North Bay Business Journal

Monday, July 28, 2014, 5:50 am

Law: Tax Court ruling puts IRA rollovers in question

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    The U.S. Tax Court has placed an air of uncertainty over Individual Retirement Account rollovers that could impact the approximately 50 million American households that own IRAs.

    For at least two decades, the IRS has allowed individuals to rollover an IRA account once in a 12-month period. In a rollover,  the IRA owner takes the money as a distribution and has 60-days to put the amount back into an IRA. People with multiple IRAs could do this with each account, according to IRS Publication 590.

    But the IRS and the Tax Court ruled recently that individuals, regardless of how many IRAs they own, can only perform one tax-free distribution in any given 12-month period.

    The IRS says it will make no decision on putting the new rule into effect before Jan. 1, 2015.


    California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation extending the State Board of Equalization self-audit program to special tax and fee payers.

    “This new program will enable us to expand this excellent customer service to tax and fee payers in most of the programs the BOE administers,” said Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “This will save time for more of our taxpayers and help them to comply with our state’s tax laws. Anything that encourages compliance with our tax laws and makes it easier for the customer to report and pay the amount they owe benefits our state.’

    Assembly Bill 2009 expands BOE’s managed audit program from sales and use tax account holders to those who pay other state taxes and fees on products such as alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco, gasoline, tires, electronic devices and others. The managed audit is a type of self-audit that is conducted with guidance from a BOE auditor. Those who complete managed audits and owe additional tax receive a 50 percent reduction in the interest that is due on the unpaid liability, the agency said.

    The new law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.


    Sausalito-based Lifefactory, Inc. (415-729 9820, lifefactory.com), maker of silicone-cushioned glass bottles and food containers, filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Chicagoo-based Leapfrog Product Development, LLC, maker of the Ello and Zulu water-bottle lines, for offering for sale, selling, and distributing reusable glass bottles with protective silicone sleeves.

    Lifefactory alleges infringement of Utility Patent No. 8,579,133, which covers Lifefactory’s silicone sleeves and wraps for protecting glass containers.

    The lawsuit was filed in the federal Northern District of California on July 18. It is Lifefactory’s largest and “most significant” such suit brought to date, according to the company.

    “Lifefactory’s patent portfolio represents years of hard work and showcases our commitment to innovation on behalf of our customers,” said Roy Mabrey, chief operating officer. “Putting our utility patent into full effect will allow our retail partners and consumers to be able to purchase high-quality products they can trust without confusion.”

    Send items for this column to jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4256.

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