Above the Line

More 1099 fun for California businesses

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If you’re a business owner in California, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all the tax returns and documents you file. There’s income tax returns, sales tax returns (or use tax returns, if you’re a service provider with over $100,000.00 in gross receipts), business property tax returns, e-waste returns….

And, of course, the ubiquitous 1099. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except when you have a bunch of small-dollar forms to complete at year end, and poor records to draw from.

In California, as opposed to other states, any nonresident who receives income is subject to backup withholding on income over $1,500.00. What is backup withholding? Well, if you refuse to provide a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN – essentially your Social Security or Employer ID number) when asked, or try to be clever and give a false/incorrect one, the IRS requires the payor to withhold tax on any payment to you. Normally, that’s it. But for a while now, nonresidents of California have also faced the possibility of losing an additional 7% in withholding to California (the IRS rate is 28%).

Effective January 1 of this year, the rules in California have changed to include residents in the mix. So now it doesn’t matter where you live, if you get California-sourced income, you WILL pay tax, one way or another, on it. There really just isn’t any way to avoid it – however, 7% is still lower than the state’s actual rate of 9%, so….you be the judge.


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