The capability of artificial intelligence has reached a point that it is no longer a question of if robots will replace people, but a matter of when. Highly automated factory floors, driverless cars, and computerized medical diagnoses all exist today. In the not too distant future it is plausible that a large percentage of highly skilled jobs will be performed by robots. In the fields of engineering, finance, and scientific research computers have already surpassed the ability to process data in a far superior manner than the brightest humans on the planet.
Archive for Tax Policy
California’s tax hike, Prop 55 on the 11/8/16 ballot, passed (62-38). Its story dates back to 2012.
In 2012, a need for revenue led voters to enact two temporary tax increases (Proposition 30). The state sales tax was increased from 7.25% to 7.50% for four years (2013 through 2016). Also, new personal income tax brackets (10.3, 11.3, and 12.3 percent) were added to the existing top rate of 9.3 percent for seven years, starting at income levels greater than $250,000. The income tax rate increase was retroactive back to January 1, 2012.
With the exciting 2016 Summer Olympics not too far behind us, the thrill of victory for the American athletes may be diminishing slightly. What’s probably coming up for many of them though is the tiring topic of taxes.
Just how much of their wins will they have to turn over to Uncle Sam?
When one embarks on looking at what might happen with taxes, that path is fraught with many hazards. What a candidate says may not be what is actually proposed. What the elected candidate proposes may be modified or totally shot down by Congress. What Congress passes may not be signed by the President. However, I have my crystal ball and can foresee what the future holds in terms of future changes in taxes. Yeah, right. Unfortunately, that crystal ball is extremely cloudy and I cannot say with certainty what will happen.
The House Financial Services Committee on Monday released a staff report of its investigation into the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision not to prosecute HSBC or any of its executives or employees for serious violations of U.S. anti-money laundering laws and related offenses.
A review of a few recent sales tax advisory opinions, issued by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, reminds us of the complexities of sales tax exemptions and special definitions of taxed items.
On June 24, 2016, the House Republicans released their tax reform blueprint, the last part of their “Better Way” plan. The plan includes reasons for tax reform and the basics of the plan. There is no legislative language so the details are not all there. But, here are some highlights:
We recently posted an article discussing an influx of calls from businesses who have recently received penalty notices regarding late filed or non-filed Form 5472. The Internal Revenue Service imposes an automatic penalty of $10,000 whenever an individual or company is late in filing an information return disclosing their interest in a foreign corporation, regardless of whether there is any associated under-reporting of income or tax deficiencies.
Continuing with my list of ten news items and activities from 2015 that I think have particular tax policy relevance. Today, for my fourth item is an odd and unfortunate way that the IRS is telling us they disagree with a 2013 court decision. In August 2015, the IRS issued proposed regulations under Section 199, Income attributable to domestic production activities – REG–136459–09 (8/27/15). This provision was added in 2004 and provides a “bonus” deduction for taxpayers engaged in domestic manufacturing which is broadly defined to include some construction, film production, and software development. It is a fairly complex provision that involves numerous definitions and allocations to identify the specified income that then generally produces a 9% deduction for the taxpayer.
The issue helps show the complexity that is involved when special rules exist. Special rules require precise definitions to know what qualifies and what does not. The particular issue I’m referring to what constitutes minor assembly (no 199 deduction) versus production (generates a 199 deduction).
When it comes to the IRS and religious organizations, these organizations fall into two categories – churches and other religious organizations. Due to the First Amendment, the IRS is extremely reluctant to tread in the area of church organizations. This is not to say that churches have carte blanche to ignore the tax laws, but that the IRS grants them a great deal of leeway in regulating them. All religious organizations are subject to the law in regard to taxation. However, many operate as if the laws do not apply to them. Some of the most common mistakes made by religious organizations are the subject of this article.
At the outset, it should be noted that churches do not have to apply for 501(c)(3) status. They may choose to do so, and there are some very good reasons that they might wish to make such an application. All other religious organizations must apply for this status by completing and filing Form 1023 or Form 1023EZ. A church is automatically treated as though it has 501(c)(3) status.
Filing a return. Churches do not have to file a Form 990. However, some churches file these returns. This is unnecessary and may cause the IRS to take a closer look at the organization. If you don’t have to file, don’t file. Read more
We have good news for anyone conducting business in South Africa. One of our super smart tax experts, Dr. Daniel Erasmus recently acquired the Africa Tax, Law and Finance Hub and is offering complimentary access to the site for a limited time only.
We highly recommend you go view our tax professionals video section and scroll down to meet him in the video presentation he has on TaxConnections. If you have any business operations in South Africa, Dr. Erasmus is extraordinarily knowledgeable on the subject. Read more
Continuing with my list of ten news items and activities from 2015 that I think have particular tax policy relevance. Today, for my third item is Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Direct Marketing Association v Brohl, Exec Dir, Colorado Dept of Revenue, No. 13-1032 (3/3/15). In this opinion, Justice Kennedy posits that perhaps given “changes in technology and consumer sophistication,” it is time to revisit the Court’s 1992 decision in Quill, 504 U.S. 298! He also noted that Quill was a case “questionable even when decided, [that] now harms States to a degree far greater than could have been anticipated earlier.” This is a major item for 2015. It is really an invitation to any and all states with a sales tax to send a bill to a remote (non-present) vendor and hope that the vendor will challenge the assessment all the way up the administrative and judicial review process to land on the US Supreme Court’s agenda. Read more