Law Feed

Time's person of the year for 2017 is a lot of people. The magazine selected all the women and men who who publicly spoke about being victims of sexual harassment and abuse as a way to stop it and help others who have been victims, known on social media as the #MeToo movement. Ironically, today's announcement of Time's 90th most notable person (called Man or Woman of the year until 1999) was overshadowed by the continuing sexual harassment controversy in the political world. Sitting and wannabe Senator troubles: Roy Moore, who is seeking Attorney General Jeff Session's former Senate seat... Read more →


Pong via Giphy Who knew 45 years ago today when Atari released Pong that the two-dimensional video version of table tennis would herald in a fascination and fixation with video games? Who also knew that those games would become a major battle front in the taxing of digital entertainment? We've come a long way, baby, to borrow a phrase from Pong's era. Old and new gaming options: Since Pong's Nov. 29, 1972, debut and consumer acceptance that made it the first commercially successful video game, the world has become populated with video game addicts of all ages. The variety of... Read more →


Fifteen Chicago-area men have had their names, and legal records, cleared. If they eventually get monetary restitution for the time they spent in jail for crimes they didn't commit, they also could get some tax relief. (Click CNN screenshot for full story.) "I'm innocent!" That post-conviction proclamation by many now behind bars is greeted by the strict law-and-order crowd with cynical eye-rolling. But in the case of at least 15 Chicago-area men, protestations that they didn't commit the crimes for which they did the time were true. And if these fully, officially, legally not guilty men ever receive compensation for... Read more →


After four and a half years, the Internal Revenue Service Tea Party targeting scandal has been resolved. On Thursday, Oct. 26, the Justice Department announced that it has entered into proposed settlements with the two major challenges by conservative groups against the IRS. Substantial payments to plaintiffs: While the Justice Department did not discuss deal specifics, the Wall Street Journal reported that the payouts to plaintiffs in the Linchpins of Liberty and Norcal Tea Party Patriots cases could be between $1 million and $10 million. The conservative groups who joined the lawsuits had alleged in 2013 that their applications for... Read more →


There could be some consistency in how states collect sales tax on consumers' online purchases if the Supreme Court agrees to hear a South Dakota case. Many states are ignoring the sales tax law of the land, decided in 1992 by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Quill v. North Dakota. Soon another Dakota high court case, this one from South Dakota, could change the state sales tax collection law for remote sellers. On Sept. 14, the Mount Rushmore State's quest to collect sales tax from online et al retailers was rejected by that state's highest court. That's just what... Read more →


UPDATE: On Oct. 2, 2017, South Dakota made it official when Attorney General Marty Jackley filed a petition for certiorari, asking the United States Supreme Court to review the South Dakota Supreme Court decision in State of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Overstock and Newegg. South Dakota wants the nation's highest court to overrule current physical-presence requirement that prevents it (and other states) from requiring out-of-state retailers to remit taxes for sales made within state borders. Online is the preferred purchasing method for millions. That's why states are looking at law changes, and court rulings, that let them get their sales... Read more →


Some type of marijuana use is legal in more than half of the United States. State and local coffers get associated pot taxes, but that could stop if the feds start cracking down on what is still an illegal drug in Uncle Sam's eyes. (Photo courtesy GreenerCulture.com) U.S. Attorney General (for now) Jeff Sessions apparently really wants federal law enforcement to once again target marijuana. But a return to a tougher prosecution by Uncle Sam could produce some serious push-back from states where pot is legal if they show tax revenue results like Colorado. Since Colorado became the first the... Read more →


Honestly, rich people. You can afford to hire good tax advisers and accountants. Why don't you?!? That's the question I ask every time another celebrity gets in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Last week it was boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Now the latest wealthy person who just can't get a grip on taxes is hip-hop icon DMX. Although rapper DMX seemed pretty composed after his court appearance last week on tax evasion charges, I suspect at some point this was his reaction to the federal charges. The 46-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Earl Simmons, is accused of 14... Read more →


UPDATE, Sept. 18: The House of Representatives continues to make progress in efforts to end civil asset forfeitures. On Sept. 12, the chamber passed via voice vote an amendment to an appropriations bill that would bar bonuses for a section of Department of Justice (DOJ) employees until they rule on 255 civil cases referred to them by the Internal Revenue Service. This follows the Sept. 5 House passage, also by voice vote, of H.R. 1843, the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools, or RESPECT, Act. The legislation, discussed below, would impose new restrictions... Read more →


This post was updated Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Paid tax return preparers must sign their clients' 1040 forms and include their IRS-issued professional ID number. The IRS lost a court case to charge a fee for the identifiers, known as PTINs, but is seeking a stay of that order pending possible appeal of the case. If you're a tax preparer who's hoping to get back fee you paid for your IRS-issued special identification number, you could be waiting a bit longer. The Internal Revenue Service on July 24 formally asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to... Read more →


Undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. is trying to avoid a knockout from the Internal Revenue Service. Mayweather still owes the federal tax collector a reported $22.s million for his 2015 taxes. That year, Mayweather reportedly earned as much as $230 million for besting Manny Pacquiao in the heavily promoted Fight of the Century. Floyd Mayweather's official weigh-in before his 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. Money earned on that match is at the center of an unpaid tax bill battle Mayweather's waging with the IRS. (Photo courtesy Pixabay via Wikimedia Commons) Rich, but tax cash poor: Mayweather... Read more →


The cost of college continues to simmer as an educational policy and legal issue, particularly when it comes to student loans. Democratic attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia on July 6 filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her department to stop her from changing rules that erased the federal student loan debt of those who were cheated by colleges that acted fraudulently. Consumer groups also have joined the litigation list. The Obama Administration finalized the so-called borrower defense rules last October. They were scheduled to take effect on July 1. DeVos, however, froze... Read more →


One of Wimbledon's famed grass courts, which are the focus of the tennis — and betting — worlds as tournament matches started July 3. (Photo by Nic Gould via Flickr) Wimbledon, one of the crown jewels of professional tennis, begins today. You know what that means. Bookies across the United Kingdom are taking bets. Yes, sports betting is legal in Great Britain. It's also legal in much of Europe. In England, it's no problem to find the latest Wimbledon betting odds, along with tips on which players to stake your discretionary cash. Big global bucks: Sports betting across the pond... Read more →


After a brief hiatus, the Internal Revenue Service has reinstated its online tool where professional tax preparers can obtain the official identification numbers required to file returns. On June 1, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a mixed ruling in a class action lawsuit against the IRS, Adam Steele, et al. v. United States of America (Case No. 1:14-cv-01523-RCL). The federal judges said that while ruled that while the IRS has the authority to require tax pros to get Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, or PTINs, the tax agency cannot charge for the ID numbers. The... Read more →


Many professional tax preparers say that giving the Internal Revenue Service added regulatory ability over their jobs isn't warranted. The tax agency and Trump Administration disagree. (Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr CC) The Trump Administration has continued the current trend of cutting the Internal Revenue Service's annual operating funds, but a provision in the new White House's fiscal year 2018 budget also could solve a new IRS problem. On June 1, the Internal Revenue Service got the bad news from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that the tax agency can't collect fees from... Read more →


Another online Internal Revenue Service tool has been taken offline, but this time it's not security related. Instead, the IRS has shut down the online method by which tax professionals can apply for a Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN, in the wake of a court ruling against the federal tax agency. When you hire a tax pro to help you file your annual return, that paid preparer has to include his or her PTIN on your 1040. But a recent court ruling says the IRS no longer can charge preparers for this special identifying number. Since the fall of... Read more →


Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominated by Donald J. Trump to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy created by the unexpected death last year of Justice Antonin Scalia, was sworn in April 10, 2017, becoming the 113th person to serve on the nation's highest court. Image courtesy White House Facebook video Gorsuch's wife, Marie Louise Gorsuch, held the family bible as Justice Anthony Kennedy administered the oath of office to his former law clerk during a White House Rose Garden ceremony with the president watching. The 49-year-old Gorsuch no doubt will have a say on many tax matters during his lifetime tenure... Read more →


When Amazon starts collecting sales tax from internet buyers in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Mexico on April 1, it will mean the online retailer will be a tax collector for all 45 states and the District of Columbia that have the levies. No, it's not a bad April Fools' joke targeting online shoppers. On this April 1, Amazon really will start collecting state sales taxes nationwide. The Seattle-based internet retailer already was adding the tax line to invoices in most of the 45 states and District of Columbia that have sales (or similar) taxes. Now, final deals have been... Read more →


A Pennsylvania man said he didn't file 10 years' worth of federal tax returns because the forms required use of a Social Security number, which he considered analogous to the Biblical "mark of the beast." James Kerr Schlosser's 666 tax protest, however, didn't convince the Internal Revenue Service or the legal system. The 59-year-old Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, resident was convicted on March 7 of failing to report $2.3 million he earned as a medical equipment salesman. Foreign accounts, coins used in scheme: To evade the tax due on the millions, federal court papers show that Schlosser used foreign business trusts and... Read more →


Sure, you're happy to tell your friends about the online bargains you get, but not so much your state's tax officials. That essentially will happen in Colorado this summer. But it won't be shoppers revealing their internet purchases. It will be the companies that sold them the stuff. Colorado online shoppers oppose the state's new sales tax reporting law because it violates their privacy. And oh yeah, now they'll have to pay more tax. The online purchase info is part of a creative way Colorado lawmakers devised to try to collect the almost $173 million in tax revenue they say... Read more →