Law Feed

A photo of Chocolate Lab's chocolate lasagna, posted on Yelp in March by a diner. The Denver, Colorado, eatery now is closed, apparently due to delinquent taxes. Even before The Bear started streaming, it was no secret that running a restaurant is difficult. In addition to culinary responsibilities, restauranteurs must tend to zoning issues, health department inspections, and labor concerns. And, of course, there are tax matters. It's that last one that apparently has led to the closure of Denver's only chocolate-centric restaurant. I know, you wish you had made it to the Mile High City to try out Chocolate... Read more →


With summer here, most of us are taking advantage of this traditional season of breaks to, well, take breaks from work. I am among them. To make the end of work weeks during the summer a little easier, I'm resuming an older ol' blog feature, Tax Felon Friday. Tax offenses generally aren't as lurid as those in, for example, true crime podcasts. (Yes, I am a big fan of them.) But this first of the revived Tax Felon Friday series does have a connection to a prior prurient federal case. In the summer of 2017, Frank Parlato, Jr. helped expose... Read more →


Harvard University, pictured here in Richard Rummell's 1906 watercolor landscape, would pay the most if a Massachusetts tax bill tied to students who get in based on family connections is enacted. (Image Courtesy of Arader Galleries via Wikipedia Commons) Following the Supreme Court's ruling that effectively ends affirmative action in college admissions, a proposal by two Massachusetts state lawmakers is getting a lot of attention. Their bill would tax rich colleges in the Bay State, including Harvard, whose policies were the basis of the high court decision, and put the money into a trust to fund community colleges is getting... Read more →


World's youngest CPA Jimmy Chilimigras, left, with his mentor Bryan Kesler. (Screen capture from Kesler CPA Review video) When I was 15, summer was a fun time. No school. The public pool was open. And I was getting driving lessons in anticipation of my 16th birthday when I could get my license. Yes, I am that old. James Chilimigras has other plans this summer. Sure, Jimmy, as he's known, is doing some fishing around his Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, home. But the 15-year-old is also getting ready to attend New Orleans' Loyola University law school in neighboring Louisiana this fall.... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ License The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) wrapped its latest term on Friday with a couple of education-related rulings — affirmative action in college admissions and student loan forgiveness; the high court said nope to both — that will be dissected for a while. But we're still talking about a year-old decision by the justices. On June 24, 2022, SCOTUS overturned 1973's Roe v. Wade, sending abortion decisions back to the 50 states. That's effectively limited the availability of the medical procedure in more than half of the country. Last year's Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s... Read more →


The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday struck down college admission affirmative action policies. Some legal experts say the high court's decision could also lead to more, and similar, challenges in how corporations make hiring and promotion decisions. That got me thinking, of course, about taxes. IRS audit unfairness: Most people who are audited by the Internal Revenue Service think they are being unfairly targeted. It seems that might actually be true in some cases. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel recently acknowledged that the way the tax agency applies the federal tax laws is discriminatory. In a letter to the chair of the... Read more →


If you were rich, what would you buy with all your money? (Photo by Leon Kohle on Unsplash) During the 1992 presidential election, then-candidate Bill Clinton's mantra was "It's the economy, stupid." It worked. Clinton was elected and served two terms. Now a group of wealthy individuals worldwide are hoping a tweaking of Clinton strategist James Carville's iconic phrase will help them convince governments to increase taxes on the rich and simultaneously raise the minimum wage. "It's the inequality, stupid," say those who are part of the nonprofit Patriotic Millionaires. The group points to the astounding escalation of economic inequality... Read more →


We got word today that a person connected to the White House and who didn't pay all his due taxes is pleading guilty to tax evasion. No. It's not that person. It's Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden. The younger Biden has agreed to plead guilty to two charges of misdemeanor tax evasion and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a firearm possession charge, according to a Justice Department court filing today in Delaware. The two tax charges carry a maximum of one year in prison as well as a $25,000 fine. The arrangement reportedly also includes repayment of... Read more →


International air carriers on tarmac photo by Marek Ślusarczyk via Wikipedia Got summer plans? Or maybe they're just wishes. Eighty-five percent of those who participated in a recent survey by the digital financial services company Ally said they wanted to travel, but financial concerns are putting the brakes on their trips. And if your dream excursion is beyond U.S. borders, another fiscal issue could keep you grounded. The U.S. Department of State can pull your passport or prevent its issuance or renewal if you have a substantial unpaid federal tax bill. Tax amounts that will curb travel: So what exactly... Read more →


After legislative and court fights, Washington State's capital gains tax took effect on Jan. 1, 2022. The Evergreen State's 7 percent tax applies to the sale of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets exceeding $250,000. And its collection, with the tax's first payments due this past April, has been a boon for the state's treasury. Initial estimates predicted the capital gains tax might provide Washington State around $248 million in this fiscal year, which ends on July 1. The actual amount the state has collected as of May 9 was more than three times that: $849 million. Education boost: Washington... Read more →


Remember the 94-year-old Minnesota woman whose home was seized by country tax collectors after she stopped paying her property tax bills? Such action is commonplace, as noted in my earlier post on this topic. But in Geraldine Tyler's case, Hennepin County kept all the money it got when it sold her condo, not just the amount needed to cover her delinquent real estate taxes. Those taxes, plus penalties, interest, and other costs, came to $15,000. The Minnesota county got $40,000 for the property. Yesterday (May 25), the Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS, unanimously ruled in Tyler's favor.... Read more →


Mike Mozart via Flickr CC In April 2019, the online investigative news site Pro Publica revealed that some major tax software companies who were part of the Internal Revenue Service Free File partnership instead used computer code to funnel taxpayers to their products' paid filing options. State officials soon started their own investigations into the tax preparation marketing tactic. The following year, Intuit, the corporate parent of the popular TurboTax tax prep program, reached a settlement agreement with all 50 states (via 49 state Attorneys General and the Hawai'i Office of Consumer Protection), and the District of Columbia. That deal... Read more →


Updated, Thursday, May 25, 2023 (see so-noted paragraph below) The interior of the U.S. Supreme Court (Photo by Phil Roeder, Flickr via Wikipedia) April is not a fun fiscal month for a lot of us. In addition to Tax Day, when many of us, including the hubby and me, owe the U.S. Treasury a bit, along with an estimated tax payment, it is property appraisal time here in Texas. The last couple of years, that's been particularly distressing. If we were putting our house on the market like a couple of our neighbors, we'd be happy that we could ask... Read more →


Click image to read full indictment. April 4, 2023, is one of those "where were you when…" days. Many of us were in front of our televisions or computer screens watching the formal criminal arraignment of a former U.S. president. Donald J. Trump pleaded not guilty today to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. "True and accurate business records are important everywhere, to be sure. They are all the more important in Manhattan, the financial center of the world," said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg at an afternoon press conference in which he discussed why his office brought the... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio Forgiveness of debt piled up by college students has been a campaign mainstay in recent elections. It finally became a reality in August 2022. Sorta. On Aug. 24, 2022, President Joe Biden directed the Department of Education to forgive up to $10,000 per borrower of federally-held student loan debt, $20,000 for those who went to school on Pell grants. The next month, six Republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop the Biden move. In October 2022, a federal appeals court ordered the loan forgiveness plan put on hold while the case is considered. Now,... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions Welcome to the continuation of the ol' blog's Tax Crime Weekend! Yesterday's post featured efforts to end abusive tax schemes and bring their promoters to justice. Today's post expands on the legal reckoning theme. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, known as IRS-CI, recently revealed its top 10 cases of 2022. Wide variety of schemes, one outcome: The tax evasion attempts included Ponzi pyramid schemes, fake businesses, COVID-19 fraud, bogus tax credit, and even a reality TV couple. And more. Despite the diversity of their criminal tax acts, they shared one thing. They got caught.... Read more →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C., in 1963 where he delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. (Photo via Wikimedia) On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day federal holiday, the focus once again is on public service. It's a way to honor The Rev. Dr. King's commitment to helping those who need it the most. It's also a time when we rightfully recall the civil rights leader's most famous speech, his delivery of his "I have a dream" vision of equality in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. But King also knew that hard, practical work was... Read more →


One of the forms in the long list of tax documents you need to file your 2022 return is the 1099-K. This form has been used for years for third-party payment processors — for example, PayPal, Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, rideshare companies, and many more — to report to fund recipients the money they got during the year. The Internal Revenue Service also gets a copy so it can check the amounts that the earners report on their tax returns. Taxpayers have been getting 1099-K forms since 2012, with this initial reporting coving third-party amounts in 2011. The factors that... Read more →


The tax year is over. Long live the tax year. Taxes are, if nothing else, persistent. Sure, there are a few (or more) changes every year, even if it's only inflation adjustments. But even in years when the changes are negligible, they are back, starting to add up on the first of every January. That's why 2023 is the first By the Numbers honoree of this new year. The transition from an old to a new tax year is also the focus of this post. It's a look at six tax matters that affected or at least fascinated us in... Read more →


Nothing ever disappears on the internet. Even, or especially, tax related posts. Take the bad legal take on taxes that tops this post. It was retweeted on Sunday (Dec. 11) by, you guessed it, Bad Legal Takes. But there's no indication of when Dave Champion originally blasted out his bad tax advice. It might have been before he was barred by a federal court in 2012 from promoting a tax fraud scheme. Or maybe he's back, since this Tweet apparently went up in October. His books also are still for sale online. Either way, that item this weekend spurred a... Read more →