Publish Date

Jun 19, 2020

California Legislature Approves NOL Suspension and tax Credit Restrictions

A&M Tax Advisor Weekly

Facing a projected $54 billion budget deficit, California Governor Gavin Newsom was forced to go back to the budget drawing board. In an effort to close the deficit gap, Governor Newson revised his initial fiscal year 2020-2021 budget proposal to include familiar, yet for many taxpayers unwelcome, tax provisions.

Notably, the revised budget’s tax proposals suspend the use of net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) entirely for taxpayers with net business income of $1 million or more, and limits the use of certain business tax credits to $5 million total for 2020, 2021, and 2022.  A.B. 85 also contains a number of other provisions governing a wide range of areas, including sales tax on used vehicles and a strategic aircraft credit.

On Monday, the California Senate approved A.B. 85 (also approved by the California Assembly) and sent it to Governor Newsom for signature.  The bill incorporates the tax provisions contained in the Governor’s budget; as such, it is highly likely to be signed into law.

This isn’t the first time California taxpayers have faced tax provisions like these. In response to budget shortfalls induced by the 2008 recession, then Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation that restricted the use of NOLs and tax credits for 2008 and 2009. The restrictions were subsequently extended to cover 2010 and 2011.

While California may be among the first states to limit NOLs and tax credits in response to the abrupt economic downturn attributable to COVID-19, it is far from the only state feeling the tension between increased social spending, decreased tax revenue, and balanced budget requirements. Taxpayers should prepare for other states to follow suit and enact similar provisions, as well as take other revenue-seeking measures, such as increasing tax rates and ramping up audit activity…