A California real estate professional was recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for filing false income tax returns that failed to report over $1 million in cash earned through marijuana sales made between 2012 and 2014. In addition, he was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and pay $466,707 in restitution to the IRS.
California taxpayers who ceased doing business but continue to get requests for unpaid taxes or unfiled returns from the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) may benefit from a new bill, AB 2503, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, and provides two options for an administrative dissolution of qualified domestic corporations and LLCs. The FTB will be able to administratively dissolve a business that has been suspended for 5 years or longer, or has ceased doing business, and meets other qualifications. Otherwise, taxpayers may request that the FTB abate unpaid, qualified taxes, interest, and penalties for years for which the entity certifies under penalty of perjury that it did not do business and has no remaining assets.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to quickly resolve unintentional minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) without penalty to qualified participants. Workers will benefit by swiftly receiving back wages that are owed, and employers can get into compliance without paying penalties. Employers must act quickly, however, since the pilot program is scheduled to end in about six months.
The Department of Justice recently reminded taxpayers that evading personal or business-related tax obligations can lead to "substantial fines and penalties, and even long prison sentences." Last month, the husband-and-wife owners of a Tennessee staffing company were sentenced to 75 months and one year, respectively, of prison time for failure to pay over $2.8 million in employment-related taxes and withholdings, and for filing false employment tax returns.
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.
The California Secretary of State recently launched a new online portal, cannabizfile, for those interested in establishing a cannabis-related business. You will find information on topics including registering your business, trademark, or service mark; searching for business records; licensing; and registering and paying taxes with various state agencies.
The IRS Large Business and International division (LB&I) is rolling out a series of campaigns focused on specific compliance issues. The division analyzed extensive data as well as suggestions from IRS compliance employees and the tax community to improve large business compliance activities.