Articles Posted in California

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https://seesalt.pillsburylaw.com/files/2020/05/250px-Seal_of_California.svg_.pngThe California Court of Appeal recently came down with a published decision in the Paula Trust case, a case involving the taxation of trusts and limited partners—two very nettlesome issues in California. (Steuer v. Franchise Tax Board, No. A154691, 2020 BL 240383 (Cal. Ct. App. 6/29/20)). The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that the trust was taxable on the entire capital gain generated from the sale of stock in various businesses. The case involves California’s unique and somewhat confusing system of taxing trusts. Generally speaking, the taxability of a trust is dependent upon the residency of fiduciaries (i.e., trustee) and beneficiaries. In this case, there were two trustees—one who was a California resident and one who was a Maryland resident, along with a contingent beneficiary who was a California resident.

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In 731 Market Street Owner LLC v. City and County of San Francisco 731_Market_St-300x180(June 18, 2020), California appellate court affirms that local realty transfer tax does not apply when leasehold has a remaining term of 35 years or more.  SeeSALT authors Craig Becker, Breann Robowski, Richard Nielsen, and Robert Merten III explain.

Read the full article here.

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This November, California voters will decide whether commercial Split-Roll-Initiative-300x180and industrial properties will lose their Proposition 13 protection against property tax reassessment. Authors Craig Becker, Richard Nielsen, and Breann Robowski explain. 

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AB-85-300x180SeeSALT partners Jeff Vesely, Craig Becker, Carley Roberts and Breann Robowski break down Governor Newsom’s proposed tax legislation, recently passed by the California Legislature, to raise additional income tax revenue to assist in balancing the California budget. (AB 85). The Senate and Assembly each achieved the two-thirds majority vote required for California tax increases (27-11 in the Senate and 56-20 in the Assembly), with Governor Newsom expected to sign the legislation later this week.

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A San Francisco trial court judge has ruled that Proposition G, a parcel tax to fund educational purposes that passed with a 60.76% vote in 2018, is a valid voter initiative that did not requirehttps://seesalt.pillsburylaw.com/files/2020/05/250px-Seal_of_California.svg_.png a two-thirds supermajority vote like local special taxes introduced by mayors or local boards of supervisors.  The same deciding judge already issued a pair of rulings in favor of San Francisco last July on similar supermajority vote validity-challenging actions concerning San Francisco’s Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax and Early Care and Education Commercial Rents Tax.  Both previous rulings are currently under separate appeals in the First District Court of Appeal.

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The California Office of Tax Appeals held the Franchise Tax Board abused its discretion in failing to abate interest for a 248-day delay caused by the FTB’s failure to assign a protest hearing officer to the taxpayer’s protest. Taxpayer wins involving interest abatement requests on appeal are fairly uncommon in California and even more uncommon in precedential opinions. This makes exploring a taxpayer’s recent win before the OTA especially worthy.

The FTB has discretionary authority to abate interest related to a proposed deficiency to the extent the interest is attributable in whole or in part to an unreasonable error or delay by an officer or employee of the FTB in performing a ministerial or managerial act. On appeal, the OTA only reviews FTB’s interest abatement determinations for abuse of discretion. This makes a taxpayer’s burden of proof on appeal much greater than the ordinary preponderance of the evidence standard. The taxpayer must show the FTB exercised its discretion “arbitrarily, capriciously, or without sound basis in fact or law.”

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Seal_of_San_FranciscoIn addition to the COVID-19 pandemic relief federal and state authorities have provided to taxpayers in the form of delayed tax return filing and payment deadlines (see Pillsbury’s 3/21/20 Legal Alert co-authored by Carley and Mike, among others), San Francisco has also issued some relief in connection with its core local business taxes, including its Gross Receipts Tax, Payroll Expense Tax, Commercial Rents Tax and Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax, or collectively the “San Francisco Local Business Taxes.”

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CA_OTA-Corner1080-300x169The California Office of Tax Appeals will hold an informal interested parties meeting on April 3, 2020, to discuss proposed amendments to its rules for tax appeals. The proposed amendments are in response to feedback from public and internal parties after the OTA began operating under its permanent rules for tax appeals since January 2019.

One of the proposed amendments addresses the process to request a closed hearing when a CPA firm represents its attest client. The proposed amendment states the OTA “a closed hearing shall generally be granted” when a taxpayer provides a statement from the CPA firm and the taxpayer, signed under penalty of perjury by both parties, affirming: (1) the taxpayer is a current attest client of the CPA firm; (2) the taxpayer wants to be represented by the CPA firm at the oral hearing before OTA; (3) the taxpayer would like a closed hearing; and (4) the CPA firm affirms that it cannot represent the client unless the oral hearing is closed. When a request for a closed hearing is granted, the reason for the closed hearing, along with the names of the taxpayer and the representatives, will be noted on the hearing agenda. The proposed amendments do not address whether the briefing, hearing transcript, or opinion related to a closed hearing under such circumstances will be available to the public.

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SeeSALT attorneys Carley Roberts & Mike Le partnered with their Pillsbury tax colleagues Nora Burke & Hannah Hollingsworth to detail the impact of COVID-19 on the IRS and States Extended Tax Payment Deadlines.

Takeaways of the recent article include:

  • The IRS announced that individuals and businesses may defer both federal income tax payments and filings due April 15 until July 15, without any cap on tax liability.
  • California updated its tax extension to follow the IRS’s extension.
  • Many other states are starting to align with the IRS’s extension or have announced other tax relief.

For the full article, please click here.

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