Following The Rules of The IRS And California Tax Agencies
When it’s time to close a business in California, there are many important steps that must be followed to ensure the requirements of the IRS and the California tax agencies are met. Failing to do so can result in the tax agencies coming back years later to collect tax on income you may not have earned, or tax on workers you no longer employed. Different rules apply depending on the type of entity and whether there are shareholders, assets to distribute and employee benefit or retirement plans in place. In addition to filing final income tax returns, business owners should also be sure to file other applicable final tax returns including sales and use tax returns and employment tax returns. The IRS, California Franchise Tax Board, Board of Equalization and Employment Development Read More
Many people enjoy hobbies and even earn money as a result. That income is reportable and business related to the income may be deductible so long as the activity is not truly a hobby. The way the activity is treated is important in determining whether the government will recognize the activity as a business. The IRS will analyze whether the activity is conducted in a businesslike manner, whether the taxpayer intends to make a profit, the amount of profit, current employment, efforts to increase profit and the causes of losses, along with other criteria.
If the activity is deemed to be a hobby, then the related losses are limited. For more information visit the IRS’ website.
Swiss authorities have been working with the United States since 2009 to ensure its banks are no longer utilized as a haven for United States tax evasion. Swiss government officials and banks have continued to cooperate with the United States in uncovering illegal activities and changing business operations. Most recently, Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to a criminal charge for its role in assisting American’s with tax evasion, resulting in an agreement to pay $2.6 billion in penalties but without a requirement to provide names of the United States clients who may have used the Credit Suisse Bank to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.
For more information, read the DOJ Press Release.
After serving as IRS Commissioner for only a few months, John Koskinen offers hope for taxpayers with unreported offshore accounts. As the next phase of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) begins in July, in which foreign financial institutions will begin reporting information about their U.S. account holders, practitioners have questioned the fate of the IRS’ Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). After all, once the banks start disclosing information, how can a taxpayer voluntarily disclose the same information and receive protections under OVDP?
One of the largest hurdles for many taxpayers is the harsh penalty structure of OVDP, particularly for those who were unaware of their reporting requirements, or in some cases, were unaware of accounts opened in their names. While most agree that true tax Read More
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it will hold two free webinars for small businesses on this year’s “Small Business Week,” May 12 to 16. The Webinars focus on several key tax benefits and a special relief program for employers who reclassify their workers as employees.
The webinars will cover payments to independent contractors and filing requirements for Form 1099 on Tuesday, May 13, and avoiding common mistakes on Thursday, May 15. Both webinars will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and last an hour. To register visit the IRS Webinars for Small Businesses page.
Voluntary Classification Settlement Program
The number of workers identifying themselves as “independent contractors” is growing in the United States. In 2005 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that the number of independent contractors rose from 6.4% of the workforce in 2001 to 27.4% of the workforce by 2005. In 2010, Navigant Economics claimed the following:
“More than 10 million workers, comprising 7.4 percent of the U.S. workforce, are classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as independent contractors, and another 4 million work in alternative work arrangements in which they may be legally classified as independent contractors for one or more purposes. Alternative workers in 2010 will account for approximately $626 billion in personal income, or about one in every eight dollars earned in the U.S.” Read More
California State Board of Equalization Manufacturing Exemption from Sales and Use Tax is Scheduled to Begin in July, 2014
A law created by Governor Brown’s 2013 Economic Development Initiative allows certain businesses in manufacturing or in the fields of biotechnology or physical, engineering, and life sciences to purchase or lease manufacturing or research and development equipment at a reduced sales and use tax rate for purchases occurring on or after July 1, 2014. (See Assembly Bill 93 (Stats. 2013, Ch. 69) and Senate Bill 90 (Stats. 2013, Ch. 70); and Revenue & Taxation Code section 6377.1.) The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) will be the agency overseeing and implementing this manufacturing exemption. Read More
Nonresident aliens who received income from United States sources in 2013 also must determine whether they have a U.S. tax obligation. The filing deadline for nonresident aliens can be April 15 or June 16 depending on sources of income. See Taxation of Nonresident Aliens on IRS.gov.
Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to fill out and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Certain taxpayers may also have to fill out and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets. Read More
Among our business tax clients, we are seeing a rise in wage and hour litigation, either ancillary to, or independent of, their tax issues. In fact, recently I was giving a presentation to a group of business owners regarding this very issue, and one of the attendees told me that his business headquarters had been visited by the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (DOL/WHD) that very day with a demand for records. What we are seeing at our law office could be coincidental; but, I believe it is the product of both an enhanced enforcement environment at both the federal and state levels, and a highly aggressive labor and employment law plaintiff’s bar. As the former Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, said in 2009, “Make no mistake, the DOL is back in the enforcement business.” Solis has since been replaced by Thomas E. Perez, but there is no indication that the DOL is easing its Read More
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 576 into law on October 7, 2013, authorizing a pilot program to create the “Revenue Recovery and Collaborative Enforcement Team” (RRCET) consisting of an alliance primarily between the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the State Board of Equalization (BOE), and the Employment Development Department (EDD) in an effort to combat “criminal tax evasion associated with the underground economy.”
In addition to the agencies listed above, the following agencies may participate in the pilot program in an advisory capacity to the team:
• California Health and Human Services Agency. Read More
What happens when you realize you made an error on your tax return? Most people think they should file an amended tax return, and in most cases that would be correct; however, sometimes it is unnecessary. According to the Internal Revenue Service, if you made a math error, the IRS will correct it for you; an amended return is not normally required. Or, if you forgot to attach a tax form such as a W-2, you do not need to amend your tax return; the IRS will contact you and request missing forms if necessary. If you are due a refund based on your return as originally filed, the IRS recommends waiting to receive the refund before filing an amended return to claim an additional refund. If you are amending multiple years, you should mail them in separate envelopes, and finally, you should always amend your return if you made an error regarding your filing status, income, deductions or credits on your Read More
The California Competes Tax Credit is an income or franchise tax credit available to businesses that come to California or stay and grow in California. Tax credit agreements will be negotiated by Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and approved by a newly created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee,” consisting of the State Treasurer, the Director of the Department of Finance, the Director of GO-Biz (Chair), and one appointee each by the Speaker of the Assembly and Senate Committee on Rules.
For fiscal year 2013/2014, applications for the California Competes Tax Credit will be accepted at calcompetes.ca.gov from March 19, 2014, until April 14, 2014. Go to business.ca.gov for more information on the California Competes Tax Credit. Read More