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As party goers rang in 2017 this past holiday weekend, owners of Bitcoins had additional reason to celebrate as the value of the digital currency soared past $1,000 USD on Monday. The surge in Bitcoin price, up from just $200 USD in January 2015, may provide additional fodder for the IRS, who has its crosshairs set on Bitcoin users who do not properly report their income related to the buying, selling, and/or exchanging of the…
On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which amended the Economic Espionage Act of 1996 to create a federal civil remedy for trade secret misappropriation. The DTSA governs misappropriations occurring after the effective date of May 11, 2016. Although trade secret theft has been a federal crime since 1996, civil claims for trade secret misappropriation were almost always governed by state law. A corporation unable to establish…
On December 17, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that its Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) will increase efforts to work with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate and prosecute crimes related to workplace violations. According to the DOJ’s Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, “On an average day in America, 13 workers die on the job, thousands are injured and 150 succumb to diseases they obtained from exposure to…
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the federal government to revoke, deny, or limit passports for individuals with a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” The law defines “seriously delinquent tax debt” as owing the IRS more than $50,000 in tax, penalties, and interest. The measure, slipped into the enormous–more than 1,300 pages–highway funding bill [Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“Fast Act”)], gives the State Department the authority to revoke, deny or…
There has been much debate recently about state income tax rates and/or states having no income tax at all. Recently on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said he knows a lot of people who do what they can to avoid spending 180 plus days in his current state of Connecticut in order to avoid paying income tax there (Connecticut is currently considering hiking its state income tax rate). The reality is that while spending 183…
On April 28, 2015, Governor Jay Nixon signed Missouri House Bill 384 (H.B. 384), which created a Tax Amnesty Program (the Program) in the state of Missouri. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 32.383. To qualify for the Program, taxpayers with delinquent tax bills must pay the full amount of any taxes owed prior to November 30, 2015. In exchange, the Missouri Department of Revenue (MDOR) will forego collection of any applicable interest, penalties, or other…
A recent New York Times article contained anecdotes of several taxpayers having their bank accounts seized by the IRS even though they had not been convicted of any crimes. The article leaves the reader with the impression that taxpayers are helpless to defend against such action. While the New York Times article accurately conveys how traumatic such seizures can be for those involved—Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo, who was forced to delay his daughter’s college education for…
On September 8, 2014, the state of Illinois begins accepting applications for medicinal marijuana dispensary and cultivation center permits. Under the state’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, passed last year, Illinois will grant one cannabis cultivation permit for each of its 22 state police districts and as many as 60 medicinal marijuana dispensary permits throughout the state.…
In 2014, several payroll tax service providers allegedly embezzled millions of dollars in federal payroll tax payments from their clients. In June, the owner of Checkmaster Payroll Service in Massachusetts was indicted for allegedly stealing client funds that were supposed to have been used to pay clients’ federal employment taxes. The owner allegedly provided clients with “client copy” tax returns indicating that the taxes had been paid to the IRS, when they had not.  The…