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San Jose property tax attorneyProperty taxes are an issue that affects many taxpayers in California, and changes to these taxes may be coming in the near future. In the 2020 election, voters will be able to decide if Prop. 13 should continue to apply to businesses. The measure would increase property taxes that businesses have to pay the state of California.

What is Prop. 13?

Prop. 13 is a ballot measure approved by California residents in 1978 that placed a limit on real property tax reassessment on all types of properties allowing reassessment only on completion of construction or when properties are sold. This means that currently, property owners pay taxes that are based on the value of a property when it was purchased, regardless of the property’s current market value. In effect, Prop. 13 prevented increases in property tax rates on homes, businesses, and farms by about 57 percent. 

The proposed measure calls for businesses to have their properties reassessed to market values every three years or less. The reassessments would result in higher taxes on commercial properties. The laws regarding residential property taxes would remain unchanged. This setup is called a “split roll,” since commercial property would be treated differently than residential property.

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San Jose, CA estate tax lawyerThere are several ways the IRS will be involved in the estate of someone who has died (known as a “decedent”). The IRS is notorious for enforcing payment of the taxes it claims it is due, including in situations involving a deceased person’s estate. 

Tax issues will be important to a deceased person’s personal representative, executor, successor trustee, and heirs, because the estate must pay all taxes due before the estate’s assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The IRS can even audit the tax returns of a dead person.

The estate will have to pay any income taxes due for the year of the person’s death (as well as for any year that the decedent did not file). Just like a taxpayer filing his or her income taxes each year, the estate administrator will file a Form 1040 for the estate. Depending on how organized the estate is, the estate administrator may need to file a Request for Transcript of Tax Return in order to get needed documents related to the deceased person’s income and taxes.

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San Jose CA tax lawyer cash transaction reportingAs a business owner, the law requires that you take certain steps when you make large transactions. For cash transactions over $10,000, you must submit a form to the IRS reporting such a payment. Form 8300 is due 15 days after the transaction is completed. Entities who must file this form include individuals, companies, corporations, partnerships, associations, trusts, or estates.

How to File a Transaction Report

The IRS recommends that businesses electronically file cash transaction reports. Electronic filing has several benefits: it is fast and easy to do, and it costs the business nothing. Businesses also have the option to file Form 8300 on paper. To file electronically, a business needs to have an account with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s BSA E-Filing System.

What Transactions Am I Not Required to Report?

It should be noted that not all transactions over $10,000 have to be reported. The law is concerned only with cash transactions, rather than transactions that have a paper trail. Thus, cashier's checks, bank drafts, traveler's checks, or money orders with face amounts of more than $10,000 do not have reporting requirements. 

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San Jose tax law attorney tax returnsIncome Tax Day--April 15, 2019--is just around the corner. This year, your taxes may be different from years past, thanks to the tax reform passed by the U.S. government. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has changed a wide variety of tax laws, and the IRS has stated that nearly every taxpayer will be impacted. 

These are some important ways taxes have changed that should be kept in mind when filing your 2018 taxes:

  • Tax rates changed. Taxes will be levied against taxpayers according to seven income tax brackets. These brackets range from 10 percent to 37 percent.
  • Higher standard deduction. The standard deduction has almost doubled. For 2018, it is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married couples filing together. There is a higher deduction available to the blind and those who are 65 and older. This means that many people will opt to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing deductions.
  • Certain deductions are limited or eliminated. One of the most common deductions that has been reduced is that for state and local tax. For 2018, the deduction is limited to $10,000 and to $5,000 for couples who are married and filing separate tax returns.
  • Child Tax Credit increased and expanded. The credit tops out at $2,000 for each qualifying child age 17 years old and under. Also, the income restriction for receiving full credit has been bumped up to $400,000 for joint filers and $200,000 for other taxpayers.

tFinally, it should be noted that the deadline by which you must file your tax return along with payment of any taxes owed has not been changed. While you can file for an extension, you must do so before Tax Day. Note: As in prior years, although an extension to file may be obtained, there is no extension to pay taxes due. Failure to timely file (in April or on extension) can mean an assessment of penalties and interest. Failure to timely pay (in April) can also mean an assessment of penalties and interest.

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San Jose CA tax debt lawyer for passportsFailing to pay your tax obligations can lead to major consequences. One problem you might run into is that you may not be able to obtain a U.S. passport or renew an existing passport. Carrying tax debt could also keep you from using your already issued passport. This can be detrimental for those who need to travel internationally for work or family reasons.

The IRS has prioritized the enforcement of this consequence of not paying back taxes for the past year. The law targets those with “seriously delinquent tax debts,” which is defined as a debt of $52,000 or more, including taxes, penalties, and interest.

If the IRS identifies you as being seriously delinquent, it will inform the State Department, which by law will deny a passport application or renewal. If you have in your possession a valid passport, the State Department also has the power to revoke the passport or limit your ability to leave the United States.

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