Tax Law

Americans are obsessed with taxes.

Maybe it’s our libertarian streak. Maybe an anti-tax bias is in our DNA from the Boston Tea Party. In any event, no real American likes paying taxes.

And some people don’t like paying them even more than the rest of us. Like Donna Marie Kozak.

In Omaha Nebraska this week, Kozak was convicted of a number of tax crimes. She is a member of the “sovereign citizen group ‘Republic for the united States of America.’”

According to DOJ’s press release about the case,

since the late 1990s, Kozak has engaged in a long series of fraudulent schemes to obstruct the internal revenue laws. These included placing her property in sham trusts, establishing a sham charitable foundation, sending harassing correspondence to IRS employees and filing bogus tax returns, trust returns, private-foundation returns and other false documents with the IRS. In 2008, she filed a tax return based on fictitious income and tax withholdings on Form 1099-OID statements that claimed a refund of $660,000.

At trial, in addition to the questionable tax filings, she also seems to have filed a $19 million tax lien against a federal judge who oversaw the tax fraud prosecution against two of her friends. She also filed other multi-million dollar tax liens against the federal prosecutors who brought her friends’ case.

It seems Kozak did not have a legitimate claim to $19 million from that judge. And self-help to a fake tax lien is not how one should address a suspicion of prosecutorial overreach.

Like the folks who believe that the limits on maritime jurisdiction, explained by a talking salamander, holds the key to beating a federal criminal charge, the full tapestry of wacko tax fraud theories is a lovely thing to behold….

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* Utah appealed its same-sex marriage case to the Supreme Court, making it the first state whose law was smacked down by an appellate court to do so. Let the countdown begin. [National Law Journal]

* In the ruling that saved Alabama’s abortion clinics, Judge Myron Thompson likened the right to have an abortion to the right to bear arms. We can think of a few people who would take issue with that. [CNN]

* In case you’ve been wondering why tax inversions are hot right now, you can blame it all on some bicycling tax and M&A lawyers from Skadden — call them bikedudes at law, if you will. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Law schools tout the fact that their graduates are finding jobs in “J.D. Advantage” positions. Meanwhile, it remains unclear how much of an advantage a law degree actually offers in these jobs. [Am Law Daily]

* In a lawsuit peppered with crazy allegations, a law prof at Florida A&M claims in a gender discrimination complaint that male professors are “paid considerably more” than female professors. [Tampa Tribune]

Alec Baldwin was such a stud.

* “I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong.” President Obama is pointing the finger at companies using cross-border mergers to avoid U.S. taxes, and he wants to put an end to corporate tax inversions. [Bloomberg]

* Thomas Christina of Ogletree Deakins is the lawyer behind the recent circuit split on Obamacare’s state versus federal health insurance subsidies. Blame him or praise him, it’s up to you. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “I think I missed being in the courtroom more than I missed politics.” John Edwards, acquitted in 2012, is making court appearances again, but this time as a lawyer, not as a defendant. [Am Law Daily]

* A lawyer from Georgia hunts alligators in his spare time, and keeps the taxidermied head of one he caught right on his desk. He says it’s “a great conversation piece,” but that’s a pretty nasty paperweight. Eww. [Daily Report via ABA Journal]

* In a face-off with Alec Baldwin, a judge asked the actor to apologize. The combative Baldwin said he’d rather pay a fine, but if he can “[b]e a good boy,” his biking charge will be dropped. [New York Daily News]

Judge Emmet Sullivan

* Judge Emmet Sullivan (D.D.C.) wants the IRS to explain, in a sworn declaration, how exactly it lost Lois Lerner’s emails. [WSJ Law Blog]

* And the fun for the IRS continues today in the courtroom of Judge Reggie Walton (D.D.C.), as reported by Sidney Powell, author of Licensed To Lie (affiliate link). [New York Observer]

* Speaker John Boehner wants to take the Republicans’ crusade against Obamacare to the courts. [New York Times]

* Andrew Calder, the young M&A partner that Kirkland & Ellis snagged from Simpson Thacher for a reported $5 million a year, is already bringing in big deals. [American Lawyer]

How the cupcake crumbles: the once-successful venture of an NYLS grad and her husband needs a rescue.

* “Duke University is not and never has been in the business of producing, marketing, distributing, or selling alcohol.” Some bros down in Durham disagree. [ABA Journal]

* If you see something… sue someone? The ACLU and Asian American civil rights groups, together with some help from Bingham McCutchen, have filed a legal challenge to the Suspicious Activity Reporting database. [New York Times]

* Congrats to David Hashmall, the incoming chair of Goodwin Procter — and congrats to outgoing chair Regina Pisa, the first woman ever to lead an Am Law 100 firm, on her long and successful leadership. [American Lawyer]

* A group of investors might end up devouring Crumbs, the cupcake-store chain founded by New York Law School grad Mia Bauer that suddenly shut down this week amid talk of a bankruptcy filing. [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]

With the Supreme Court’s 2013 term concluding on Monday, many Americans are assessing how they feel about the judicial branch of their government. Even if you are still reeling about some of the decisions made recently by the least dangerous branch, don’t forget the executive. The president and his agencies can also make you wonder how the American experiment is panning out.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton issued an order to hear oral arguments from lawyers representing the Internal Revenue Service and the conservative nonprofit True the Vote. True the Vote is one of the conservative groups claiming IRS improperly targeted its application for nonprofit status based on the group’s political and philosophical affiliation. True the Vote filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and expedited discovery on Monday, calling for an independent forensics examination of any IRS hard drives, servers, or other computer hardware involved in the government agency’s possible targeting of conservative nonprofits’ applications for tax-exempt status. It wants an outside computer expert to try to ascertain how and when any electronic evidence, such as former IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner’s emails, may have been lost. Also, it would be great if the government didn’t spoliate — I mean “recycle” — any more evidence….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Celebrate July 4th Like Our Founding Fathers Intended: By Questioning The Government”

* In case you missed this piece of news amid yesterday’s Supreme Court madness, the Tenth Circuit found Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. It’s the first federal appeals court to make such a ruling. Hooray! [New York Times]

* “Just about everyone he came in contact with, he managed to corrupt.” Paul Daugerdas, formerly of Jenkins & Gilchrist, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in an $8B fraud scheme. [Businessweek]

* Despite what you may have been led to believe, not all patent awards are as high as those you see in media headlines. Fewer than 2% of infringement cases even result in damages. [National Law Journal]

* When is it okay to turn down a Biglaw offer and head to a plaintiffs firm? Probably when you’re planning to file a massive class-action suit against the MLB on behalf of minor leaguers. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

* William Mitchell Law’s new J.D. program is the first of its kind to be approved by the ABA. It’s half online, half on-site (does 9 times count as half?), and we see more like this coming down the line. [U.S. News]

* You’d think a tax attorney would remember to file a tax return. You’d be wrong. [SF Gate]

* You think you have difficult clients? Try representing a sovereign hellbent on making political hay by contradicting every representation you make in court. [Reuters]

* Dov Charney out at American Apparel. And he seemed like such a nice guy… [Slate]

* The Central Park Five civil rights lawsuit has settled for $40 million — or roughly $1 million for each year the accused spent in prison. [New York Times]

* It’s a bad week for everyone affiliated with the Miami Heat. Now they’re losing to bloggers. [South Florida Lawyers]

* In an unfortunate follow-up, the effort to unionize some lawyers at Bloomberg has fizzled and the primary organizer has been fired with no severance and a baby on the way. Which is surely a complete coincidence and not related to his organizing activity at all. [Fortune]

* Former Delaware Supreme Court Justice Carolyn Berger has resigned and she is not bashful that it’s all to do with being passed over as chief justice in favor of Leo Strine. [Delaware Law Weekly]

* Save the date, D.C. The 2nd Annual Go Formal for Justice gala will be held October 18. [DC Bar Foundation’s Young Lawyers Network / Facebook]

* Yale Law grad and former Senior Counsel to the World Bank, Karen Hudes, wants you to understand that JFK was killed over the gold standard and that there’s a species of coneheads in control of the Vatican. We should do a Career Alternatives on her. Video after the jump… [Starship Earth: The Big Picture]

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* While you weren’t looking, Phil Mickelson was cleared of insider trading of Clorox options. How does Lefty get his reputation back? Shooting better than 70 at Pinehurst would help. [mitchellepner]

* Lat reviews The Good Lawyer (affiliate link) by Douglas O. Linder and Nancy Levit. [Wall Street Journal]

* Canada grants asylum to Florida sex-offender. Maybe Canada can give a hand to Crystal Metheny. [National Post]

* Lawyer charged with stealing from clients defends himself: “[Wife] had become accustomed to a lavish lifestyle that generated living expenses of $40K per month.” Well then! [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

* Can President Obama just raise taxes unilaterally? Apparently so. [DealBook / New York Times (gavel bang: TaxProf Blog)]

* So as I read this, someone who definitely bought prostitutes to influence people is accusing someone else of allegedly buying prostitutes to influence people. [Forbes]

* How to make the most of your summer associate experience and not screw up spectacularly (though if you choose to screw up spectacularly, please do it in a reportable way). Video below… [Mimesis Law]

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* The intellectual property history of dog leashes. How long is a patent in dog years? [Slate]

* Trinity Western University, the new law school that bans gay people, just earned a thumbs down vote from thousands of area lawyers objecting to its accreditation. [CBC]

* 10 real-life laws that regulate the supernatural world. [io9]

* There’s a new bill of rights in this country and it comes from the IRS. The right to basically avoid taxes is only on the form for rich people. [TaxProf Blog]

* Mass incarceration in this country degrades citizenship. Sadly, this statement needed to be made. [Boston Review]

* After receiving an award, a young lawyer blasts legal aid cuts. [Legal Cheek]

* The Daily Show examines the ongoing effort to unionize college football with commentary by Dee Dee Benkie. She’s wrong of course — college football unions would work like professional sports unions representing players who face exactly the same workplace hazards, instead of stereotypical longshoremen — but it’s good to see even an anti-union advocate agreeing that players deserve something more than what they currently get. Video below…. [The Daily Show]

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

* If you want to become a Supreme Court justice, you can start by attending one of these three schools. The schools that produced the most justices are Harvard Law, Yale Law, and Columbia Law. [TIME]

* Many of the transactional practice areas that took a bruising during the height of the recession, like corporate work, M&A, real estate, and tax, seem to be coming back. Sorry litigators. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Following Oklahoma’s botched lethal injection, another death row inmate has been given a new lease on life — for the next six months — while an investigation is being carried out. [Associated Press]

* Members of the defense team for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev not only want their client’s comments after arrest stricken from the record, but they also want the death penalty off the table. Good luck. [CNN]

* A lawyer was arrested after a school board meeting because he complained for too long about a graphic sex scene in a book his daughter was assigned to read for school. That’s typical. [New York Daily News]

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