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California

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In City & County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C, Dkt. A158645 (Cal. App., June 30, 2020), the California Court of Appeal upheld Proposition C—a voter initiative that created a new local business tax in San Francisco.  The court upheld the initiative that was enacted by a simple majority of electors.  This ruling answers a question that was been heavily debated since the California Supreme Court’s decision in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, 3 Cal. 5th 924 (Cal. 2017).  That is, do special taxes proposed by voter initiative require a supermajority of voters to pass?  This decision expressly narrows the supermajority requirement to only those tax measures proposed directly by local governments and will likely trigger more tax initiatives proposed and passed by citizen groups.

In the closely watched “Paula Trust” case, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District held that all of a trust’s California source income is subject to California income tax even though one of the trustees was a nonresident. Steuer v. Franchise Tax Board, No. A154691 (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist. June 29, 2020). The trust’s non-California source income would be apportionable. California imposes income tax on 100% of a trust’s income if all trustees…

Governor Gavin Newsom issued revisions to his budget proposals for the state’s fiscal year ending June 2021. This “May revision” is an annual opportunity for the California Governor to revise his initial budget proposals from the previous January. This year, Governor Newsom used the May revision to propose potentially significant changes for California taxpayers to help fill the budget shortfall resulting from COVID-19’s economic impact.

Numerous states have provided tax relief in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, often in the form of tax filing and payment deadline extensions.  At this time, 41 states and Washington, D.C. have provided a corporate income tax filing and/or payment deadline extension.  Most recently, Florida extended its May 1, 2020 corporate income tax deadlines to August 3, 2020 for filing and June 1, 2020 for payment.  Since the payment deadline is sooner than the filing deadline, the Florida Department of Revenue advised corporate taxpayers to submit payments based on their best estimate of the tax that would be due with the return.  Some states have also extended income tax deadlines for partnerships and other business entities and many states have extended individual income tax deadlines.