Tax Law

Weekend Warrior.JPGIf the power to tax is the power to destroy, then shouldn’t we at least try taxing stupidity? They’re thinking about doing it in France. From Going Concern:

Our frog eating friends have decided that they will start taxing people for their stupidity:
“The French Foreign Ministry is proposing a very narrow law requiring citizens foolish enough to wander into international danger zones, regardless of public warnings, to pay at least part of the cost of their own rescue.”

If you wander up a silly mountain and get stuck, it is civilized to have somebody go and try to find you even it was your own damn fault. But that doesn’t mean society should have to foot the entire bill for your weekend warrior shenanigans. Right?
Click on the link below to read — and comment on — the full post.
The Solution to All Our Fiscal Problems [Going Concern]

pink slip layoff notice small Above the Law blog.jpgNothing is certain but death and taxes — and employment for tax lawyers, right?
Not necessarily. Read more at our sister site, Going Concern.
True Partners Consulting Layoffs Get Our Attention [Going Concern]

It’s legal, so it’s within our jurisdiction. But our sister sites have written it up already, so we’ll simply refer you to their coverage.
UBS is Naming Names (Finally) [Going Concern]
UBS Eagerly Pays Extortion Money [Dealbreaker]


Henry Louis Gates Jr small Skip Gates.jpgAll the attention recently showered upon Harvard celebrity professor Henry Louis Gates since his arrest earlier this month has resulted in the discovery of tax problems at a foundation he created and oversees.
Read more and comment over at Going Concern.
Henry Louis Gates Can’t Catch a Break [Going Concern]

Kirk Herbstreit small.jpgKirk Herbstreit, ESPN commentator and former quarterback of The Ohio State University football team, let the fire department burn down his house. As fans from Michigan know, this is classic Buckeye behavior.
Herbstreit thought he’d get a tax deduction for his charitable gift of flammable substances. “Not so fast, my friends.”
Click on the link below to read the full story.
IRS Doesn’t Care for Kirk Herbstreit Burning Down His Own House [Going Concern]

loki.jpg* An MSM shout-out for ATL’s very own Hope Winters. [CNN]

* Mickey Rourke’s beloved chihuahua, Loki, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge this past Monday. Here’s to hoping that Mickey’s covered. [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]

* The Tax Workshop for Strippers & Sex Workers will be “speci​fical​ly helpful to those​ who work as indep​enden​t contr​actor​s,​ wheth​er in a club or doing​ priva​te work.​” Nice try federal investigators, but they’ve already pulled this stunt on To Catch a Predator. [The Faculty Lounge via TaxProf Blog]

* If Michael Jackson songs are prohibited on American Idol, I strongly recommend canceling the show. [Popsquire]

* When I first heard the term “waterboarding,” I thought it sounded like a delightful sport. [Brad DeLong: Notes]

* Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

And if I die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my toys to break.

So none of the other kids can use ‘em…

Amen. [Overlawyered]

live free or die from taxes.jpgMonday, the New York Supreme Court upheld a state statute requiring online retailers to collect taxes from New York residents.

The law applies to companies that don’t have offices in New York, but have at least one person in the state who works as an online agent — someone who links to a Web site and receives commissions for related sales.

It seems to me that freedom loving liberals and tax hating conservatives can agree that this decision heralds the end of the internet has we know it. What’s next, collecting taxes from porn sites? Instituting an e-stamp on emails? Government has been trying to get a taste of all that internet money for a long time. Don’t fool yourself, this decision opens the door for all kinds of government levies on the free flow of information and services on the web. Today, it’s a regressive tax on consumers. Tomorrow, it’ll be a two cent per word “sin tax” on text messages.

SCOTUS? Obama? Are there any “people’s employees” that are actually going to stand up for the people on this issue?

I keep using this term because it continues to be appropriate, but what we are seeing is Shock Doctrine decision making. Power players are using the financial crisis to force decisions through the system that people would never stand for under ordinary circumstances.

Officials estimated the state would gain nearly $50 million in the next two years from the tax. New Yorkers, like residents of many states, are currently on an honor system to report their online spending when they file state tax returns.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. And the New York Supreme Court just took down the energy shield. Beware, the AT-ATs are coming.

NY Court Clears Way for Taxing Online Sales [TaxProf Blog]

Court to Amazon: Keep Collecting Sales Tax [New York Times]

Amazon.com v. New York State Department of Taxation.pdf

wine glass.jpg

* A couple is suing United Airlines for “overserving” the husband by serving him red wine every 20 minutes on the flight. They say this is what caused him to beat his wife on the way to customs. [Chicago Tribune]

* “Federal judges in some parts of the United States are delaying the swearing-in of new citizens, apparently so that courts can keep millions of dollars in naturalization fees paid by immigrants, according to a new government report.” [The Washington Post]

* A Rhode Island family sued their cable provider for hooking up the Playboy channel, which plays hardcore porn. [Courthouse News Service]

* Investors in Madoff’s ponzi scheme might be able to get back some of their money by filing for a U.S. tax refund. As if the U.S. government isn’t paying out enough money these days…[Bloomberg.com]

* The high court in Europe says a UK couple should be bound by the ruling of judge in southern Cyprus that they demolish their vacation home. The house is built on land that belongs to a Greek Cypriot who claims it was taken from him during the Turkish invasion in 1974. [BBC News]

empire of taxes.JPGNew York City mayor Michael Bloomberg could be preparing to raise taxes:

To close budget gaps in the year that starts next July the mayor is thinking about a combination of sales tax increases and income tax hikes.

“Every city agency must push each dollar further,” Bloomberg said. “We’re going to do that and doing that means making hard choices that will not be popular with everyone or perhaps anyone.”

The mayor proposed raising the income tax by either 7.5 percent or 15 percent.

15 percent? Tastes like loss of purchasing power.

If New York associate salaries remain flat (a near certainty) then the incentive to work in NYC is … free Knicks tickets?

These new taxes could push the cost of living in New York well beyond the expenses of living on the International Space Station:

“Increasing the personal income tax would be a disaster for the city,” said Nicole Gelinas of the Manhattan Institute. “It’s hard to overestimate that fact. We’ve already got the highest local personal income tax in the nation.”

And this is of course before you take into account Obama’s planned tax increases on individuals making more that $250,000.

If you’re a mid-level NYC associate, it might be time to consider the legal market in New Hampshire.

Tax Hikes, Budget Cuts In The Works For NYC [CBS]

Obama smoking.JPGObama’s tax policy is finally revealed:

President Obama and the new Democratic Congress face unprecedented fiscal policy challenges. First, they must endeavor to restore public confidence and return our economy to a period of growth. Here one can only hope that any new economic stimulus is well-targeted and genuinely temporary. Extending unemployment coverage and benefits should take priority. (And we should modernize our archaic system for funding unemployment insurance.)

When we emerge from the current recession, the president must tackle more fundamental issues. We need to put our fiscal house in order, restructure tax policy toward healthcare and health insurance, and shift away from tax expenditures as our principal policy instrument for financing higher education, implementing energy policy, addressing long-term care needs and the like.

“Ronald Reagan will raise your taxes, and so will I.”

Mwahahahahahahaha.

Tax Policy in the Obama-Biden Administration [Tax Prof Blog]

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