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.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently launched a new compliance campaign focused on S corporations and shareholder distributions. The three areas of concern include failure to report gain upon the distribution of appreciated property, failure to correctly determine the taxability of a dividend, and the failure to report non-dividend distributions in excess of their stock basis subject to taxation. The IRS will be conducting issue-based examinations and reaching out to stakeholders on this topic. For more information, click here.
On October 6, 2017, Shiv D. Kumar, the sole shareholder of a California transportation company that serves disabled individuals, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing false corporate returns. The Department of Justice found that Kumar provided his accountant with false books and records, leading to the underreporting of the business' income to the IRS by over $2 million per year in 2009 and 2010.
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.
Although it is common practice for corporate officers to take shareholder loans from company coffers, weak or inconsistent recordkeeping can turn this into a serious problem during California payroll tax audits - undocumented loans are often picked up by state tax agencies as unreported "wages." In order to avoid scrutiny, or a possible tax assessment for failure to report wages, businesses must make sure that their shareholder loans are defensible as bona fide loans, and not advances on payments for services rendered, i.e. wages.
If your company contracts with the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), you have one more reason to be compliant with your federal tax obligations: Effective September 30, 2016, these agencies will no longer award contracts to corporations having delinquent Federal tax liabilities or a felony conviction under any law. This includes any assessed liabilities such as unpaid income tax, employment tax, payroll withholdings, and social security and Medicare taxes that are not contested or paid on time.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not adjust interest rates in the quarter beginning October 1, 2016, keeping them as follows:
The California Franchise Tax Board recently announced that it will be increasing the interest rate for personal, corporate, and franchise taxes from three to four percent beginning January 1, 2017. The rate for corporation tax overpayments will remain zero percent. The interest rate has not changed since July 1, 2012.
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.
The Internal Revenue Service announced an increase to interest rates for the calendar quarter beginning April 1, 2016. The new interest rates will be: