By Sean Chi
Tax Attorney, The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein
Okay, so here’s another reason to have a safe New Year’s Eve:
If you have a relative that has an estate worth at least $3.5 million, you may want to make sure they don’t party too hard prior to the drop of the ball tonight.
That’s because the estate tax is due to expire for one year beginning on January 1st, 2010.
What that means is this: that starting midnight tonight, any relative of a dying individual worth more than $3.5 million will get their share of the pie tax free.
So, if your beloved (and incredibly rich) grandmother is currently hanging on to dear life, you may want to make a trip to the hospital to encourage her to keep fighting the good fight. But…you don’t want to encourage too much, since the estate tax returns in 2011 at an even higher tax rate.
This may all prove to be null and void, by the way, as the Senate may pass a retroactive extension to the current estate tax to apply to 2010, although it would likely have to survive a Constitutional challenge by conservatives (retroactive tax laws have been allowed in the past).
Of course, as with all things tax related, there is also a complicated increase to the capitol gains tax that would make up for the savings in the removal of the estate tax.
With the current flux in tax law, if you have a relative passing away this year, you may find an unwelcome surprise in the next few years when the IRS may audit you for significantly higher taxes than you originally expected for 2010.
Maybe you shouldn’t pull the plug on dear old grandma just yet.
Compiled from the whole staff of Spar & Bernstein:
To be the best wife, mother, friend and person I can be.
To exercise more and eat less.
To not stress out so much and enjoy life more.
To finally sign up with an ad agency to become a print model.
To lose weight.
To gain weight.
To find inner happiness.
To stop thinking with the “grass is greenier on the other side” mentality.
To finally get my house looking spotless.
To be a nicer person.
To make sure I spend more time with my family and friends.
To watch less TV and read more.
To be kinder to myself.
To learn a new skill.
To cut up my credit cards and start paying for everything in cash.
To be taller.
To be more neat and organized.
To not spend so much time on my computer.
To stop text messaging so much.
To save more money.
To take a great vacation to the exotic locale of my dreams.
To volunteer my time to help others in need.
To make sure to actually MAKE New Year’s resolutions.
Please tell us yours! We’d love ot hear them!
By Sean Chi
New York Tax Attorney, The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein
Joe Francis, the unctuous, oft-controversial founder of “Girls Gone Wild,” is suing the IRS for a Wrongful Collection Action after they filed a federal tax lien for $33,819,087.14 and issued levies on all his bank accounts to collect on the tax debt.
According to TMZ.com, Francis claims the IRS froze his assets within three hours after he left the courtroom after reaching a plea deal on criminal tax evasion charges.
The basis of his claim against the IRS is based on the erroneous belief that the IRS can only freeze assets if a taxpayer is preparing to flee the country, if the taxpayer is attempting to move assets out of the reach of the IRS, or if the taxpayer appears to be going bankrupt.
While all of the above is true, it’s not only under those circumstances that the IRS can lien and levy assets.
According to Internal Revenue Manual § 22.214.171.124 states:
The purpose of filing the NFTL is to protect the Government’s right of priority against certain third parties, typically a purchaser, holder of a security interest, mechanic’s lienor, or judgment lien creditor.
Furthermore, Internal Revenue Manual § 126.96.36.199.1 states:
The Internal Revenue Code authorizes levies to collect delinquent tax.
What the above boils down to is simple: if you owe the IRS taxes, they can and will file a lien to stake a claim to your property, and they can and will freeze bank accounts, garnish wages, and seize your property to get their money.
Assuming the IRS took the proper steps prior to issuing the lien and levy – and that the facts available are entirely accurate – I can’t imagine Francis having a very good chance of coming out on top here.
In the end, he didn’t beat the IRS with his plea deal, and settling his criminal problems didn’t settle his tax problems.
The unfortunate truth is this: the IRS, like Paris Hilton, doesn’t go away easily.
If you owe the IRS $34 million and you have millions stashed away in bank accounts, it can and WILL come after you.
Fast and hard.
Arrangements should’ve been made as soon as possible to avoid the levies, because once the IRS has its hands on your money, it’s very difficult to get it back. You certainly don’t want to wait until it freezes your bank accounts to deal with your tax problems.
Of course, time will tell whether Francis prevails in his lawsuit, or whether, like the too-young-to-know-any-better subjects in his videos, he simply loses his shirt.
Source: ABC News
After five years of court battles, David Goldman finally won custody of his son, Sean, and brought him home to the U.S. for Christmas. And, he thought his fight was over, but now, Goldman is facing the new year with new uncertainties.
The international custody tug-of-war over nine-year-old Sean Goldman apparently isn’t over.
David Goldman, who brought his son home from Brazil on Christmas Eve, says the transition has been easy.
But now, the boy’s Brazilian family is vowing to continue the fight.
Last night, Sean’s Brazilian grandmother told ABC News her grandson did not have his basic rights respected, which was to be listened to by the Brazilian justice system.
Brazilian courts have already denied the family’s initial request to let Sean testify but have not made a final ruling on the matter. Some legal experts in the U.S say it is unlikely that any ruling by Brazil’s courts would be enough to send Sean back.
Although Goldman was angry about how the family handled the boy’s transfer by dragging him in front of the cameras, he allowed Sean to speak to his grandmother in Brazil. He’s called her three times so far since his arrival in the U.S.
Father and son spent the first few days in the United States with relatives in Orlando, Florida after their flight out of Brazil.
They returned to New Jersey this weekend.
Spar & Bernstein matrimonial/family law attorney Adam Handler had this to say about the high-profile case:
As a father, a child of divorce, and a lawyer who deals in these cases, I’m all too aware of the effects a custody dispute can have on a child. And the tragedy, sadly, is multi-fold:
1) The child was removed from this country without the knowledge, permission and/or consent of the father.
2) The child’s mother is dead.
3) And an innocent child has been the subject of an otherwise ridiculous dispute and unfairly exposed to the harsh light of media.
True, the stepfather in Brazil has spent a considerable amount of time raising this child. However, there’s something to say about “righting a wrong.” Absent certain unfortunate circumstances, a child belongs with their parent.
I certainly hope that all involved come to their senses and realize this rather basic belief.
Check out the video below about this story:
On Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, Sean Chi officially joins the Spar & Bernstein roster as Managing Attorney of the Tax Department.
Welcome to the team, Sean!
Our Team of Immigration Attorneys, The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein
1. Thou shall always update our knowledge on Immigration every day, up to the minute, because the laws are constantly changing.
2. Thou shall always make sure our clients understand what’s happening in his or her case. Our edict: Explain, explain, and explain, until we’re sure you have it right.
3. Thou shall always be neat and organized. An uncluttered workspace indicates a sharp, uncluttered mind.
4. Thou shall always fully document EVERYTHING Immigration asks for. We will spell it out to the letter for them, NEVER assuming they will read between the lines.
5. Thou shall always be fully, totally, completely prepared. Before entering the courtroom/interview process, we will know our clients’ cases from top to bottom, left to right.
6. Thou shall always have a good diary system, so the cases and deadlines don’t fall through the cracks.
7. Thou shall always make detailed notes of not only every conversation we have with our clients but also everything we do in their cases, because you never know when you’ll need to refer back to it.
8. Thou shall always make sure our clients have confidence in us. Confidence breeds peace of mind.
9. Thou shall never easily take “no” as an answer. We will always try to find a way to make good things happen.
10. Thou shall always have both compassion AND passion for our clients’ plights. We must fight as hard as we can, from start to end, and as best we can imagine walking in the shoes of the enormous hardships through which they’re suffering.
Morris E. Lasker, a federal judge in New York and Massachusetts for four decades who struck down squalid, often brutal conditions in New York City jails and upheld prisoners’ rights perhaps more than any other jurist of his era, died Friday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 92 and had homes in Cambridge and Chilmark, Mass.
On January 1st, 2010, a small team of brave, passionate young immigrant students from Floridas Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) will embark on a 4-month long, 1,500 mile walk the Trail of Dreams. As they travel through the southeastern United States, this courageous group will be seeking meetings with political and civic leaders, joining in rallies and vigils, and reaching out to the media – galvanizing support for immigration policy reform in communities that might otherwise be without a voice. Their Trail will lead them all the way from Miamis Freedom Tower to the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., where they will join with thousands of others on in a mass rally for reform on May 1st, 2010.
For more information visit:
New York (CNN) – It’s not over yet.
That’s the message American David Goldman and his attorneys are getting from his son’s Brazilian family. An international custody battle between Goldman and Brazilian relatives of his son came to a dramatic close Christmas Eve, when 9-year-old Sean Goldman was returned to his father after a ruling from a Brazilian judge.
At the time, it appeared Sean’s stepfather and maternal grandmother in Brazil might have given up the five-year fight. But on Tuesday, Sergio Tostes, the family’s attorney, issued a news release vowing to continue the tug-of-war until Sean’s voice was heard by the Brazilian Supreme Court.
“The early delivery of Sean does not end. The court proceedings continue,” Tostes said in a statement written in Portuguese.
Read the entire story:
Question: Hello, Brad. I was wondering if you know how to get a green card if you’re an international student.
Brad: The most basic ways are these: You can be sponsored by a family member (spouse, parent, child over 21, brother or sister), or by a employer.
Question: Dear Brad, here’s the situation: I know someone who didn’t work for around three years and has no tax return, since she’s on social security/disability. She’s filed for her son in Jamaica and has already paid the AOS processing fee. But she would like to know about the AOS form I-864. What will she do knowing she’s on disability/social security? Can someone else do the AOS I-864 form as a sponser? Which of the I-864 forms should the sponsor use? And would she have to fill out an I-864 form too? What would she put on the AOS I-864 form?
Brad: She has to do an affidavit of support despite the fact that she has not worked. A second person who DOES work and makes enough to support her and the family 125% above the poverty level can do a second I-824.
Question: Greetings, Brad, I’ve been in the U.S. for 20 years, entering from Jamaica when I was 10 years old. I don’t have any entry (I-94). I have met someone and wish to be married. I have finished high school and college with a degree in engineering. I’d like to know if anything can be done to correct my situation at this point in time.
Brad: You can only apply for adjustment of status if you entered on a visitors visa or were filed for prior to 4/30/01.
Question: Hello, Brad, I’m a U.S. Citizen living in New York City and my husband is in the Dominican Republic. We are married five years and he’s still in DR. The Embassy told my husband his case was approved in April 2009, then denied in June 2009. I even have the approval in writing from my local Congressperson. The Embassy thinks we are married for immigration purposes, which is ridiculous. We are now having to send support letters and continued proof of relatiionship to Immigration for reapproval. I’m having such a hard time. Any advice?
Brad: Sorry to hear about the situation with your husband. I’m sure it must be tough for you both. Please Click here. That should help.
Question: Dear Brad, I came to the United States when I was 14 and was never able to get any documentation. Nobody in my family is a citizen and I don’t think there’s anything I can do to get my papers, but I really want to go to law school. In Florida, where I live, I can’t take the bar and for that reason none of the schools down here want to accept me. Do you know what could be done?
Brad: You are a prime example of the need for the Dream Act to pass.
If you want a good laugh, click on:
As a tease, here’s one of the motions:
Motion to Compel State’s Attorney to Drop His Accent: Being a New Yorker in a Texas court is rough, but being a British prosecutor might be worse. This motion is at the bottom of our list because it was not actually filed. It just made the rounds via Internet thanks to this bloke.