The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently posted its contingency plan for managing operations during the federal government shutdown, which includes reducing its available workforce for IRS functions by over 87 percent. Employees may be kept on for half a day to ensure an orderly close-down of operations. After the half-day period, most IRS activities will cease, including the issuing of refunds, processing amended returns, responding to taxpayer phone calls, and providing legal counsel. All audit functions will also stop during the shutdown period.
The California Public Utilities Commission recently released a decision finding that text messaging services could be subject to Public Purpose Program surcharges, as suggested by Commissioner Carla J. Peterman. The proposed decision does not have legal effect at this time, and the Commission is opening an additional phase during which it will consider transparency, competition, and methods to implement the proposed fees. For more information, click here: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M238/K227/238227359.PDF.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) announced this week that, starting April 1, 2019, out-of-state retailers whose sales for delivery into California exceed $100,000 or 200 deliveries will be required to register with California and collect and pay over sales tax. Businesses that meet these thresholds for a single local jurisdiction will also need to collect and pay over that district's use tax, in addition to the state tax.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released its semi-annual report to Congress on federal tax administration for the period from April 1 through September 30, 2018. A major highlight during this period was TIGTA's success protecting taxpayers from IRS impersonation scams: As of the end of the reporting period, 130 individuals have been charged for their roles in a massive phone scam involving multiple India-based call centers. Twenty-one of those individuals have been sentenced to prison sentences of up to 20 years each, and all are jointly and severally liable for over $8.9 million in restitution.
A 74-year-old former fund manager who resided in San Francisco was recently sentenced to 30 months in prison for investment adviser fraud and filing a false income tax return that failed to report millions of dollars in illegally diverted funds. The California resident moved funds between several entities related to Burrill Capital, LLC, using advance management fees he was not permitted to draw. His accountant was convicted of assisting with the filing of the false income tax return and will be sentenced soon.
January 24, 2019 Update: On January 17, 2019, Assembly Bill AB 71 (Melendez) (seeking to statutorily supersede the narrow holding in Dynamex, by codifying the widely accepted factors in Borello) was referred to the Assembly Committee on Labor & Employment. Assembly Bill AB 5 (Gonzales) (seeking to codify Dynamex and clarify the decision's application in state law) is an active bill and pending referral to a committee.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently updated its list of individual and corporate tax rates, exemption credits, and other fees and requirements for 2018, based upon the state rate of inflation. The current California tax rate for corporations (not banks or financials) is 8.84%, and the maximum rate for individuals is 12.3%. For additional details, click here.