Ca. Tax Lawyer MAY 2019, VOLUME 28, NUMBER 1

Message from the Chair

By Troy M. Van Dongen

Much has happened with the Taxation Section since I last wrote to you— the Section has chosen a new Chair-Elect, the Section submitted recommendations to the Governor’s office and State Legislature regarding California’s conformity with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Section held its annual Eagle Lodge West Conference in Santa Rosa, and the Section held its annual Estate & Gift Tax Conference in San Francisco. I will discuss all of these activities (and more) below. But first, I would like to address an important issue developing outside the Taxation Section that will affect almost all of our Members—the extraordinary increase in dues being contemplated by the State Bar.

To be clear, the dues increase I am referring to is the licensing fee imposed by the State Bar to practice law in California, not the dues that you pay to the California Lawyers Association to be a member of the Taxation Section.

Earlier this year, I issued an advisory regarding the proposal by the Board of Trustees of the State Bar to increase fees for active lawyers in 2020. At that time, the licensing fee for active attorneys in 2020 was proposed to be $860 before taking any optional deductions (compared to this year’s fee of $430 before taking optional deductions). On April 30, 2019, the California State Auditor released a report recommending a total annual fee of just $525 in 2020 for each active licensee. Although we have yet to see a new proposal from the State Bar, the Bar’s Executive Director has indicated that the Bar generally agrees with the State Auditor’s recommendations. The Executive Committee of the Taxation Section will continue to keep you advised of developments on this matter.

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