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October 2017 Archives

IRS Offering Webinars on Year-End Employment Topics

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration are teaming up in November and December to present webinars for employers and tax professionals on topics most relevant to the year's end, including data protection, identity theft, online business services, and filing Forms W-2.

2018 - A Year to Give, A Year to Save

The IRS has announced two important changes in 2018 that will help you give, and help you plan for retirement. The IRS has increased the annual amount a taxpayer may gift to another person, free of estate or gift tax. After remaining at $14,000 for several years, the IRS has increased the amount in 2018 to $15,000 per year.

IRS Announces 2018 Tax Rate Schedules and Retirement Plan Limitations

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.

Nonresident Aliens with Federal Information Filing Requirements Must Also File in California

The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued Legal Ruling 2017-02 on October 16, 2017, concerning the state filing requirements of certain nonresident aliens with respect to foreign financial assets.

California Shareholder in Prison for Filing False Returns

On October 6, 2017, Shiv D. Kumar, the sole shareholder of a California transportation company that serves disabled individuals, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing false corporate returns. The Department of Justice found that Kumar provided his accountant with false books and records, leading to the underreporting of the business' income to the IRS by over $2 million per year in 2009 and 2010.

Victims of the California Wildfires Must File with County for Property Tax Relief; May Qualify for State and Federal Tax Relief

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.

What Does a San Jose Priest Have in Common with Al Capone? Prison!

No one is beyond the certainty of taxes, as a priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose, California, discovered last week. Hien Minh Nguyen was sentenced to 36 months in prison for taking cash and checks donated to the Diocese by parishioners and depositing them into his personal bank account to pay for personal expenses. The court found that the priest embezzled a total of $1.4 million from the Catholic Church and, by concealing the embezzlement from his return preparer, evaded over $500,000 in income taxes owed to the IRS.

IRS Resumes Issuing Private-Letter Rulings Concerning Tax-Free Spin-Offs

Pursuant to IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-52, the IRS has introduced a pilot program to resume offering private letter rulings on the tax consequences of certain distributions of stock or securities of a controlled corporation under I.R.C. Sec. 355. From September 21, 2017, through March 21, 2019, taxpayers may request a transactional ruling concerning plans to create tax-free spin-offs. For more information, click here.

President Trump Proposes Federal Tax Reforms

President Trump and several key members of Congress have released their proposal for federal tax reform. Their main goals are to simplify the tax code, lower tax rates, increase the competitiveness of American businesses in the international arena, and repatriate dollars currently held in offshore accounts.

Out-of-State Trusts Can Now Participate in California Voluntary Disclosure Program

On September 25, 2017, Governor Brown signed S.B. 813 into law, which, effective January 1, 2018, expands the existing California state voluntary disclosure program to include out-of-state trusts with California beneficiaries and non-resident partners. Such taxpayers will now be eligible to use the voluntary disclosure program to bring non-California trusts into compliance with California state tax laws. In addition, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) may waive late-filing penalties for certain types of entities and returns under the program.

Gov. Brown Signs Historic State Bar Fee Bill Into Law

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.

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