New Laws Archives

IRS Finalizes Regulations on Same-Sex Marriages

The IRS has issued final regulations to define terms and include same-sex marriage as a marital status for federal tax purposes. The IRS previously issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 following the Supreme Court case, Windsor v. U.S., in which the Court addressed the terms "spouse," "husband and wife," "husband," and "wife" and ruled that marriages of same-sex couples in states recognizing same-sex marriages were also recognized for federal tax purposes. The subsequent Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, made same-sex marriage legal in every state. As a result, the Treasury Department and the IRS amended the regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 7701, and provided that for federal tax purposes, the terms ''spouse,'' ''husband,'' and ''wife'' mean an individual lawfully married to another individual, and the term ''husband and wife'' means two individuals lawfully married to each other. Marriage does not include couples recognized as registered domestic partners, or joined by civil union.

Passports of Individuals with Seriously Delinquent Tax Debts May Be Revoked

On September 2, 2016, the U.S. Department of State finalized a rule that will result in the denial or revocation of passports for persons with seriously delinquent tax debts, effective immediately.  A "seriously delinquent tax debt" generally means an assessment of $50,000 or more for which a lien or levy has been filed.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will certify the status of these individuals for the Secretary of the Treasury.

Due Dates for Some Federal and California Tax Returns Will Change in 2017

Next year, the due dates for various federal tax returns will change based upon the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-41). California Assembly Bill 1775 was passed to conform the due dates of related state tax returns to the federal dates. In 2017, the following changes will take place:

Tax Obligations in the Sharing Economy

If you use the internet to provide customers with services, such as household chores and handyman services, or the use of assets, like a car or room for rent, you may be part of the newest workforce known as the "Sharing Economy" or "Gig Economy." The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is keeping with the times by acknowledging this quickly evolving category of businesses and assisting business owners with regard to their gig-source tax obligations by creating an Internet-based Sharing Economy Resource Center.

California Counties Targeted to Identify High-End Cash Purchasers of Real Estate

The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced a new program that will require U.S. title insurance companies to identify the people hiding behind shell companies who use those companies to pay cash in expensive real estate transactions. Following Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), title insurance companies in the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Diego will provide details of all-cash luxury purchases of residential properties by a legal entity, such as an LLC, to FinCEN for six months beginning August 28, 2016. Earlier this year FinCEN issued similar GTOs in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County. By expanding into California and other parts of New York, Florida, and Texas, FinCEN hopes to continue to identify and thwart the abuse of these transactions for money laundering purposes.

Proposed Bill May Change How California Taxes Microbusinesses

On February 19, 2016, California Assembly Member Lopez introduced Assembly Bill No. 2625 to amend certain sections of the Revenue and Taxation code related to the annual minimum franchise tax and microbusinesses. Specifically, it would reduce the annual tax for qualifying new microbusinesses according to a sliding scale, up to $600 annual tax for businesses with gross receipts less returns and allowances of more than $100,000 but less than $150,000.

New Federal Tax Law May Delay Some Tax Refunds in 2017

The Internal Revenue Service announced plans to change how it processes tax returns in 2017 regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Due to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) enacted on December 18, 2015, taxpayers who claim the EITC or ACTC on their tax returns must wait until February 15 to receive their credit or refund. The IRS may not release a partial refund. This change, effective January 1, 2017, is meant to combat loss of revenue due to identity theft and refund fraud. For more information, click here.

California Taxation Just Got a Little Less Personal - But Not Less Complicated

Taxation can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to personal items. Consumers in California currently pay over $20 million each year in taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins alone, which some lawmakers say are necessary health items for women. The state Assembly approved a bill this week that would make these products exempt from sales and use tax in California, arguing that the taxation of such items creates a penalty to women.

FinCen Issuing Final Rules Under Bank Secrecy Act

The US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) announced on May 11, 2016, that it is issuing final rules under the Bank Secrecy Act to "clarify and strengthen customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for: Banks; brokers or dealers in securities; mutual funds; and futures commission merchants and introducing brokers in commodities." The final rules, which have been four years in the making, will be effective July 11, 2016. Covered financial institutions must come into compliance by May 11, 2018.

President Obama Calls for Congress to Respond to Panama Papers with Action

The Panama Papers leak has led President Obama to urge Congress to take action now against corruption and illegal financial activity. This recent, large-scale information leak has made it impossible for the government to ignore the less positive aspect of shell companies, which in theory protect the market from speculative price gouging when companies prepare to make big moves on the market, but which also have been used to hide the illegal activities of less honest beneficiaries.

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