California State and Local Taxation

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In California's aggressive and complex tax climate, doing business increasingly entails taxpayer risk for large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals alike. Bewley, Lassleben & Miller's state and local tax practice provides expertise in responding to the frequently thorny issues that arise in connection with sales/use tax, property tax, city business tax, income tax, and other taxes levied by the State of California as well as by local municipalities and agencies.

A nationally respected taxation group

The Firm's California tax practice is respected throughout the United States. Prior to joining the Firm, Joe Vinatieri served as the Chief Deputy to Ernest Dronenburg, a former Chairman of the California State Board of Equalization, and now, San Diego County Assessor.

Mr. Vinatieri joins Jason DeMille and Patricia Verdugo in our administrative tax law practice, which uniquely emphasizes successful resolution of tax disputes at the audit or administrative appeal level. The Firm's contributions to the development of the law in this area are represented by published decisions of the Board, including:

  • In the Matter of the Claims for Refund Under the Sales and Use Tax Law of Rhodia, Inc., 2002 Cal. Tax LEXIS 257 (Cal. Tax 2002)
  • In the Matters of the Claims for Refund Under the Sales and Use Tax Law of Hewlett Packard Company, 2000 Cal. Tax LEXIS 131 (Cal. Tax 2000)
  • In re John B. and Christine J. Mumford, 1998 Cal. Tax LEXIS 310 (Cal. Tax 1998)
  • In the Matter of the Petitions for Redetermination of Embassy Suites, Inc., 1996 Cal. Tax LEXIS 210 (Cal. Tax 1996)
  • In the Matter of the Appeal of Powerine Oil Company, 1985 Cal. Tax LEXIS 96 (Cal. Tax 1985)
  • In the Matter of the Claim for Refund Under the Sales and Use Tax Law of Varian Associates, 1994 Cal. Tax LEXIS 192 (Cal. Tax 1994)
  • In the Matter of the Petition for Redetermination Under the Sales and Use Tax Law of LifeCare Services, Inc., 1993 Cal. Tax LEXIS 339 (Cal. Tax 1993)
  • In the Matter of the Petition for Reallocation of Local Tax Under the Uniform Sales and Use Tax Law of City of Fillmore, California State Board of Equalization Case No. 466375 (Aug. 13, 2013)
  • In the Matter of the Petition for Reallocation of Local Tax Under the Uniform Sales and Use Tax Law of City of Fillmore, California State Board of Equalization Case No. 626418 (Sept. 23, 2014)

We set precedent in tax litigation

The Firm brings value to its clients by emphasizing resolution at the lowest possible administrative level. However, when tax disputes cannot be resolved in the administrative law process, Bewley, Lassleben & Miller's California tax-law practice has likewise led to many precedent-setting, favorable outcomes in trial and appellate courts. In this regard, Jeff Baird has litigated extensively in each of the areas of sales/use, property, franchise, and city business tax, serving as lead trial counsel in cases such as:

  • Raytheon Co. v. County of Los Angeles (2008) 159 Cal. App. 4th 27
  • Macy's Dept. Stores, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 1444 (2006)
  • Northrop Grumman Corp. v. County of Los Angeles (2005) 134 Cal. App. 4th 424
  • Milhous v. Franchise Tax Board (2005) 131 Cal. App. 4th 1260
  • Hughes Aircraft Company v. County of Orange (2002) 96 Cal. App. 4th 540
  • Union Oil v. City of Los Angeles (2000) 79 Cal. App. 4th 383
  • Yamaha v. State Board of Equalization (1998) 19 Cal 4th 1
  • Chevron USA, Inc. v. State Board of Equalization (1997) 53 Cal. App. 4th 289
  • Gray v. Franchise Tax Board (1991) 235 Cal. App. 3d 36

Richard Dewberry and Leighton Anderson likewise have extensive experience in the litigation of state and local tax matters in California. Mr. Dewberry was lead counsel in In the Matter of the Appeal of Raymond H. and Margaret R. Berner, 2001 Cal. Tax LEXIS 797 (Cal. Tax 2001).

Our state and local tax practice has resulted in millions of dollars of tax savings and refunds for our clients. Representative clients include:

  • The Boeing Company
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • United Launch Alliance
  • Space Exploration Technologies
  • Hilton Hotels Corporation
  • Chevron U.S.A.
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Embassy Suites, Inc.

Contact our law office in Whittier, CA today

For help with California taxation matters, contact our dedicated team of attorneys today.
Our law office is conveniently located in Whittier.

Taxation Blog

Joe Presents at the 2019 IPT Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas

By: Joseph A. Vinatieri

Joe recently attended the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT) Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas where he made a joint presentation on property tax. He was also honored with the 2019 IPT Distinguished Service Award from the Institute. Most importantly, Joe enjoyed seeing so many clients/friends!

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Joe Vinatieri co-presents at 2019 IPT Sales Tax School II

By: State & Local Tax

Joe had the privilege of co-presenting at the 2019 IPT Sales Tax School II in Atlanta, Georgia this week. Topics included Constitutional Law and Ethics. Attendees had the opportunity to learn and analyze constitutional issues in the state and local tax realm, as well as a look into ethical behavior and professionalism.

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New Sales and Use Tax Rates Effective April 1, 2019

By: Jason C. DeMille

As
a result of tax measures receiving taxpayer approval in the November 6, 2018,
General Election, the sales and use tax rates of two counties, 51 cities, and 2
unincorporated areas have now increased effective April 1, 2019.

San
Benito County’s prior rate was 7.250% but has now increased to 8.250%.  The rates of the Cities of Hollister and San
Juan Bautista,

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McClain v. Sav-On Drugs: The California Supreme Court Explains that Javor Remedies Apply “Only Rarely”

By: Jason C. DeMille

In California sales tax is on the retailer making sales of tangible personal property; retailers are allowed to collect “sales tax reimbursement” from their customers.  If a retailer pays more tax than is due, it may file a claim for refund with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (“CDTFA”) (the successor agency which recently inherited the sales and use tax responsibilities of the California State Board of Equalization (“Board”)). 

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Noteworthy 2018 Property Tax Cases

By: Jason C. DeMille

Property tax cases decided last year include Land Partners, LLC v. County of Orange (2018) 19 Cal.App. 5th 741, which provides insight for taxpayers seeking to obtain an award of attorney fees against the County Assessor in a refund action;  Durante v. County of Santa Clara (2018) 29 Cal.App.5th 839, which reaffirmed that the transfer of a life estate is a reassessable change in ownership,

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Noteworthy 2018 Sales and Use Tax Cases

By: Jason C. DeMille

There were a few sales and use tax cases decided last year that are notable.  The primary case is the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. (2018) 138 S.Ct. 2080, which overturned the longstanding physical presence rule necessary to require an out-of-state retailer to collect use tax on sales made into a state.

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