Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Alert >> Automobile Shipment Broker Settles with FTC Over Charges that It Misrepresented Online Customer Reviews

AmeriFreight, Inc., and its owner, Marius Lehmann, agreed to settle a complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming that the company and its owner failed to disclose that online customer reviewers were compensated with discounts and other incentives to review the company’s services.

The FTC’s complaint against AmeriFreight, which arranges shipment of customers’ cars through third-party freight carriers, charged the advertiser with misrepresenting online reviews by failing to disclose that it gave cash discounts or benefits to customers to incentivize their posting of online reviews. More…

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Securities Registration: SEC Announces Updated Exemption

On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted “Regulation A+,” a set of new rules updating and expanding the SEC’s existing Regulation A, designed to facilitate smaller companies’ access to capital and provide investors with more investment choices.

Under federal and state securities laws, primarily the Securities Act of 1933, a company that wants to raise capital by selling securities must either register the securities sales with the SEC or rely on an exemption from registration. Full SEC registration can be time-consuming and very expensive. One exemption from registration is provided under the SEC’s Regulation A, which exempts from registration qualifying securities offerings of up to $5 million. More…

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Protect Workers From The Number One Cause of Workplace Deaths – Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the number one cause of workplace deaths in the United States.  OSHA has partnered with the National Safety Council to call employers’ attention to this issue Distracted Drivingand urge the adoption of safe driving policies.  Failure to adopt and enforce such policies in the workplace leads to tragic results and OSHA has made it perfectly clear that employers who do not take this issue seriously should expect OSHA citations.  On its distracted driving webpage, the agency has stated that employers “have a responsibility and legal obligation to have a clear, unequivocal, and enforced policy against texting while driving.”

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The Wage Hour Implications of California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

Our colleague, Matthew A. Goodin, has written a piece about California’s new paid sick leave law entitled “California Employers Beware: It’s Time to Rewrite Your Sick-Leave And PTO Policies.”

The law impacts at least one wage-hour issue – paystub requirements – which are explained in Matthew’s  piece:

Paystub requirements Under the new law, an employee’s paystub (or another document provided to the employee on the employer’s designated payday) must set forth the amount of accrued sick leave the employee has available. Unless employers want to issue a separate document to each employee at every pay period, this requirement will most likely require most employers to make changes to their paystubs. Employers who use a third-party vendor for their payroll should not assume that their vendor will make the appropriate changes.  For example, many paystubs currently reflect the amount of sick leave an employee has used both in the current pay period and year-to-date, but do not reflect the amount accrued as required by AB 1522. Accordingly, employers should contact their payroll vendors to ensure their vendor will timely implement the changes required by the new law.

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Mixed domicile couples

Non-doms are in the news again, with one British political party wanting to scrap non-domiciled status if they are elected to be the next Government on 7 May.  This sort of headline reinforces the casual view that being a non-dom is always advantageous for UK tax purposes.  However, if you are part of a mixed domicile couple, where one of you is UK domiciled and the other isn’t, you might disagree.  Estate planning is not plain sailing for you.
Most married couples don’t think twice about mixing up their assets.  Buying houses jointly or contributing to a joint bank account, for example.  There are usually no UK tax consequences in doing so. 
Inheritance Tax (IHT) has a specific spouse exemption, categorising flows of wealth which would otherwise be transfers of value for IHT purposes as exempt transfers instead.  This generous exemption is curtailed where a UK domiciled spouse makes a transfer to a non-UK domiciled spouse, though (but not the other way around).  Since the Finance Act 2013, the spouse exemption available in this situation is the same as the prevailing IHT nil rate band, so currently £325,000 – and that is a lifetime limit; transfers do not drop out of the equation after seven years.  So if the UK domiciled spouse dies first and leaves all assets to his spouse who is still not UK domiciled, actual or deemed, at that point, there may be no spouse exemption available. 
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On May 15, Davis Malm shareholder Tamsin R. Kaplan will chair a program at the Social Law Library entitled “Employment Law Fundamentals: Get Smart or Get Sued®.” Designed for experienced business lawyers and new practitioners unfamiliar with employment law basics, this program will address a broad spectrum of legal and practical issues related to employment relationships and the workplace.

Ms. Kaplan and the other presenters will cover a variety of topics including:

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A Basic Guide For Foreign Purchasers of Massachusetts Residential Property,

The Greater Boston area has become one of the premier markets for real estate investment by foreign (non-U.S.) investors. In 2014, it ranked second among the top U.S. metropolitan markets (behind only Manhattan) as a destination for foreign investment, with $4.6 billion of total investment.

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Barristers Condemn Rise In Cost of Employment Tribunals

Over 400 barristers have signed an open letter stating their concern regarding the cost of employment tribunals in the UK.

The open letter directly attacks justice secretary Chris Grayling calling the increase in tribunal fees introduced by the government as a “barrier to access to justice”.

The letter states “It is very clear from the drastic reduction in the number of claims brought in the employment tribunal that fees are currently too high.”

“The fees are a significant barrier to accessing justice and are preventing employees from being able to complain about contraventions of their employment rights.

“We do not think that the current level of fees can be justified by the suggestion – repeatedly made by the media, politicians and others – that prior to July 2013 a significant percentage of employment tribunal claims were vexatious.

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Multistate Tax Update — April 16, 2015

Maryland Gov. Hogan is set to sign a tax amnesty law for 2015, the details of which are in Senate Bill 763 and House Bill 1233. The 60-day amnesty period will run from Sept. 1, 2015 to Oct. 31, 2015. The program will waive 50 percent of the interest imposed, and all civil penalties (except previously assessed penalties for fraudulent reporting) associated with the nonpayment, non-reporting, or underreporting of individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, withholding taxes, sales and use taxes, or admissions and amusement taxes which were due on or before Dec. 31, 2014.

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Ohio Statehouse Update: This Week in Ohio — April 16, 2015

This week House Republicans unveiled their first revision of House Bill 64, the state biennial budget, giving the bill a major overhaul from what Governor Kasich had previously proposed. The Governor’s plan to increase the severance, commercial activities, sales, and cigarette taxes to fund a state income tax cut bumped up against substantial opposition from businesses and industries that would be affected by the respective increases. Many legislators expressed frustration at the volume of changes to tax policy that have been enacted each year with the introduction of the Mid-Biennium Review process that the Governor initiated during off-budget years.

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