2019-11-14 - College Savings State Tax Deduction Vetoed

AB211 Vetoed by Governor Newsom

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill “that would have created a state-tax deduction for college savings.” CA AB211 had passed the Senate and Assembly with zero votes against it. In his veto message, Newsom wrote, “While I appreciate the Legislature’s intent, a careful balancing of the benefits of the proposed tax deduction in relation to the revenue loss, approximately $13 million, would be better addressed through the annual budget process.”

In his veto message, Newsom said the 2019 Budget Act made “significant” enhancements to the state’s Cal Grant program for college students and provided $50 million to spur the creation of a child savings account for every California kindergarten student, half of which would go toward setting up accounts for kids from low-income families at ScholarShare.

Click on the link to view the full AB211 bill.


2019-09-06 - Vulnerable Adults Signed Into Law

SB496 Mandated Reporter Bill Signed by Governor Newsom

CA SB496 Is now law as it was approved by the State Senate and Assembly and signed by Governor Newsom on September 6, 2019. This is California’s version of the spate of “Vulnerable Adults” bills that have proliferated around the country in the last few years, but it differs from many of the other final bills in two very important respects.

Vulnerable Adults bills will typically create categories of “mandated reporters” who are required to report suspected instances of financial abuse of an older person to authorities in their respective states. SB496 as signed includes a broker dealer or a financial adviser in the current definition of a “mandated reporter.”  Any such reporter who “…has observed or has knowledge of..” such an incident, “… that reasonably appears to be financial abuse…” or “who reasonably suspects that abuse… shall report the known or suspected abuse…”

There are ranges of fines and civil penalties that may be applied if signs of abuse are ignored, and the language that has most frequently been used in final versions of these bills indicates that the reporter “may” make such a report – leaving a degree of discretion to the financial professional on the spot. These situations can be highly ambiguous, and no two are exactly alike. A mistaken report, however well-intentioned, would quite possibly change a client relationship forever.

However, SB496 as signed includes “must report” language and mandatory penalties ranging from $1000 to $5000 per incident.

This bill will go into effect January 1st, 2020.

Click on the link to view the full SB496 bill.


2019-09-10 - 529 Tuition Contribution Tax Allowance Sent to Governor's Office

AB211 529 Tuition Contribution Tax Allowance

CA AB211 has been sent to Governor Newsom’s office for his signature. AB211 will allow eligible clients to deduct up to a $5000 contribution (for a single adult, $10,000 for a married couple) to a 529 plan for the purposes of calculating their CA income taxes.

However, AB211 allows the deduction only for the California Scholar Share plan that is sponsored by TIAA – there are no other options. Additionally, there is no advisor-sold option for the 529. Therefore, no compensation will be paid for this recommendation.

Lastly, as it is currently written, there are income limits: $75,000 for a single taxpayer, and $150,000 for a married couple, or taxpayer filing as “Head of Household” so some clients will not qualify for this deduction.

Click on the link to view the full AB211 bill.