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California Tax Review

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CA Supreme Court Ruling Will Likely Lead to Flood of Tax Raising Ballot Initiatives

On Monday, the California Supreme Court decided a key case that will likely ensure a dramatic increase in the number of tax ballot initiatives.  For years, Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 have required that local governments could not increase taxes, fees or assessments for specific purposes (e.g., roads and parks) without the approval of two-thirds of the local voters.

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First-Time Penalty Abatement Rules

Posting by Joseph Zimmerl

The First-Time Penalty Abatement Waiver or FTA Waiver is an Administrative Waiver, which provides taxpayers relief from certain assessed penalties. The purpose of the FTA Waiver is to allow taxpayers, who normally comply with tax requirements, receive a single tax period penalty abatement for failure to file, pay or deposit their taxes.   

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CA Supreme Court Applies Documentary Transfer Tax To Legal Entity Transfers

Surprisingly, the California Supreme Court has held that the Documentary Transfer Tax--that has historically only been applied when deeds were recorded affecting real property ownership changes--can now be applied to any transfer of a legal entity interest which would constitute a reassessment of the underlying property for Proposition 13 purposes.  (See 926 N. Ardmore Ave. V. County of L.A., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 4768.)

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Legislature Terminates the Board of Equalization

A potential sweeping change was made to California tax law and policy when the legislature passed AB 102, the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017.  This act divests the Board of Equalization of several key functions and creates two new government tax agencies--the Department of Tax and Fee Administration an the Office of Tax Appeals.  

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