Sculptor Slays Government Goliath

Some 20 years ago, a World War II veteran and prominent sculptor won a government competition to sculpt a memorial to Korean War veterans in Washington, D.C. His creation depicts a platoon of stainless steel, larger‑than‑life foot soldiers arranged in what has come to be called “The Column.” Five years later, another veteran, an amateur photographer, took photographs of the memorial. One of these photographs eventually was used by the federal government on a widely distributed postage stamp, for which the government paid the photographer $1,500. Continue reading

Tax Credits for Historic Preservation

For over 30 years, the federal government has been using tax incentives to help preserve historic buildings. Originally, federal law allowed accelerated depreciation on rehabilitated buildings, but subsequent changes have made preservation and revitalization efforts even more attractive to taxpayers. Continue reading

Overtime Pay Update

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay an employee an overtime rate of at least one and one‑half times the regular pay rate for any hours in excess of 40 hours a week. There are exemptions from this requirement for several types of employees, including employees in executive, administrative, or professional capacities. Continue reading

MySpace, students & free speech

In separate cases, two public school students used MySpace to post disparaging comments about each of their principals. Each of the students was punished with a suspension from school, and each made a federal case out of it, literally, by suing on the basis of alleged infringement of the right of free speech. Both cases arose in the same state, and the same federal appellate court decided appeals in the cases on the same day. The parallels end there, however, because one student succeeded in his First Amendment argument while the other student did not. Continue reading

What is an “S-Corporation”?

An S corporation is a form of business classified for federal income tax purposes as a corporation that has elected to be taxed as a pass‑through entity, in a manner similar to a partnership or sole proprietor. Unlike a regular corporation, or C corporation, an S corporation (both names derive from sections of the Internal Revenue Code) generally is not subject to federal income tax. Instead, its income is reported on the tax returns of its shareholders, and they have the responsibility for paying the tax. If there are losses suffered by the corporation, they also pass through and are reported on the shareholders’ income tax returns. Continue reading

Choosing an Executor for your Will

The designation of an executor for a will is one of the critical steps in effective estate planning. The executor will be the individual responsible for the administration of the estate. He or she must execute the necessary documents to submit the will for probate. Then the executor must gather all of the testator’s (person who makes the will) assets and distribute them in accordance with the terms of the will. Good recordkeeping will be essential because an accounting will have to be filed. Creditors’ claims will have to be dealt with, and estate tax returns may have to be filed. Continue reading

Credit card act of 2009

Recently, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the Credit CARD Act) went into effect. Congress saw a pressing need to protect consumers from abusive fees, penalties, interest rate increases, and other unjustified changes in the terms of credit card accounts. A new hike in the penalties for violators of the Act will provide extra incentive for compliance. Continue reading

E-mailed documents allowed

Shortly before he left the employment of a residential treatment center for addicted persons, an employee e‑mailed some of his employer’s documents to his and his wife’s personal e‑mail accounts. The employee operated two consulting businesses of his own concerning addiction rehabilitation services. The employer’s documents, including its financial statement and the names of past and current patients at the center, could have been useful to those businesses. Continue reading

Americans with disabilities act amendments

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), which went into effect last year, was a legislative response to U.S. Supreme Court precedent. The ADAAA generally makes it easier for some employees to establish themselves as “disabled” and to require accommodations from their employers. Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) fleshed out the import of the ADAAA when it issued new regulations and an interpretive guidance. Continue reading