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BOE Member George Runner

BOE Releasing $40 Million Plus in Non-Cash Security Deposits

In December 2013, at my urging, the Board of Equalization voted unanimously to end the sweeping security deposit requirements the Board had previously imposed on new California corporations and LLCs. The required security had typically equaled half a year’s worth of expected taxes and ranged from $2,000 to $50,000 per company.

I am pleased to announce the Board of Equalization is making good progress in getting millions of dollars in security deposits back to California businesses.

We’re currently writing to more than 4,000 taxpayers who made non-cash security deposits, like bonds and TCDs, to let them know they are no longer required to post security. These non-cash deposits exceed more than $40 million statewide. Millions more in cash refunds will be mailed to business owners next month.

Depending on the type of security released, taxpayers may need to contact their financial institution, insurance agent or broker to complete the process of cancelling their deposit.

Here’s a list of security released so far to accounts in the… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Audit of BOE Headquarters Building Could Save Taxpayers Millions

Today, I will be testifying in front of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in support of Assemblyman Roger Dickinson’s request for an audit to determine the overall costs of repairing the problem-plagued Board of Equalization headquarters building versus relocating to a new facility.

The state is currently wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on repairs, while ignoring the obvious need for a new cost-effective headquarters location. I’m confident a state audit will provide the evidence we need to move forward.

My district includes the Sacramento area, home to the BOE headquarters building and many of the employees who work there.

Dickinson’s request will be considered when JLAC meets at 2 PM in State Capitol Room 126.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

California’s Gas Tax Nightmare

California taxpayers don’t have to fall sleep to have a nightmare. They experience one each and every day when they encounter a costly, confusing and constantly-changing tax system. Unfortunately, most efforts to change this system only make matters worse.

Take the gas tax, for instance.

California consumers currently pay 71 cents per gallon in taxes every time they fill up their tanks. That’s the highest gas tax rate in the country. The average American pays less—about 50 cents per gallon. That translates into hundreds of dollars a year in higher taxes for Californians.

Adding insult to injury, Californians are double taxed for gas. Sales tax is calculated after excise taxes have already been added. That means we pay a tax on a tax, which is just plain wrong.

Double taxation aside, most California motorists wouldn’t mind paying high gas taxes if it meant we could drive the nation’s finest roads. But that’s not how things work. Instead of seeing our tax dollars invested wisely, we’re constantly told we should pay more. Our freeway system, once the envy of the world, has become an embarrassment.

Further complicating matters, in… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Runner Sponsors Legislation to Refund Illegal Taxes

It is criminal that the State of California can keep money it illegally collects from its citizens. Anyone who in good faith pays what ends up being an illegal tax should get their money back. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why this legislative session, I am proud to be sponsoring legislation to extend common sense protections to taxpayers. Two identical measures, AB 2510 (Wagner) and SB 1327 (Knight), would require the state to provide a full refund to all individuals who paid a tax later declared unconstitutional.

Currently, taxpayers are only eligible to receive refunds if they have exhausted all their administrative appeals remedies, even if the tax they paid is later declared illegal. AB 2510 and SB 1327 would require the state to automatically issue refunds to taxpayers whose information is up to date. It would also open up an additional appeals period of one year after a state tax is declared unconstitutional, giving taxpayers a chance to… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Telephone Townhall for the Agricultural Industry

On Tuesday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. I will be partnering with the California Farm Bureau Foundation, to host a Telephone Townhall on tax issues specific to the agricultural industry.

Central Valley Senators Anthony Cannella and Andy Vidak will also join the call. Senator Cannella serves as the Vice Chairman of both the Senate Agriculture and Senate Natural Resources and Water Committees. In addition to his legislative duties, Senator Vidak is a farmer and rancher, growing cherries in Kings County and raising cattle in Tulare County.

Every day, farmers and ranchers face challenges with tax laws in the state of California. The laws can be complicated and, at times, confusing and taxpayers can face stiff penalties and interest if deadlines aren’t met and record keeping isn’t accurate.

Most taxpayers want to do the right thing but even the most savvy business owner can make mistakes. The tele-townhall will address such topics as sales and use tax, partial farming exemptions, and sales of feed and animals.

Better understanding of tax laws allows farmers, ranchers, and business owners selling to the agricultural industry to spend less time concerning… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Gas Tax Cut is Good News for California

Today, I joined my fellow Board of Equalization members in a 5-0 vote to lower the gasoline excise tax 3.5 cents per gallon as of July 1, 2014.

Our vote today is good news for California taxpayers. This much-needed tax relief will arrive as Californians are on the road for summer vacations.

Lower gas taxes are good for our economy and good for jobs, but even with this cut Californians will continue to pay one of the highest gas taxes in the nation.

Unfortunately, some in the Legislature want you to pay more taxes, rather than less. Just last week a leading lawmaker proposed raising your gas tax by up to 43 cents per gallon.

Rather than plotting to raise taxes at a time when the state is already awash in cash, lawmakers should be finding ways to simplify our tax laws and make life easier for California taxpayers.

Lawmakers could start by scrapping the confusing and complicated gas tax formula they enacted in 2010 and replacing it with one that is simple, straightforward and easy to understand.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

BOE to Consider Proposed Gas Tax Cut

At our next meeting, the Board of Equalization will consider and vote on a staff proposal to reduce the gas tax by 3.5 cents per gallon for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

This proposed gas tax cut will give Californians a much-deserved tax break and help lower travel costs this summer. It has my full support.

Although I’m pleased the tax will go down this year, it’s unfortunate that California will continue to have one of the highest gas tax rates in the nation.

California has a confusing and complicated gas tax scheme that was imposed by the Governor and Legislature in 2010 over my objections. The BOE did not create this tax scheme.

Taxes are hard enough to accept, but when they can’t be simply explained, it erodes public confidence. This tax scheme is so complicated even expert tax professionals have a hard time understanding it.

Taxpayers deserve a simple and straightforward tax system that they can easily understand and won’t take them by surprise. They have the right to know how much they’re paying and where those dollars are going.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Telephone Townhall for Small Businesses

On February 4 at 10:00 a.m. and February 19 at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be hosting two telephone townhalls for small business owners. These free events, co-hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business, will provide specific information to small business owners on how best to avoid common tax errors.

Small businesses play a vital role in our economy, but every day owners face challenges with tax laws in the State of California. The laws can be complicated and owners can face stiff penalties and interest if deadlines and accuracy are not met. As their elected taxpayer advocate, I want to hear their concerns and answer their questions.

The telephone townhalls will inform small business owners about how to protect themselves from common tax traps such as missing records, successor liability, undercollection of tax, and invalid resale certificates. Information about these issues will help small businesses avoid making potentially costly mistakes.

If you’re a business owner or interesting in starting your own business, I encourage you to join me on one of these calls. Please register online atRead More

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