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BOE Member George Runner

Lumber Tax Cut for Small Businesses Becomes Law

Legislation I proposed to ease the burden of a lumber tax on small businesses has become law.

Assembly Bill 2031, authored by Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Brown on September 29, 2014.

In 2012, the Legislature enacted AB 1492, which imposed a 1% assessment on lumber and engineered wood products. Unfortunately, the bill did not allow an exemption for qualified businesses that have little or no sales of wood products, causing many retailers to needlessly file returns.

AB 2031 fixes this problem by exempting businesses that sell less than $25,000 in lumber or engineered wood from paying the 1% Lumber Products Assessment. This will save nearly 1,000 businesses the hassle of separately reporting lumber sales to the Board of Equalization.

The legislation was sponsored by the State Board of Equalization and received support from the California Retailers Association, the California Forestry Association, CalTax and many small business owners.

In his release, Assemblyman Dahle said: “California’s rural areas are full of mom-and-pop stores where you can buy a gallon of milk, a fishing license, and a 2-by-4 or sheet of plywood. The cost of paperwork for collecting this tax outweighed any benefit to the state.”

By eliminating this tax for California’s smallest retailers, the Legislature is finally admitting this law should never have applied to them in the first place. This new law is a tax cut, pure and simple, for California small businesses and their customers.

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