A website, a lawsuit, and a pizza place

Yesterday was Pi Day, so it's only fitting that a piece of one of this week's Tribune articles is devoted to pizza (kind of…we'll get there in 30 minutes or less).

There's just one month to go until April 15, and if you didn't notice the FTB's upgraded website1 when it launched last summer, you're certainly aware of it now. The differences are plain to see: Your old FTB bookmarks don't work, many older tax forms and Board of Equalization appeals are no longer available for download, and the site as a whole has been redesigned. Topping it all, the website's search function was widely panned by users upon launch because the results it delivered were only a small slice of what was actually available on the website.

Despite the early problems, the new website wasn't a half-baked idea on behalf of the FTB. The agency had to carry out the changes after the 2017 passage of AB 434,2 which required state websites to meet the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Government agencies aren't the only entities dealing with accessibility issues. Domino's is facing a lawsuit from a blind man who was unable to order food using either Domino's website or mobile app because they weren't compatible with his screen-reading software.3 That left him without access to exclusive discounts that aren't available when placing orders on the phone or in a store.

The man's attorneys cited the Americans with Disabilities Act in their argument before the Ninth Circuit, which sided in his favor. Domino's appealed to the Supreme Court, which last fall declined to hear the case and tossed it back to the Ninth Circuit for a possible trial.

Editor's note: We apologize if any of the preceding pizza puns left you annoyed.

1 www.caltax.com/news/podcast/podcast-ftb-launches-new-website/
2 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB434
3 www.cnbc.com/2019/10/07/dominos-supreme-court.html

If _____ is wrong, then I don't want to be right

Up until recently, dropping an F-bomb in public in Virginia meant a Class 4 misdemeanor and a $250 fine. But legislators have voted to repeal this law,1 which has been on the books since 1792 (the original fine was 83¢). If Governor Ralph Northam signs the bill, Virginians will be able to let it fly Yosemite-Sam–style starting July 1.

Here are some other bizarre state laws that are still in effect:2

  • California: A frog that dies during a frog-jumping contest cannot be eaten and must be destroyed as soon as possible.
  • Idaho: Cannibalism is strictly prohibited and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, except under "life-threatening conditions as the only apparent means of survival."
  • Illinois: It's illegal to possess more than $600 worth of salamanders. That's 75-plus salamanders, according to fair market value.
  • Iowa: Anyone trying to pass off margarine as real butter is guilty of a misdemeanor under food-labeling laws in Iowa. "Renovated butter" must also be labeled as such.
  • Massachusetts: Singing or playing only part of the national anthem or remixing it as dance music is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.
  • New Hampshire: It's illegal to carry away or collect seaweed at night.
  • North Dakota: All members of North Dakota's Dry Pea and Lentil Council must be citizens.
  • West Virginia: It is illegal to substitute a hunting dog with a ferret.
  • Wyoming: This state doesn't levy an income tax on residents. So while that makes it harder for tax professionals to make a living there, it might be a good place to retire because Wyoming doesn't tax retirement income earned and received from other states.

1 www.npr.org/2020/02/19/807435310/centuries-old-law-against-cursing-in-public-repealed-by-virginia-legislators
2 www.businessinsider.com/weird-state-laws-across-america-2018-1

Breaking news: Possible tax deadline extensions coming

There is no new pending legislation or other update regarding AB 5, so this week we are instead providing you with information on a possible tax deadline extension that is being considered due to the impact of coronavirus.

Many lawmakers and tax trade groups have requested that the Treasury and the IRS consider offering various extensions for individual and small business taxpayers. The following extensions are being evaluated, and we will provide more information as it becomes available.

Comment: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated on Wednesday that the delay would apply "to virtually all Americans, other than the super rich," and said officials would likely announce a decision quickly. As of press time, we don't know what constitutes a "super rich" taxpayer. (This may be a new technical term.)


  • Extend certain deadlines falling on or after March 15, 2020, and before October 15, 2020, to give individuals additional time to file and make payments through October 15, 2020;
  • Provide an automatic extension to October 15, 2020, without the need to file any forms or request an extension;
  • Waive late-payment penalties if at least 70% of an individual's current tax due is paid by April 15, 2020; waive interest through October 15, 2020; and
  • Waive underpayment penalties for 2020 estimated tax payments if paid by September 15, 2020, and extend the IRA contribution deadline.


  • Extend certain deadlines falling on or after March 15, 2020, and before October 15, 2020, to give businesses additional time to file and make payments through October 15, 2020;
  • Provide an automatic extension without the need to file any forms or request an extension;
  • Waive late payment penalties and interest through October 15, 2020; and
  • Provide relief for all businesses and tax-exempt organizations regarding elections and filings (including payroll, excise tax, etc.).

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Austin LewisAustin Lewis loves classic rock, despite being born a few decades late, and he goes to more concerts than anyone else in the office. Here he is in Toronto a few years ago, recreating the cover photo from one of his favorite Rush albums.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, is obsessed with true crime documentaries and photography. On weekends, you can find her around Wilmington photographing the refineries and eating at The Chowder Barge.

Lynn Freer, EALynn Freer, EA, is a French literature major, so of course her favorite vacation destination is France. Here she is dining on mussels and fish stew near Nice.

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