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Potential California Tax Increases

Democrats are at it again in California.  I personally feel that the majority of bills created by California Democrats DO NOT support what the residents of California wants. So, let’s talk about a new one, AB 1253, which can be viewed at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB1253   The California Democrats  have proposed a significant tax hike on taxable income of $1 million and higher. Legislators say the tax hike would raise more than $6 billion a year to help K-12 schools and government services hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.  I don’t know about your, but I have heard many times in the past that additional taxes and fees were going to the schools, for example the Lottery proceeds were supposed to go to the school, but what they didn’t’ communicate was they were taking away existing funding, and replacing it with Lottery.  In California we pay one of the highest state income taxes, sales tax, and gas tax.  I personally feel as a CPA and business owner, we the people need to tell our representatives, NO MORE TAXES and they need to become fiscally responsible.   Anyway, here are the tax rates that AB 1253 is proposing:   A 1% tax on income above $1 million, but not over $2 million A 3% tax on income over $2 million, but not over $5 million A 3.5% tax on income over $5 million   The bill would apply retroactively to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, and would be permanent.   Under existing law, the highest tax rate for individuals is 12.3%, but when your income is over $1,000,000 there is  an additional 1% for income over $1 million often called a “mental health tax”.   With all the mental health tax collected, California shouldn’t have a mental health problem.  However, look at our homeless challenges.  Again, from a business perspective, the State seems to just be out of control in spending and just wants to tax the residents more and more and have no accountability.   If AB 1253 were enacted, the 13.3% rate would rise to 14.3% for incomes above $1 million and the state’s highest rate would be raised to 16.8% for incomes above $5 million. The proposal would result in a top tax rate of nearly 54% for federal and state taxes for the highest earners.   If Biden is elected, he has already stated he would roll back the Trump tax cuts, so the combined tax rate would increase even more.   California already has the highest state tax rate at 13.3%, Hawaii is the second highest at 11%.  Most other states have a state tax of about 6%, and  Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming do not have an income tax.   The continued tax increases are going to continue to move wealthy individuals out of the state.  However, a change of residency needs to be done right, so if you are considering to change your residency, please contact us.  Most of the clients […]

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IRS Scams – 2020 IRS Dirty Dozen

The IRS recently announced the top dozen IRS scams as noted in IR-2020-160, July 16, 2020. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/dirty-dozen They are listed below: Phishing: Taxpayers should be alert to potential fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a tax bill, refund or Economic Impact Payments. Don’t click on links claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of emails and websites − they may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information. VA Comment: We have been informed by a handful of our clients that they have received IRS emails.  Please note that this is one of the top IRS scams.  Make sure everyone in your accounting department knows this so you can reduce your risk of a financial crime. IRS Criminal Investigation has seen a tremendous increase in phishing schemes utilizing emails, letters, texts and links. These phishing schemes are using keywords such as “coronavirus,” “COVID-19” and “Stimulus” in various ways. These schemes are blasted to large numbers of people in an effort to get personal identifying information or financial account information, including account numbers and passwords. Most of these new schemes are actively playing on the fear and unknown of the virus and the stimulus payments. (For more see IR-2020-115, IRS warns against COVID-19 fraud; other financial schemes.) Fake Charities: Criminals frequently exploit natural disasters and other situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic by setting up fake charities to steal from well-intentioned people trying to help in times of need. Fake charity scams generally rise during times like these. Fraudulent schemes normally start with unsolicited contact by telephone, text, social media, e-mail or in-person using a variety of tactics. Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people to send money or provide personal financial information. They may even claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds. Taxpayers should be particularly wary of charities with names like nationally known organizations. Legitimate charities will provide their Employer Identification Number (EIN), if requested, which can be used to verify their legitimacy. Taxpayers can find legitimate and qualified charities with the search tool on IRS.gov. Threatening Impersonator Phone Calls: IRS impersonation scams come in many forms. A common one remains bogus threatening phone calls from a criminal claiming to be with the IRS. The scammer attempts to instill fear and urgency in the potential victim. In fact, the IRS will never threaten a taxpayer or surprise him or her with a demand for immediate payment.  VA Comments: If you receive a call from the IRS or any government authority, and you are not sure, please get their contact information and contact Vertical Advisors so we can assist quickly.  Phone scams or “vishing” (voice phishing) pose a major threat. Scam phone calls, including those threatening arrest, deportation or license revocation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill, are reported year-round. These […]

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Urgent Tax Update Regarding Possible NIIT Claim for Refund – 2016 Tax Year

To our clients and friends. There have been some last-minute discussions in the income tax community that the Supreme Court of the United Stated  (SCOTUS) may rule that the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) which was established as part of Obamacare is unconstitutional.  If the SCOTUS makes that ruling, then taxpayers that have paid NIIT have up to three years from the date their tax returns were filed, or 2 years from when the tax was paid, to file an amended tax return to request a refund of the NIIT. However, since the SCOTUS hasn’t made that ruling, and may not, taxpayers have the option to file a protective claim for refund for tax year 2016, to meet the filing timeline.  The 2016 tax returns may need to be filed as soon as July 15, 2020 or at a late date during 2020 depending on the date your 2016 return was filed. Currently Vertical Advisors is pulling data for the tax returns we prepared for 2016, and we will inform you if the data suggests you paid in NIIT for tax year 2016.  If you didn’t have our firm prepare your 2016 return, and you would like us to review your 2016 returns, please let us know immediately as there is a 3 year statute of limitation for the date you filed.  With the postponement of the April 15, 2020 deadline, tax returns with an April 15, 2017 signature date which would normally require an amended return to be filed by April 15, 2020 have been given extra time till July 15, 2020. For tax returns we have prepared, we will also review 2017 activity and future years also. If we did find that you paid NIIT during 2016 tax year we will be contacting you shortly to discuss your options.  To make a request for this protective claim, please contact us at advisors@verticaladvisors.com or at 949-756-8080. Warmest Regards, Peter DeGregori, CPA MST

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IRS Won’t Postpone July 15 Filing and Payment Deadline

IRS Won’t Postpone July 15 Filing and Payment Deadline: The IRS has announced that the tax filing and payment deadline of 7/15/20 won’t be postponed. Individual taxpayers unable to meet the deadline should file Form 4868 by 7/15/20 to obtain an automatic extension to 10/15/20. The IRS reminds taxpayers that an extension provides additional time to file a tax return, but not to pay any taxes due. Taxpayers facing hardships, including those affected by COVID-19, have several options available, including an online payment agreement, installment agreement, offer in compromise, and a temporary collection delay. The IRS recommends that taxpayers who are unable to pay their taxes in full should act as quickly as possible. News Release IR 2020-134. Copyright © 2020 Thomson Reuters/PPC. All rights reserved.

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Vertical Advisors LLP Receives 2020 Best of Newport Beach Award

Newport Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement NEWPORT BEACH June 17, 2020 — Vertical Advisors LLP has been selected for the 2020 Best of Newport Beach Award in the Accountant category by the Newport Beach Award Program. Each year, the Newport Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Newport Beach area a great place to live, work and play. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2020 Newport Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Newport Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties. About Newport Beach Award Program The Newport Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Newport Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. The Newport Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy. SOURCE: Newport Beach Award Program CONTACT: Newport Beach Award Program Email: PublicRelations@2020-town-awardinfo.com URL: http://www.2020-town-awardinfo.com

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IRS CARES Act Update

Guidance Released for Plan Distributions and Loans for COVID-19 Victims: The IRS has provided guidance relating to section 2202 of the CARES Act, which allows qualified individuals to receive favorable tax treatment with respect to distributions from eligible retirement plans that are coronavirus-related distributions. A coronavirus-related distribution of up to $100,000 is not subject to the 10% additional tax under IRC Sec. 72(t) and generally is includible in income over a three-year period. However, qualified individuals have three years to repay a coronavirus-related distribution to a plan or IRA and undo the tax consequences of the distribution. The CARES Act also increases the allowable plan loan amount under IRC Sec. 72(p) and permits a suspension of loan repayments due from 3/27/20 through 12/31/20 that are made to qualified individuals. The guidance expands the definition of who is a qualified individual and is intended to assist employers, plan administrators, trustees, and custodians by providing guidance on how plans may report coronavirus-related distributions and how taxpayers may report these distributions on their individual federal income tax returns. Notice 2020-50 and News Release IR 2020-124. Please contact us at 949-756-8080 if we can be of assistance.

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Coronavirus – Related Tax Relief for Qualified Opportunity Funds and Investors

The IRS has provided tax relief to Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs) and their investors in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, if a taxpayer’s 180th day to invest in a QOF would have fallen on or after 4/1/20 and before 12/31/20, the taxpayer now has until 12/31/20 to invest eligible gain in a QOF. Also, the period between 4/1/20 and 12/31/20 is suspended for purposes of the 30-month period during which property may be substantially improved. The IRS also has announced that, due to COVID-19, a QOF’s failure to hold less than 90% of its assets in Qualified Opportunity Zone Property on any semiannual testing date from 4/1/20 through 12/31/20 is due to reasonable cause under IRC Sec. 1400Z-2(f)(3) and such failure does not prevent qualification of an entity as a QOF or an investment in a QOF from being a qualifying investment. Notice 2020-39 and News Release IR 2020-114.

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PPP borrowers get concessions, additional guidance on forgiveness

  The U.S. Senate has passed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which loosens several of the Paycheck Protection Program’s (PPP’s) more onerous restrictions regarding loan forgiveness. President Trump has signed the bill into law. The new law follows the May 22, 2020, release of an interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) on PPP loan forgiveness requirements. Among other areas, that guidance addresses the calculation of full-time employees and total salary or wages for purposes of loan forgiveness reductions.     The PPP in a nutshell The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) established the PPP to help employers cover payroll during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The program is open to U.S. businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and nonprofits — affected by COVID-19. The loans may be used to cover payroll, certain employee health care benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on any other existing debt for the “covered period.” Under the CARES Act and subsequent guidance, the covered period ran for eight weeks after loan origination. The PPP Flexibility Act extends that period to the earlier of 24 weeks after the origination date or December 31, 2020. PPP loan proceeds applied to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities are subject to 100% forgiveness if certain criteria are met. Earlier Treasury Department regulations indicated that eligible nonpayroll costs couldn’t exceed 25% of the total forgiveness amount, but the PPP Flexibility Act raises the threshold to 40%. At least 60% of the loan must be spent on payroll costs to qualify for any forgiveness. For unforgiven costs, the new law extends the repayment period from two years to five years. However, employers are still required to maintain their staff headcount and payroll to qualify for full forgiveness. Loan forgiveness may be reduced if: The average weekly number of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees is reduced, or Salaries and wages are cut by more than 25% for any employee who made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019. Borrowers originally had until June 30, 2020, to restore full-time employment and salary levels from reductions made between February 15, 2020, and April 26, 2020, and avoid reductions in the forgiveness amount. The PPP Flexibility Act extends that deadline to December 31, 2020. The covered period Although the CARES Act provides that the covered period runs for eight weeks from the date of origination, the May 22 guidance lays out an alternative covered period. Borrowers with a biweekly, or more frequent, payroll schedule can elect to base their calculations on the eight-week period beginning on the first day of their first pay period following the disbursement date. Note that the alternative covered period is available only for calculating payroll costs; it doesn’t apply to calculating mortgage interest, rent or utilities. And, if a borrower does use the alternative period to compute payroll costs, it also must use that alternative period […]

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Tax Updates related for revisions to the Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) H.R. 7010

Hello Vertical Advisors (VA) Clients & Friends: This morning listening to the news, I heard that the jobs report showed 3MM job added.  That is great!  In listening to the news but more importantly speaking with our clients, everyone seems ready to open and or get their business back to normal or bigger.  President Trump has stated he expects the US economy to bounce back strong.  A lot of our clients want to believe President Trumps statements about the economy getting back to normal, but we need to see the results to convince us.  The fact that the job report showed 3MM jobs added seems to be the beginning of support for the Presidents statements and supports what I’m hearing from our clients and business owners.  Please read this memo in conjunction with our memo dated April 2, 2020 that discusses the CARES Act. Today, President Trump signed H.R. 7010 which revised the PPP Act.  The revisions were small but should be helpful.  The revisions are focused on the loan forgiveness section and are as follows: Section 1106 of the CARES Act discusses PPP Loan Forgiveness: Change in Covered Period.  The covered period is the time one needs to spend the PPP funds: The original CARES act stated the covered period to use the PPP funds was 8 weeks. H.R. 7010 changes the covered period to the earlier of 24 weeks or December 31, 2020. Change in the requirements of the PPP funds spent on payroll costs: The CARES Act didn’t define a specific percentage needed to be spent on payroll and no payroll.  The SBA provided regulations which stated at least 75% needed to be spent on payroll costs.    H.R. 7010 states that 60% must be spent on qualified payroll and 40% on the non-payroll items. Reminders: Payroll costs include employees’ wages during the covered period which can’t exceed $100k / annual. Includes health insurance premiums Doesn’t include employer payroll taxes Other costs for the 40% (rent, interest on mortgage, utilities) Updates on rehiring: There are reductions in the loan forgiveness if head counts is reduce 25% or more.  If an employee quit or was fired, then the business had the option to replace that position with a new employee.  However, there were discussions regarding the company asking the employee to come back to work and the employee not accepting.  The updates allow additional flexibility regarding employee counts and availability.  A company head count will not be hurt if the company can show support and documentation that they were unable to rehire an employee AND unable to hire a similar qualified employee for an unfilled position on or before December 31, 2020. COVID-19 Safety Standards: Requires the business to follow requirements established or guidance issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the period March 1, 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020 to maintain standards of sanitation, social distancing and other related safety requirements related to COVID-19.  Our firm has used the OSHA guidelines at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf, […]

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PPP Loan Forgiveness Update

If you received a PPP loan, please make sure you read the PPP Loan Forgiveness rules, and contact if you need assistance.  We felt the US Chamber of Commerce Guide was well written.  You can view it at https://www.uschamber.com/report/guide-ppp-loan-forgiveness If you have questions, or need assistance with preparing for the loan forgiveness application, please contact us for assistance.

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