BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    SB 1073


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          Date of Hearing:  August 23, 2016





                     ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON REVENUE AND TAXATION


                           Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Chair





          SB  
          1073 (Monning) - As Amended August 19, 2016





          2/3rd vote


          SENATE VOTE:  Not relevant


          SUBJECT:  Personal income taxes:  earned income credit:  credit  
          percentage:  phaseout percentage




          SUMMARY:  Clarifies that, for eligible individuals with 3 or  
          more qualifying children, the state's Earned Income Tax Credit  
          (EITC) credit percentage shall be 45%.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)Amends California's EITC law by "updating" California's  








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            standalone credit table.  Specifically, this bill explicitly  
            provides that, for eligible individuals with 3 or more  
            qualifying children, the credit percentage shall be 45%.

          2)Deletes cross-references to now obsolete provisions of the  
            Internal Revenue Code (IRC) providing a "temporary" enhanced  
            credit percentage of 45%.

          3)Provides that these changes shall apply to taxable years  
            beginning on or after January 1, 2016.  


          EXISTING FEDERAL LAW:

          1)Allows a refundable EITC for certain low-income individuals  
            who have earned income from specified sources and who meet  
            certain other requirements. 

          2)Provides that in the case of an eligible individual with 3 or  
            more qualifying children, the credit percentage is 45%.   


          EXISTING STATE LAW:

          1)Allows various tax credits under the Personal Income Tax Law.   
            These credits are generally designed to encourage socially  
            beneficial behavior or to provide relief to taxpayers who  
            incur specified expenses.

          2)Allows, in modified conformity with federal law, an EITC for  
            taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.  The  
            credit is allowed to eligible individuals in an amount  
            determined in accordance with federal law multiplied by the  
            EITC adjustment factor, as specified.  Specifically, the  
            credit amount is calculated as a percentage of the eligible  
            individual's earned income and is phased out above a specified  
            amount as income increases.  The credit percentage and the  
            phase out percentage is based on the number of qualifying  
            children of the eligible individual.








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          3)Provides that, in lieu of the table prescribed in IRC Section  
            32(b)(1), relating to percentages, the "permanent" credit  
            percentage for eligible individuals with 2 or more qualifying  
            children is 40%.  However, the state credit also conforms to  
            former IRC Section 32(b)(3)(A), since deleted, which provided  
            a temporarily enhanced credit percentage of 45% for 3 or more  
            qualifying children.

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown

          COMMENTS:  

          1)The author has provided the following information in support  
            of this bill:

               SB 1073 will allow the current California statute regarding  
               the Earned Income Tax Credit to conform to federal law,  
               providing a 45% tax credit for individuals and families  
               with three or more qualifying children [. . . .]

               Prior federal law provided the enhanced 45% tax credit rate  
               for three or more qualifying children in a separate  
               paragraph of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) that was  
               specifically meant for temporary "extensions" of that  
               enhanced rate.

               Beginning with the 2016 tax year, the enhanced federal 45%  
               tax credit rate was unexpectedly made permanent, and added  
               to permanent tax credit rates by repealing provisions that  
               contained the "temporary extensions" of the enhanced 45%  
               tax credit rate.

               For California purposes, the 45% tax credit rate applies  
               for the 2015 taxable year, but expires for taxable years  
               beginning on or after January 1, 2016.  Because of the  
               unexpected way that Congress restructured the code section,  
               California statute does not conform to the revised federal  
               section.  








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               SB 1073 will make the necessary conforming changes in state  
               statute to reflect the revisions made in federal law  
               allowing qualified Californians to benefit from the  
               increased Earned Income Tax Credit funds available to them.

          2)Committee Staff Comments

              a)   The California EITC  :  For taxable years beginning on or  
               after January 1, 2015, California law allows an EITC in an  
               amount determined under IRC Section 32, except as modified.  
                Specifically, the credit amount is calculated as a  
               percentage of the eligible individual's earned income and  
               is phased out above a specified amount as income increases.  
                The credit percentage is based on the number of qualifying  
               children of the eligible individual. 

              b)   Determining the credit percentage  :  State law provides  
               that, in lieu of the federal table set forth in IRC Section  
               32(b)(1), which sets forth the various federal credit  
               percentages, the state credit percentages shall be  
               determined under a standalone state table.  This state  
               table, in turn, provides a state credit percentage of 40%  
               for eligible individuals with 2 or more qualifying  
               children.  

               When the state EITC law was enacted in 2015, however, the  
               state law also conformed to a then-existing provision of  
               the IRC (i.e., Section 32(b)(3)(A)) that provided a  
               temporarily enhanced credit percentage of 45% for eligible  
               individuals with 3 or more qualifying children.  In late  
               2015, however, Congress made the once temporary 45% credit  
               percentage permanent by deleting IRC Section 32(b)(3) and  
               adding the 45% percentage to the federal table for eligible  
               individuals with 3 or more qualifying children.  

               This federal law change, in turn, has given rise to  
               questions regarding what credit percentage applies under  
               California's EITC for individuals with 3 or more qualifying  








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               children.  The Franchise Tax Board appears to have taken  
               the position that, because IRC Section 32(b)(3) no longer  
               exists, the credit percentages are governed by the state's  
               standalone table, which provides a 40% credit.

              c)   What does this bill do  ?  To avoid any confusion, and to  
               promote continued conformity with federal law, this bill  
               amends California's EITC law by "updating" California's  
               standalone credit table.  Specifically, this bill  
               explicitly provides that, for eligible individuals with 3  
               or more qualifying children, the credit percentage shall be  
               45%.  This bill also deletes the references to the now  
               obsolete provisions of the IRC providing a "temporary"  
               enhanced credit percentage.  Finally, this bill provides  
               that its changes shall apply to taxable years beginning on  
               or after January 1, 2016.      


          Analysis Prepared by:M. David Ruff / REV. & TAX. / (916)  
          319-2098