April 20, 2017
There is no end in sight for legal challenges to state government efforts to tax remote sales. The latest involves a lawsuit that Bloomberg made available online, filed by NetChoice and the American Catalog Mailers Association. They say that a new Tennessee administrative rule violates the precedent established in the now familiar 1992 U.S. Supreme Court case, Quill Corp. v North Dakota, which made it unconstitutional for states to impose a use tax collection duty on out of state sellers with no physical presence in that jurisdiction.
The new administrative rule that the suit is premised on contains a nexus provision calling for “[o]ut-of-state dealers who engage in the regular or systematic solicitation of consumers in this state through any means,” with sales to in-state consumers of more than $500,000, to register with the Department, and collect the applicable sales and use taxes on those sales.
April 20, 2017
In 2016, 17 states, primarily located in the southeastern U.S., offered sales tax holidays, down from a peak of 19 states in 2010, according the Tax Foundation. In the think tank’s 2016 special report characterizing such events at “politically expedient but poor tax policy,” the authors contend that tax holidays distract policymakers and taxpayers from real, permanent, and economically beneficial tax reform. Sales tax holidays introduce unjustifiable government distortions into the economy without providing any significant boost to the economy. They represent a real cost for businesses without providing substantial benefits. They are also an inefficient means of helping low-income consumers and an ineffective means of providing savings to consumers.
April 20, 2017
In a March 2017 evaluation, the California Department of Finance, Office of State Audits and Evaluations revealed that the California State Board of Equalization’s (BOE) work is problematic because of its operational culture. This has “impact[ed] its ability to report accurate and reliable information to decision makers.” Moreover, “certain board member practices have intervened in administrative activities and created inconsistencies in operations, breakdowns in centralized processes, and in certain instances result in activities contrary to state law and budgetary and legislative directives.”
April 19, 2017
The Federal Government yesterday announced significant changes to the work visa program in Australia. The announced changes affect only pending and prospective work visa applicants. They do not impact visas already approved. We have prepared a summary of those changes below:
Temporary Work Visas
Updated Sponsorship List and visa grant period – from 19 April 2017
The Skilled Occupation List (SOL) will now be referred to as the Medium and Long term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will now be referred to as the Short term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL).
April 18, 2017
On 04 April 2017 the Russian Ministry for Economic Development published the Order No. 846 “On adoption of procedure of reviewing of declaration on characteristics of real estate unit and its template” (hereinafter – the “Order”).
The Order was adopted in accordance with clause 4 Article 12 of the Federal law No. 237-FZ of 03 July 2016 “On state cadaster evaluation” (hereinafter – the “Law No. 237-FZ”). This law governs the valuation procedure for the real property items starting from 01 January 2017. The valuation is performed by the Federal Cadastral Chamber. Article 12 of the Law No. 237-FZ covers matters of preparation for state cadaster evaluation and contemplates, that the real property owner can provide data on their real estate units to the Federal Cadastral Chamber or one of its branches (hereinafter – the “FCC”, “agency”). This information should be included into the template form adopted by the Order.
April 17, 2017
Tay v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue  NSWSC 338
In Tay v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue  NSWSC 338, the plaintiff was assessed by the Chief Commissioner of the State Revenue for transfer duty and landholder duty on the transfer of ordinary shares in his late father’s company (Memocorp) which was registered in Australia as a real estate investment vehicle. Under the Will, the children were entitled to the residue of the estate from the net proceeds of sale of the assets.
April 14, 2017
On March 15, 2017, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion that sheds insight on how courts view the “writing” requirement of various exceptions under the federal physician self-referral law (or “Stark Law”). The ruling involved the FCA qui tam case, United States ex rel. Emanuele v. Medicor Assocs., No. 1:10-cv-245, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36593 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 15, 2017), involving a cardiology practice (Medicor Associates, Inc.) and the Hamot Medical Center. The Court’s detailed discussion of the Stark Law in its summary judgment opinion provides guidance as to what may or may not constitute a “collection of documents” for purposes of satisfying a Stark Law exception.
April 13, 2017
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued guidance on reporting and monitoring cyber threats. The guidance comes just five months after the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that data breaches involving medical records of 500 or more individuals are increasing, a trend that is expected to continue as technology continues to evolve. In connection with its report, the GAO pushed OCR to update its guidance on protecting electronic health information.
The guidance encourages covered entities and business associates to report any suspicious activity (cyber security incidents, cyber threat indicators and defensive measures, phishing incidents, malware and software vulnerabilities) to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).
April 13, 2017
Congress has voted to overturn the customer privacy rules adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for wireless and home broadband internet service providers (ISPs) and other telecommunications carriers, thereby opening the door to more expansive and aggressive uses of customer data.
Last October 27, the FCC adopted rules establishing a framework of customer consent for ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast to be able to use and share their customers’ personal information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had previously regulated the privacy practices of broadband providers until a change in its jurisdiction in 2015.