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.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 limits the annual federal tax deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000. In response to this limit, some states with higher tax rates (including California) considered programs that would allow taxpayers to characterize tax payments as charitable donations instead.
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.
Efforts are already underway to reduce the slap many Californians are feeling from the $10,000 limit on federal deductions for state property or income taxes paid. Senators De Leon, Allen, and Hill have introduced SB 227, the "Protect California Taxpayers Act," which would effectively eliminate the cap on these federal deductions by providing a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against the state income tax liabilities of taxpayers who make a charitable donation to the California Excellence Fund. Donations would be used to fund California government programs typically funded through state tax revenues. Any credit that exceeds the taxpayer's income tax liability would be carried over to the next year, and would not be refundable.