California businesses that collect sales tax from customers must correctly report the sales and remit the tax on time or face a possible 25% fraud penalty. The CA Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) found that one restaurant owner significantly underreported sales and underpaid the related sales tax. On that basis, the CDTFA determined that he was not only subject to the 25% fraud penalty, but that he also met the criteria for a higher penalty of 40%. That is, evidence showed he knowingly collected sales tax to be remitted and failed to remit the full tax collected; also, the amount exceeded an established threshold. The CA Office of Tax Appeals upheld the penalty. If you have questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA.
A local minimum wage raise is coming for employees of the City of Petaluma. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the hourly minimum wage rate for employers with 26 or more employees will be $15.00, and $14.00 for employers with fewer than 26 employees. By ordinance, the minimum wage must be adjusted annually, based on the Bay Area Consumer Price Index. This ordinance applies to all employees who work two or more hours per week in Petaluma and are covered by state minimum wage law. It doesn’t apply to federal, state or county agencies or school districts. A youth minimum wage rate applies to those who are ages 14 to 17 during the first 160 hours of employment in occupations new to them. If you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA.
Some tax relief is available for California taxpayers affected by the frequent power shutoffs that plague the state. The CA Franchise Tax Board is advising taxpayers impacted by the safety-related power blackouts that began in October 2019 that they may be eligible for penalty relief if the penalties are due to the shutoffs. Taxpayers in impacted counties may request penalty abatement upon a showing of reasonable cause. For details, go to https://bit.ly/2PzCN9r and arrow down to “Extended deadlines.” If you have questions about how the shut offs may have affected you or your business with concerns related to tax payments or penalties, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA.
Beginning in late September and during October 2019 the CA Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will be sending 66,500 Notices of Assessment to taxpayers who filed as head-of-household but don’t qualify for that status. Taxpayers who disagree with the Notice of Proposed Assessment may log onto https://bit.ly/2k5JFOs. You may need to create an account. Or, contact the FTB by mail at Franchise Tax Board, PO Box 942840, Sacramento, CA 94240-5340, to file a protest. If you have questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA with questions.
A new California state website just went live, with new features. As the CA Franchise Tax Board announced not long ago, its new website went live on Sunday, June 23. The site focuses on tasks, instead of customer types (individuals, businesses, tax professionals). Now that the site is up and running, you may use it to request forms online. According to Frequently Asked Questions about the site, 95% of the content that was on the old website will still be there, but forms from before 2007 will be gone. Interested parties can obtain older forms through an online process. For more info: https://bit.ly/2F1PKjW
What’s new for 2018 California tax returns? The list of changes is long. That’s why the CA Franchise Tax Board has created a “Taxnews” page, with information about tax filing. The page includes information about credits such as the earned income credit, the new employment credit and the CA Competes credit, plus instructions for many other tax topics.
A few of the highlights include:
Federal Tax Reform
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed into law on December 22, 2017, made changes to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). In general, California Revenue and Taxation Code does not conform to the changes. California taxpayers continue to follow the IRC as of the specified date of January 1, 2015, with modifications. The IRS issued Notice 2019-11 to provide for a waiver of the estimated tax penalty for taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year.
This relief is designed to help taxpayers who were unable to properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the TCJA, the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017. For California purposes, the TJCA had no general impact to the […]
What is Use Tax?
California’s sales tax generally applies to the sale of merchandise, including vehicles, in the state. California’s use tax on the other hand applies to the use, storage, or other consumption of those same kinds of items in the state. Generally, if sales tax would apply when you buy physical merchandise in California, use tax applies when you make a similar purchase without tax from a business located outside the state. For these purchases, the buyer is required to pay use tax separately. The sales and use tax rate in a specific California location has three parts: the state tax rate, the local tax rate, and any district tax rate that may be in effect.
What’s the Difference Between Sales Tax vs Use Tax?
Tax collected by the retailer here in California is called sales tax, and the retailer is responsible for reporting and paying the tax to the state. When an out-of-state or online retailer doesn’t collect the tax for an item delivered to California, the purchaser may owe “use tax,” which is simply a tax on the use, storage, or consumption of personal property in California.
Items to Report Directly to CDTFA
Report use […]
Tax relief is available for California employers in counties hit by recent wildfires. The CA Employment Development Dept. (EDD) has announced that employers in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties directly affected by the Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. Written extension requests must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.
Due to a presidential disaster declaration, some victims of California’s recent wildfires may qualify for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). DUA provides temporary unemployment assistance to eligible individuals whose work or self-employment has been interrupted due to a major disaster and who also meet certain other conditions. This applies to losses in CA from the Camp, Hill, and Woolsey fires. Eligible persons may receive up to $450 per week for up to 27 weeks. The deadline to file is 12/14/18. If you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA. For more info […]
Under pre-Act law, taxpayers could deduct from their taxable income as an itemized deduction several types of taxes paid at the state and local level, including real and personal property taxes, income taxes, and/or sales taxes.
New law. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, subject to the exception described below, State, local, and foreign property taxes, and State and local sales taxes, are deductible only when paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business or an activity described in Code Sec. 212 (generally, for the production of income). State and local income, war profits, and excess profits are not allowable as a deduction.
However, a taxpayer may claim an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 ($5,000 for a married taxpayer filing a separate return) for the aggregate of (i) State and local property taxes not paid or accrued in carrying on a trade or business or activity described in Code Sec. 212; and (ii) State and local income, war profits, and excess profits taxes (or sales taxes in lieu of income, etc. taxes) paid or accrued in the tax year. Foreign real property taxes may not be deducted. (Code Sec. 164(b)(6), as amended by Act Sec. […]