CSTC works closely with a Legislative Consultant to keep an eye on important bills that would affect taxpayers and small business owners. After pushing back the start date by one week due to COVID-19, the legislature began it’s 2021 session on January 11. They will hit the ground running with a focus on bills and policy issues related to unemployment benefits, renter relief, re-opening schools, vaccinations, the state budget, and more. Below are bills identified for monitoring for CSTC.

Now that the legislature has been active for a few months, we’re starting to see some more trends. Among them is the desire to provide businesses, mostly small businesses and nonprofits, relief from any tax liability they may incur associated with COVID-related state and federal grants or loans. These bills include SB 265 (Borgeas), AB 80 (Burke), AB 936 (Chen), AB 708 (Garcia), and AB 1380 (Fong).

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With the legislature on recess from July 16 to August 16, things have slowed a bit. Upon their return, fiscal committees will meet for a few weeks before all bills that move forward are taken up on house floors. (Policy committee meetings ended before the recess.)

BILLS RELATING TO THE TAX PROFESSION 

AB 1219 (Berman):Income taxes: Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Act of 2000. Would renew the Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit for qualified contributions on or after January 1, 2021, and no later than June 30, 2026. The bill would take effect immediately if signed into law.
Status: In the Senate Appropriations Committee 

AB 1582 (Committee on Revenue and Taxation):Income taxes: withholding: real property sales: Katz-Harris Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Act: report. Revises tax withholding requirements by an intermediary when the intermediary facilitates a deferred exchange of real property held for productive use or investment, for a disposition of real property that occurs on or after January 1, 2022. This bill also changes the due date of the FTB’s annual Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights report from December 1 to January 15.
Status: Signed into law 

SB 303 (Borgeas):Property taxation: transfer of base year value: disaster relief. Extends from five to seven years the time period for a taxpayer affected by a disaster to transfer their base year value to a replacement property, if the last day for the transfer or the damage to the property occurs between March 4, 2020, and the “COVID-19 emergency termination date.” This bill would take effect immediately upon signing.
Status: In Assembly Appropriations

BILLS RELATING TO EMPLOYERS

AB 654 (Reyes)COVID-19: exposure: notification. Clarifies the Department of Public Health’s internet posting requirement of COVID-19 data to mean that the posting includes both the workplace and industry information. The bill would take effect immediately if signed into law. New amendments require that workplace information reported regarding active COVID-19 outbreaks be removed from the Department of Public Health’s website after 14 days if no new cases of COVID-19 have been reported for that workplace. The bill would take effect immediately if signed into law.
Status: On the Assembly floor

AB 1003 (Lorena Gonzalez):Wage theft: grand theft. Creates a new crime for the intentional theft of wages, gratuities, or other compensation by an employer, punishable as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Status: In the Senate Appropriations Committee 

AB 1041 (Wicks):Employment: Leave. Adds a “designated person” to the list of individuals for whom an employee may take leave to care for under state law. This bill defines “designated person” as a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests leave or a paid sick day and allows an employer to limit the employee to one designated person per 12-month period.
Status: In the Senate Appropriations Committee 

SB 606 (Gonzalez):Workplace safety: violations of statutes: enterprise-wide violations: employer retaliation. Empowers Cal/OSHA to issue a citation to an “egregious employer” for willful violations of the Health and Safety code. Creates a rebuttable presumption that a violation committed by an employer that has multiple worksites is enterprise-wide if the employer’s written policy or procedure violates certain provisions and Cal/OSHA has evidence of a pattern or practice of the same violation involving more than one of the employer’s worksites.
Status: In the Assembly Appropriations Committee 

FEDERAL BILLS OF INTEREST

HR 3737 (Filemon):Tax-preparer Enforcement, Accountability, and Minimum Standards Act (TEAMS Act). Authorizes the Treasury Department to regulate tax return preparers, including by sanctioning preparers for incompetence and disreputable behavior and by establishing minimum competency standards.
Status: Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; no other action since it’s June introduction 

HR 4184 (Panetta):Taxpayer Protection and Preparer Proficiency Act of 2021. An almost identical bill to HR 3737, this bill also authorizes the Treasury Department to regulate tax return preparers, including by sanctions for incompetence and disreputable behavior and by establishing minimum competency standards.
Status: Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; no other action since it’s June introduction