Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) said: To me, this just proves that Irish Water is all about taxation and nothing to do with conservation as the charging structure proposed does nothing to promote water conservation. He said he would prefer a system where every household gets a larger free allowance and only pays for water above that amount. That way households would have been incentivised to save water, he said. Unfortunately under the Government proposed charging structure, households will all pay the same whether you leave the tap running all day long or whether or not you make an effort to save water, Cllr Butler said.

Fingal Independent

Just think: You run a business. Your partner embezzles from you and you are reeling – you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. Next, California’s state government shows up and slaps you around. When you object, Sacramento offers no apology, no comfort. You’re on your own.

Farfetched? Read on to see what happened to a California Limited Liability Company (LLC) that tried to play by the rules.

First, an LLC is a form of business that permits the owner to avoid double taxation. In California, such companies must pay an annual minimum franchise tax of $800, which is the highest of any state (in 40 other states the fee is $100 or less) and may be subject to additional fees based on revenue.

An article by Mike Dazà in Bloomberg BNA – Corporate Close-Up: The Burden of California’s Taxes and Fees on Limited Liability Companies – points out that the State Board of Equalization illustrates the challenges businesses face when trying to reduce their liability for taxes and fees in California. A company filing two-short period returns in tax year 2010 unsuccessfully protested the imposition of the minimum tax and LLC fee in each short period.

In short, they objected to double taxation.

The company, Bay Area Gun Vault, LLC, converted from a two-member entity into a single-member LLC after one of the two members was caught embezzling money and was removed. So the company filed two short-period returns for 2010, one as a two-member LLC and the second as a single-member LLC.

In the first return, the company timely paid the annual tax of $800 and an extra LLC fee on profit. In the return for the second period, the company did not pay the LLC annual fee, but did pay the tax.

Despite two tax returns, the company clarified that the income was for the same business with the same tax ID number and assets and was operating in the same location. So the company should owe only $800 in tax and an LLC fee of $6,000.

But the removal of the embezzler caused a technical termination of the original LLC because 50 percent or more of the interests changed hands. Hence, the resulting single-member LLC was a new entity for tax purposes and owed the minimum tax and LLC fee during the same year.

Mr. Dazà wrote, The logic of the company’s argument is appealing: LLC taxes and fees should not be imposed twice in the same year on the same business.

The Board claims there is no statutory support for that position.

Well, if the Board is correct, why did legislators let an unfair law stand? Do Sacramento lawmakers use no foresight in determining whether technical provisions in business-oriented laws might cause future injury?

Actually, I know the answer to my own questions. Here is why the legislature doesn’t care how its actions harm the business community:

  • First, the Franchise Tax Board (California’s version of the Internal Revenue Service) has projected revenue from LLC taxes and fees to be $753 million in fiscal year 2014-2015. Sacramento wants to collect every single penny of that revenue.
  • Next, California’s legislature is packed with people who will use taxpayer funds to support the latest half-baked ideas. But they routinely turn a deaf ear to requests from the business community for fair taxation and regulatory policies.
  • Finally, most Sacramento politicians are clueless about what it takes to run a business.

To amplify on that last point – only 18 percent of the Democrats who control both houses of California’s full-time legislature worked in business, farming or medicine before being elected, wrote former California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. The remainder drew paychecks from government, worked as community organizers, or were attorneys.

In business-friendly Texas, Democrats are more than twice as likely as their California counterparts to claim private-sector experience outside the field of law, continued DeVore, and 75 percent of the Republicans earn a living in business, farming, or medicine. All of that can be found in his book, The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America.

The analysis was for a couple of years ago, but the makeup of both legislatures remains virtually the same.

California is replete with demands for environmental justice, social justice, income justice, sexual justice, workplace justice – oh, the list goes on and on. What California needs more of is entrepreneurial Justice, business justice and tax justice.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders should reverse tax-confiscatory policies and refund overpayments to that LLC and others in similar positons. If not, California will perpetuate its mean-spiritedness towards corporations – even the one-person kind.

The Finance Committee recommended a request of $6,333,000.

Superintendent Steve Endress confirmed the request will require a truth in taxation hearing based on three factors.

The first is the district is expecting to see a 5.5 percent increase in EAV (equalized assessed valuation) and is looking to capture the additional revenue.

Endress reported the district's auditor has estimated the EAV to be about $127.5 million for Jan. 1.

"It's just an estimate, and we won't know until that point," he said. "Once they know the EAV, then they can calculate the tax rate."

The second reason for the truth in taxation hearing is the district is looking for an increase as last year they didn't levy the maximum tax rates, so extension was lower than it could have been, Endress said.

"The percentage increase this year has to compensate and show for that," he said.

The final reason for the hearing is the district is looking to increase its tort levy to pay a portion of the employees' salaries when they do safety-related work.

The board agreed to set the truth in taxation hearing at 7 pm Tuesday, Dec. 16.

BV student wins district Voice of Democracy contest

BV High School Principal Eric Lawson announced at Tuesday's meeting that BV student Riley Francis won the recent Voice of Democracy contest and now qualifies for state.

"This is outstanding," he said. "It's really neat for Bureau Valley. This is the second student in the consolidation of the district of BV to have done this. It's really huge for our kids, and we're very happy."

The contest requires students to submit an essay to be judged. Lawson said Francis read her essay during this year's Veterans Day assembly.

Giving back to St. Jude's

BV North Principal Sandra Beitsch gave a brief report on a fundraising event her school recently took part in.

After being approached by the Peters family --who lost their young daughter, Cora, to cancer last December -- it became known the family was looking for a way to give back to St. Jude Children's Hospital. It was decided they would help raise money to update the teen recreational room at the hospital.

Beitsch said students were asked to bring in any spare change throughout the course of a one and one-half weeks, and in that time, students raised $1,500.

"Just from bringing in spare change within a week and a half -- It was amazing," she said. "I say it every time I turn around that this group of kids and their families are just generous beyond generous."

The Peters family will award Zach DeMay's third-grade class with a pizza party, as they alone raised $300 --the most out of all classes.

Beitsch also said a plaque will be put up in the updated recreational room at the hospital that states BV's contribution to the project.

"We're very proud of the kids and community members; we're happy to give back; and we're really excited to see how this all comes together," she said.

For employees that move from country to country, the taxation of benefits in the form of shares is different from the way in which other types of remuneration are taxed in the UK.

This can be a pain to administer and result in significant tax advantages to some employees, whilst others are worse off.  The current rules are that if, when a share option or a conditional award of shares is granted, an employee is not UK resident and moving to the UK is not "in contemplation", then there will be no UK tax to pay when the option is exercised or the award vests, even if the employee moves to the UK long before exercise or vesting occurs.

The Office of Tax Simplification identified this as one area in which the playing field should be levelled.  In the Finance Act 2014, the tax treatment of shares held by internationally-mobile employees is brought into line with that of their general earnings, along with alignment of National Insurance and corporation tax relief.

The new rules apply to any "chargeable event" (essentially exercise or vesting) that occurs on or after 6 April 2015, regardless of when the award was made or where the employee worked at the time.  If the employee works in the UK at any time during the "relevant period" the time between the grant of the award and exercise or vesting - income arising on the chargeable event will be apportioned across the relevant period and tax payable on the amount deemed to relate to working days in the UK.  So, for example, if an employee works in the UK for the first year after the grant of an option and then moves abroad for the next two years, exercising the option on the third anniversary of grant, under the new rules the employee will pay UK income tax on one third of the option gain.

The effective date for these new rules was put back from 1 September 2014 to 6 April 2015, to give companies more time to make the necessary arrangements.  However, this also allows extra time for tax planning.  Employees who hold awards over shares that could fall under the new rules or the old rules would do well to consider whether accelerating or delaying the chargeable event would be best for them.