal case from 1992, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that retailers did not have to collect sales tax in any state where they have no physical presence. However, the exponential growth of eCommerce and internet sales has significantly changed the retail landscape since that time.

Reality TV Star Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Crimes

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, who formerly appeared on the reality TV series "The Jersey Shore," pleaded guilty to a charge of tax evasion for years in which he concealed a portion of his income to avoid paying the full amount of taxes owed. Sorrentino's brother, Marc, also pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return for underreporting income and providing his tax return preparers with false information.

Californians Affected by Recent Natural Disasters May Qualify for Federal Tax Relief

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that taxpayers who reside or have a business in the California counties that were affected by the recent wildfires, flooding, mudflows, and debris flows may qualify for federal tax relief. Certain deadlines may be extended and penalties may be abated for taxpayers located in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers located outside the disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a federal tax deadline are in the covered area, may also qualify for relief. For more information, click here.

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