Two recent court decisions are helping to quell the effects of the recently-passed Assembly Bill AB 5 (Gonzales, Chaptered September 18, 2019) in regard to California trucking companies, by determining that federal law preempts the most problematic part of both AB 5 and the 2018 California Supreme Court decision Dynamex West Operation v. California Superior Court. Both Dynamex and AB 5 worked to institute the new California worker classification test, the ABC Test, which provides for the following:
Nearly a year ago, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an opinion that most "gig economy" workers are properly classified as independent contractors.
The California Office of Tax Appeals (OTA) recently reversed a Franchise Tax Board (FTB) proposed assessment of a Texas-based independent contractor working for a California-based company. The OTA found that income reported to the contractor on a Form 1099-MISC did not have a California source because the end clients were located out-of-state, and therefore the contractor had no requirement to file a nonresident California return. To read the decision in full, click here.
The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently published its updated lists of California's top 500 individual and top 500 business tax debtors, who now collectively owe the state more than $581 million in income tax. Since October 2007, this list is updated twice annually. Taxpayers who receive notice of the FTB's intent to include them on the list and then make arrangements to pay their tax debt are removed from the publication.
While the federal penalty for failure by individuals to access health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, several states, including California, have instituted similar penalties. In California, Assembly Bill 414 (AB 414) (Bonta, Chaptered October 12, 2019) which takes effect on January 1, 2020, requires Californians to have qualifying health insurance coverage throughout the year.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed AB 37 into law, which legalizes licensed state cannabis businesses including marijuana growers, processors, and sellers to take deductions for their business expenses on state income tax returns. It exempts these businesses from federal law section 280E, which categorizes cannabis sales under the "illegal sale of drugs" and therefore prohibits these businesses from writing off expenses as any other business would. To read AB 37 in full, click here.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) recently released its Initial Discussion Paper for the Interested Parties Meeting it is hosting on October 15, 2019, in Sacramento to discuss and clarify the Marketplace Facilitator Act established in April by Assembly Bill 147. The main goal of the meeting is to determine what, if any, regulations may be adopted to make new registration requirements clear for business owners.
With the California Governor's approval of Assembly Bill No. 5 on September 18, 2019, worker classification law in the state has changed significantly by codifying the "ABC" test established in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018). A person who provides labor or services for remuneration is now presumed to be an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits, unless the hiring entity can demonstrate that:
For months, many out-of-state retailers have been working to determine the extent to which they may owe tax to California for sales made in prior years, even though they had no physical nexus in California. Following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Wayfair v. South Dakota, California took the position that out-of-state retailers who utilize Amazon to hold inventory and make sales to customers in California have sufficient nexus to meet the requirements to collect and pay sales/use tax to California. This was true even if the business sent inventory to Amazon outside of California and Amazon made the determination to store inventory in California.
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced that interest rates for personal income tax underpayments and overpayments, corporate underpayments, and estimate penalties will increase to 6 percent for 2019. The corporate overpayment interest rate will increase to 2 percent this year. For more information, click here.