John D. Teter Law Offices

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Recent blog posts

San Jose, CA employee and independent contractor attorney

The employment laws in California have gone through a number of major changes over the past year. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which went into effect on January 1, 2020, put in place new rules for worker classification, specifying when a person may be considered an employee or an independent contractor. However, there has been some confusion about whether certain workers are exempt from these rules. A new bill, AB2257, was approved by California Governor Gavin Newsom on September 4, 2020, superseding, amending, and adding further complexity to the worker classification issue.

Exemptions Under AB2257

AB5 specified, with certain exceptions, that a three-part test, known as the “ABC test,” should be used to determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or as an independent contractor. This test states that for a person to be considered an independent contractor, he or she must 1) be free from the control and direction of the company that hired him or her when performing his or her duties, 2) perform work that is not in the usual course of the hiring company’s business, and 3) regularly be engaged in a trade or occupation that has been established independently.

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San Jose, CA business and payroll tax attorney

Employers and employees throughout the United States have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have been forced to close, reduce hours in operation, or lay off employees. While some programs have been implemented to provide relief to both businesses and individual taxpayers, many people and businesses continue to struggle financially. In response to these concerns, a recent presidential order has been issued that will allow employers to defer certain payroll taxes.

Payroll Tax Deferral Available from September through December of 2020

On August 8, 2020, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum, “Relief with Respect to Employment Tax Deadlines Applicable to Employers Affected by the Ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease 2019 Pandemic.” This order allows employers to defer the withholding of employees’ share of Social Security (FICA) taxes on wages paid between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Deferrals are available for any employee who earns less than $4,000 on a biweekly basis before taxes are withheld.

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San Jose, CA business law attorney

Over the past few years, California’s employment laws have been in flux due to court decisions and legislation that have affected how workers are classified. Specifically, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has required some companies to classify their workers as employees rather than independent contractors, which will allow workers to receive a minimum wage and benefits. However, companies such as Uber and Lyft have fought against these requirements, and voters will be able to decide whether to implement a measure in the upcoming election to determine whether certain types of workers will receive an exemption from the requirements put in place by AB5.

NOTE: AB5 has very recently been renumbered as AB2257 and clarifies current definitions of employee versus independent contractor and enumerates a number of exemptions for certain industries. Prop 22 was placed on the ballot prior to this change in numbering and therefore refers to the old AB5. 

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San Jose, CA tax attorney retirement accounts

Many Americans have spent years saving money in a retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA while planning to use this money to support themselves later in life. Retirement accounts can offer certain tax benefits, but they also provide restrictions on when these funds can be withdrawn. In times of economic hardship, account holders may wonder about their options for using these funds. Fortunately, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has given those who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis the ability to use funds in a retirement account while avoiding some of the penalties for early withdrawal.

Withdrawals and Loans from Retirement Accounts Under the CARES Act

Typically, account holders will face a 10 percent penalty (on top of any taxes that would normally apply) if they withdraw funds from a retirement account before reaching the age of 59 ½. The CARES Act has waived this tax for withdrawals of up to $100,000 made before December 31, 2020, by people who qualify for relief due to being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Qualifying accounts and retirement plans include 401(k)s, IRAs, 403(b)s, and profit-sharing plans.

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San Jose, CA tax attorney foreign foreign tax compliance

U.S. taxpayers are required to report all of the income they earn and pay applicable taxes, including income earned from foreign investments and offshore accounts. The requirements related to these types of accounts can often be complex. Taxpayers who are not compliant may be audited, and they could face penalties that include civil fines or criminal prosecution. 

Foreign tax compliance has become more difficult since the end of the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). This program, which was discontinued in September 2018, allowed taxpayers to avoid penalties by disclosing their foreign assets and paying taxes due. Since the end of the OVDP, some taxpayers who had previously been compliant may be facing additional scrutiny and potential penalties from the IRS. The IRS’s Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures (SDOP) and Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP) programs are still available for taxpayers able to make sworn nonwillfulness statements and file the required forms and make the required payment.

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