The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently released a report finding that accuracy-related penalties are not often proposed in audits of large businesses, and the penalties are generally not sustained on appeal. Between FY 2015 and FY 2017, TIGTA found that of the $773 million in proposed penalties that went to the Office of Appeals, there was a reduction of those penalties totaling $765 million. Of some 4,600 business return exams studied, which resulted in additional tax assessments of $14 billion, only 6 percent had accuracy-related penalties assessed.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it will waive the estimated tax underpayment penalty for many taxpayers who did not have sufficient withholding in 2018. The penalty waiver usually applies to taxpayers who paid at least 90 percent of their total liability through estimated payments or federal income tax withholding, but for 2018, this threshold will be lowered to 85 percent.
California counties will not automatically reassess homes due to the recent fires, because the law requires that the counties first receive an application from the homeowner. Those who lost property will need to file the appropriate county casualty abatement form for the 2016-2017 year.
On September 25, 2017, Governor Brown signed S.B. 813 into law, which, effective January 1, 2018, expands the existing California state voluntary disclosure program to include out-of-state trusts with California beneficiaries and non-resident partners. Such taxpayers will now be eligible to use the voluntary disclosure program to bring non-California trusts into compliance with California state tax laws. In addition, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) may waive late-filing penalties for certain types of entities and returns under the program.
Certain partnerships that failed to file their required federal tax returns by the new, April 15th due date for tax years beginning with 2016 may be provided penalty relief, according to Internal Revenue Service Notice 2017-47. The calendar-year partnership due date was moved up from April 18th by the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. If your partnership filed its returns with the IRS and provided appropriate copies to receipients by the historical due date, or requested an extension by that time, you may qualify for penalty relief. For more information, click here.
The Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) released its annual report today for 2016. Based on IRSAC's findings and discussions in 2016, the council made recommendations on topics including:
The IRS' federal advisory committee, known as the Information Reporting Program Advisory Committee (IRPAC), has issued its 2015 report identifying several areas in need of improvement including a revision of certain forms, improvements to the IRS use of FAQs and improvements in the penalty abatement process for first time abatement requests and reasonable cause abatement requests. IRPAC noted that despite evidence that requests were submitted showing events beyond the taxpayer's control which resulted in taxpayer errors, the denial of penalty relief is commonly denied initially causing the taxpayer to spend additional time and money appealing the determination.
The Franchise Tax Board has proposed a bill which would provide penalty relief for taxpayers who fail to timely file a tax return or fail to timely pay an income tax liability. This relief would be available for individuals and corporations and would mirror the federal program offered by the IRS. If enacted in 2014, the program would be available for requests made on or after January 1, 2015.