Monthly Archives: September 2011

ILN Today Post

"Check your multistate tax liabilities," Chuck Zellmer interviewed by Smart Business Magazine

Check your multistate tax liabilities
Chuck Zellmer

Governments are looking to find new sources of revenue to hold their heads above water during troubling economic times or just to generate more income, and they are becoming more active in tracking down multistate and even multilocal tax liabilities.

“The states are becoming more and more active in making certain that the taxes they can charge are indeed charging,” says Chuck Zellmer, attorney for McDonald Hopkins LLC.

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ILN Today Post

"Are you legally vulnerable?" Jim Boutrous and Jim Giszczak interviewed by Smart Business Magazine

Are you legally vulnerable?
Jim Boutrous and Jim Giszczak

A recent amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act has lowered the threshold of who qualifies as disabled ? former distinctions are gone between a person with a disability who was recovering well and one who was not.

“The amendment has classified both as disabled under the statute,” says Jim Boutrous, attorney with McDonald Hopkins LLC in Detroit.

“Companies need to look at accommodation requests to see that if you are making an employment decision, you are doing it for legitimate bases, independent from the protected classification,” he says.

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ILN Today Post

"How recent oil and gas discoveries will impact Ohio businesses and landowners," Jeff Huntsberger interviewed by Smart Business Magazine

How recent oil and gas discoveries will impact Ohio businesses and landowners
Jeff Huntsberger interviewed by Smart Business Magazine

It was announced recently that the Utica Shale formation in Ohio is not only a source of natural gas, but oil as well. New technological advancements — especially in horizontal drilling techniques and the hydraulic fracturing of the shale (“fracking”) — along with the fact that the oil appears to be of high quality, is bringing drilling to Ohio a lot faster than originally thought.

“Drilling has been taking place in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for a while now,” says Jeffrey R. Huntsberger, a member of the Business Department and the Real Estate Practice Group at McDonald Hopkins LLC. “Geologists knew there was natural gas in Ohio’s Marcellus formations, but figured Ohio wouldn’t be as rich a source as Pennsylvania. All of that has changed now with the discoveries in the deeper Utica Shale formation. For example, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. recently said that his company expects to invest $10 billion per year in Ohio for the next couple of decades.”

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ILN Today Post

Section 106 obligations: reducing the affordable housing requirement – renegotiation or appeal

Over the last couple of years, it has become increasingly common for disputes to arise as to whether or not a proposed development would be viable if it is required to carry an affordable housing obligation that is consistent with local planning policy.  A recent Court of Appeal decision provides an interesting insight into how differences between local planning authorities and developers may be resolved and is likely to encourage developers to resist an authority’s demands and take their chances at appeal.  A subsequent decision of the High Court demonstrates, however, that it cannot be assumed that an affordable housing obligation can be reduced at a later stage even if planning policy has softened.

In Vannes KFC v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the Court of Appeal was asked to consider the legality of a decision made by a planning inspector on an appeal brought by Vannes against a refusal of its application for planning permission.  There was no dispute that the proposed change of use from hotel to residential was acceptable but one of the key issues at the Inquiry was whether or not the developer should be required to provide some affordable housing either on site or by way of a financial contribution to the Council.

For the full article, please click here.

 

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ILN Today Post

Keep Calm And Carry On – Don’t Panic!

“Keep Calm And Carry On” was a poster produced by the British government early on during the Second World War.  It was intended as an exercise in morale boosting for the British public.  Seventy years on, the slogan finds itself at the centre of another battle in Europe, this time before the European Community Trade Mark office in Alicante.

In 2009, an entrepreneur by the name of Mark Coop started to produce a range of goods bearing the “Keep Calm And Carry On” slogan.  Starting with t-shirts, he rapidly expanded so as to include mugs, soft furnishings, cufflinks and now even produces deck chairs and chocolate bars all bearing the same phrase.  Mr Coop had the foresight to apply to register a community trade mark in a wide variety of classes.  As a result, Mr Coop acquired the exclusive right to apply the slogan to the goods for which the community trade mark was registered, and used his registrations to prevent anyone else from using the slogan on various products.

For the full article, please click here.

 

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ILN Today Post

IRS Announces the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

On the heels of the U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement that it was going to share independent contractor misclassification information with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the IRS recently announced the implementation of the “Voluntary Classification Settlement Program” (“VCSP”). The VCSP is intended to encourage employers who have misclassified workers, for a relatively small payment to the IRS, to reclassify those workers as employees for federal employment tax purposes. In effect, this allows employers to avoid all but 10% of the past employment tax liability that the companies would have owed for prior years. The IRS will also not conduct employment tax audits of the companies for prior years with respect to the classification of the workers.

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ILN Today Post

DOL Set to Share Employee Misclassification Information with the IRS and States

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

In what appears to be another example of cracking down on the improper use of independent contractors, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently announced it is entering into agreements with the IRS, as well as some state agencies (including Illinois state agencies), to share information regarding employers who have improperly classified employees. The DOL maintains that these arrangements are necessary to share information and coordinate law enforcement with the participants to end the practice of misclassifying employees. However, it is clear that this collaboration has as much to do with enhancing the inflow of tax revenues as it does with protecting employees.

What this practically means for businesses is that if the DOL determines that an independent contractor is misclassified, it can share that determination and evidence with, for example, the Illinois Department of Employment Security or other state agencies, which could very well lead to additional investigations, fines, fees and liability upon the business beyond those by IDOL. In light of this, every company with a business model based, in whole or in part, upon the use of independent contractors should prepare itself for this new enforcement activity and immediately consult with an employment attorney to perform an audit of those workers.

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Charity Wills Week 3rd to 7th October, 2011

Holmes O’Malley Sexton Solicitors in Dublin and Limerick are having a Charity Wills Week from Monday the 3rd to Friday the 7th of October, 2011.

To View Entire Article CLICK HERE…

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Business Succession Plan

View two articles published in The Gazette and in the Financial Post in which Me Martin Lord, a Partner heading the Tax Law Department at RSS, explains the importance of a good business succession plan.

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Download the publication

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ILN Today Post

Jason Tremblay Obtains Significant IDOL Victory for Assignee

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

Jason Tremblay recently obtained the reversal of several Wage Payment Demands issued by the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”) on behalf of a client. The client was an assignee for the benefit of the creditors of an Illinois company that was financially distressed. Instead of filing a bankruptcy, the company elected to conduct an assignment for the benefit of creditors. In that regard, the assignee continued to wind down the operations of the business in order to liquidate assets and to pay off creditors of the company. Thereafter, several former employees of the company who were allegedly not paid wages filed wage claims before the IDOL. The IDOL Administrative Law Judge held that, in light of the fact that the business was still operating (albeit in the limited role of just liquidating assets to pay off secured creditors), the assignee was still an “employer” under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and therefore subject to liability.

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