Monthly Archives: November 2016

Non-dom tax changes – IHT periodic charges and offshore trusts

Well advised non-doms know that UK situated assets should never be directly held by their offshore discretionary trusts.  To do so would subject the offshore trust to periodic charges to UK Inheritance Tax (IHT).  These charges comprise the entry charge, the ten year anniversary charge, and exit charges, where value leaves the trust after creation.

To avoid these charges arising, it has been commonplace for UK situs assets, such as UK real estate, to be owned by an offshore company, which in turn is wholly owned by an offshore trust.  The trust’s asset is the shares in the offshore company – non-UK situs, so the trust is not subject to periodic IHT charges as it does not directly own UK situated assets.  As a result, many non-doms have no understanding of what periodic charges are and when they apply.  However, if the Government’s proposals in their August Further Consultation come to pass, ignorance of IHT periodic charges could cost non-doms and their offshore trusts.

With the proposed move towards transparency, for IHT purposes, of offshore structures owning UK real estate from April 2017, non-doms owning UK residential property where a trust is involved in the structure will suddenly find, in many cases for the first time, that the periodic charges to IHT will start to bite on their trust.
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The importance of innovation and competitiveness

I am on the board of the Committee for Melbourne, an apolitical not-for-profit member based organisation with a passion for shaping Melbourne as a leading global city.

Recently I attended a Committee for Melbourne lunch featuring Geoff Culbert, President and CEO of GE Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Geoff spoke to the group about the vital importance of innovation to drive Australia’s competitiveness.

Geoff drew an interesting parallel with sports. Australians are passionate about sports. There was an uproar after Australia finished tenth on the medals tally at the Rio Olympics! Yet, we don’t approach innovation and business leadership with the same fervour. Australia is routinely ranked below 20th in global innovation indexes and this hardly raises an eyebrow.

Geoff commented that culture is critical to driving innovation and that our culture needs to change. He says that Australia needs to regain its optimism and energy if we are to become a truly innovative country, and drive growth. This means that we need to be more willing to embrace change and remove barriers.

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Application of the FLSA’s Tip-Credit Requirements Remains Hotly Disputed

Over the past year, there has been an increased discussion of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requirements for tipped employees. The courts have focused on a number of issues related to tipped employees, including addressing who can participate in tip pools and whether certain deductions may be made from tips. While the FLSA requires employers to pay a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in most cases, Section 203(m) of the FLSA provides that employers may take a “tip credit” and pay as little as $2.13 per hour to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, so long as two criteria are satisfied:

  • the employee’s wages and tips are at least equal to the minimum wage, and
  • all tips “received” by a tipped employee are actually retained by the employee or added into a tip pool that aggregates the tips of a group of tipped employees.

Notably, 29 CFR § 531.55 states that a “compulsory charge for service . . . imposed on a customer by an employer’s establishment, is not a tip . . . .” However, some states (such as New York) have their own requirements for determining whether a service charge will be considered a “tip.”

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DOJ and FTC Release Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals – Employment Law This Week

The top story on Employment Law This Week: The DOJ intends to investigate anti-competitive trade practices.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission released joint guidance for HR professionals on how antitrust laws apply to employment. The guidance explains that agreements among employers not to recruit certain employees—or not to compete on terms of compensation—are illegal. Notably, the DOJ announced that they plan to criminally investigate “naked no-poaching or wage fixing agreements” that are unrelated to legitimate collaboration between businesses. In the past, both agencies have pursued civil enforcement. Peter Altieri, co-editor of this blog and a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, is interviewed.

Watch the segment below and read our previous post on this topic.

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ILN Today Post

HOWARD & HOWARD CONTINUES TO EXPAND ROYAL OAK OFFICE

Royal Oak, Michigan, November 1, 2016: Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Kevin Sanker has joined the firm. He will practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak office.
Mr. Sanker concentrates his practice in real estate, corporate law, and business transactions. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Sanker worked in the auto industry where he managed inbound freight for one of the major automotive manufacturers in Michigan. He also worked in the mortgage industry for several years. As a mortgage banker, he counseled hundreds of clients through the home buying and mortgage lending process. As an underwriter, he analyzed financial and credit information to make lending decisions for a major retail mortgage lender.

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IS YOUR TRADEMARK MERELY DESCRIPTIVE?

photo-1466921583968-f07aa80c526eIn the United States, a trademark can be refused registration on the Principal Register because the trademark is deemed merely descriptive.  If the trademark is not allowed for registration on the Principal Register, it may be eligible for registration on the Supplemental Register.  So, how do you determine if your mark is descriptive and which register should you seek registration?

The main register for most trademarks in the United States is what is called the “Principal Register”.  A trademark that is registered on the Principal Register has certain advantages including using the registration symbol ®, protection against registration of a confusingly similar mark (likelihood of confusion), presumed notice to the public of a claim of ownership of the mark, a legal presumption of ownership of the mark and the exclusive right to use the mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration, establishing a date of constructive use of the mark as of the filing date of the application, filing suit in federal court to bring an action concerning infringement, preventing importation of infringing foreign goods by filing the registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, incontestability of the registration, and using the registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries.

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Hall & Wilcox named firm with most innovative legal IT at Lawtech Awards

Leading independent business law firm Hall & Wilcox was named winner of the Lawtech Innovation in Legal IT Award at the annual Chilli IQ Lawtech Awards held in Sydney as part of the Lawtech summit.

The Lawtech Awards are described as “a unique, peer driven opportunity to acknowledge the movers and shakers of the Legal IT industry”. Lawtech says the awards recognise innovation and performance for new and existing IT projects.

Hall & Wilcox were declared winners based on a web application designed in conjunction with Neota Logic, which enables workers compensation insurance providers to pursue recoveries in just minutes.

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Law Firm of the Future: Get Ready to Change

photo-1477414348463-c0eb7f1359b6Up until this point, as we’ve looked at the “law firm of the future,” we’ve mostly focused on the idea that we can take what we’ve been doing and adapt or tweak it in some way, so that we can continue on our paths and just improve ourselves. We’ve talked about embracing technology, making things better, using all of our people instead of just lawyers to be innovative and remain curious. And of course, none of these things are wrong. But are they too comfortable?

Are we just putting duct tape over a hole in our tire, instead of taking the tire off and putting on a new one?

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Davis Malm Named to 2017 “Best Law Firms” List in Metropolitan Boston Market by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®

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