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Tax Controversy Archives

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.

Proposed California Bill Attempts to Mitigate Effects of State Tax Deduction Limit

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.

Opening a Cannabis Business in California? Learn Your Compliance Requirements!

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.

Senate Committee on Finance Tackles Business Tax Reform

The United States Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on September 19, 2017, to address business tax reform goals. Chairman Orrin Hatch focused his opening remarks on the need to reduce corporate tax rates to remain competitive in the international market and to reduce the burden on the American working class. He recommended allowing businesses to deduct dividends paid as a way to offset what he interpreted as double-taxation, since investors are also taxed on dividends received. He also stressed the need to find a way to reduce the tax burden on pass-through entities such as sole proprietorships, LLCs, and partnerships.

San Francisco Demands Over $30k in Back Taxes from Charity

Helpers Community Inc. must pay the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder approximately $31,000 in back taxes for misrepresenting the use of properties the charity owns around Golden Gate Park. The nonprofit was founded in 1953 to assist people with developmental disabilities, including providing residential care support. They have received about $100,000 in property tax exemptions since 2003 for this use. However, city officials recently found that the charity ended its residential services in 2002 and has been using the properties for storage and a high-end fashion resale boutique instead.

U.S. Tax Court Says CalPERS Benefits Excluded From Canceled Debt Insolvency Calculation

On February 9, 2017, the U.S. Tax Court released its opinion in Schieber v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2017-32, ruling that the lump-sum value of CalPERS pension benefits should not be included in asset calculations to determine a taxpayer's ability to immediately pay tax on canceled debt income.

BP Oil Spill Settlement Generates $15.3 Billion Tax Deduction

On Monday, a federal judge for the Eastern District Court of Louisiana approved a settlement between BP and the United States for $20 billion to settle claims related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Of that amount, $5.5 billion represented a Clean Water Act penalty, which is nondeductible under Internal Revenue Code sec. 162(f) (barring deductions for "any fine or similar penalty paid to a government for the violation of any law"). However, $15.3 billion of this settlement qualifies for a business tax deduction.

VIDEO: Is a worker an employee or an independent contractor?

This is a question that many business owners have, and finding the correct answer is extremely important. At the Law Office of Williams & Associates, P.C. we help business owners answer this question and many others so that they are in compliance with state and federal employment tax laws.

Video: A California tax law firm with the experience you need

The tax code is highly complex. Yet, any number of mistakes and missteps may result in interest and penalties that can outweigh the cost of your initial tax liability. Under some circumstances, you could face criminal charges and jail time.

Federal Judge Allows Class Action Status in Uber Worker Classification Suit

On September 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge, Edward Chen, authorized the certification of a class action in a lawsuit against Uber Technologies, Inc. for worker misclassification of Uber drivers. The drivers claimed they were misclassified as "independent contractors," and rather are properly classified as "employees." Thus, if the court eventually sides with Uber, the ride-share company would be subject to penalties, applicable lost wages or overtime wages, California and federal law regarding unfair competition, worker benefits, and employment taxes.

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