The Legal Insider

March, 2010

5 Reasons to Hire a Tax Lawyer

Benjamin Franklin's quote that "nothing is certain but death and taxes" is never more evident than each April 15th. Many of us don't really notice our taxes because the money is taken away as fast as it is earned, while others seem to stress over each withheld dime.

Regardless of which group you associate yourself with, the United States Government doesn't mess around when it comes to collecting taxes. It's easy to get into hot water too. Tax evasion covers refusing to pay, failing to report, reporting incorrectly, and, most commonly, failing to report cash income.

The top 5 reasons you may need to contact a tax lawyer:

  1. Estate Planning: A knowledgeable tax lawyer can help you employ estate planning strategies to minimize your taxable estate, sort out any returns, and determine if you owe anything.
  2. Start-up Business: Before setting up your business structure, a tax lawyer can advise you on which arrangement is likely to work best for you. In addition, tax lawyers can help you sort out your business and personal taxable income.
  3. International Business: Tax lawyers are well acquainted with the codes and restrictions involved with international business. Lawyers who specialize in tax law can also help you with international contracts, treatment under various tax provisions, and other domestic and foreign tax issues.
  4. Independent Review: If you're seeking an independent review of your tax case by a United States Tax Court, then it's likely you will have a lawyer. Tax lawyers are instrumental in the litigation of your tax case because they are familiar with current laws and statutes of which you may not be aware.
  5. Criminal Charges: If you've been served with a summons for tax related crimes or suspect that you may be guilty of a tax crime, it's important to consult a lawyer who is familiar with local courts and tax laws. Tax crimes can yield serious repercussions like prison sentences, negative credit feedback, and wage garnishments.

Things You Should Know About Automobile Warranties

Toyota's massive recall may have you asking questions about your automobile's manufacturer warranty. An automobile warranty is basically a guarantee by the manufacturer that the car or truck will successfully perform under reasonable and suggested use. There are two common types of warranties: implied and explicit.

Explicit warranties are written and outlined, whereas implied warranties are unspoken guarantees that ensure the performance of your car under ordinary standards of care.

Implied warranties of merchantability certify that your car is drivable and in appropriate condition for the price. An implied warranty of fitness is often the basis for many lawsuits because it assures that your car will function for the purpose you bought it: transportation. If you go four wheeling, fail to properly maintain, or put an excessive quantity of miles on your car in a short period of time, then you may not be eligible since you violated the automobile's intended purpose. One important thing to keep in mind is that you may void the warranty if you drive the car after discovering the possible defect.

For many people, enforcing their warranty rights seems foreboding. The first step in getting your car fixed is notifying the manufacturer or dealership. In many cases there is an easy fix or replacement part that can remedy the problem; but if the seller ignores or refuses your complaint then you may want to consult a products liability lawyer.


Will a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Spell Easy Money for You?

The unemployment rate has climbed past 10% once again, so many folks who were previously bountifully employed are seeking compensation for being wrongfully terminated. In many cases, these plaintiffs are finding pleasing resolutions to their civil complaints, while others' lawsuits lack the necessary elements for a successful wrongful termination case.

It's most likely that your state considers employment "at will" which means that an employer can terminate an employee for nearly any reason. Despite these boundaries, you can still mount a successful wrongful termination case under the following situations:

  1. Discrimination The 1964 Civil Rights Act is an essential piece of legislation for proving employment discrimination based on race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in some states sexual orientation.
  2. Retaliation If you have filed a discrimination claim or are participating in an investigation of the business and are subsequently fired, you may be eligible for a wrongful termination claim on the grounds of retaliation.
  3. Contractual Employees Employees who are hired under a contract cannot generally be fired unless there are reasons stated in the contract. Employment contracts for specified periods of time or permitting terminations only for specific reasons are rare today.
  4. Illegal Acts Your boss can't fire you if you refuse to participate in or carry out criminal acts.
  5. Family or Medical Leave Federal law permits most employees to take a leave of absence for specific family or medical problems. An employer is not permitted to fire an employee who takes family or medical leave for a reason outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  6. Not Following Own Termination Procedures Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination.

The United States' 15 Most Common Felonies

And What It Could Mean If You're Convicted

Felonies are crimes that have been deemed more serious or heinous than others and correlatively carry heavier sentences. States' definitions of what constitutes felonies vary but certain crimes are universally considered felonious. Felony convictions can carry grave consequences like prison time, fines, probation, parole, the loss of your right to possess deadly weapons, revocation of occupational licensing, and suspension of voting rights.

Sentences for felony convictions fluctuate greatly and take into account many contingencies. Severity of harm, mitigating circumstances, attitude of the community and court toward the particular crime, prior convictions, probation, parole, and if a weapon or drugs were present are all taken into account when determining sentences. Additional concerns for those accused of a felony include possible civil recourse for victims or their families including that for physical injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional injuries.

Most common felonies in the United States:

  1. Drug crimes like possession, trafficking, production, and sale
  2. Driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) of alcohol or drugs
  3. Property crimes such as theft and arson
  4. Larceny theft
  5. Assault
  6. Disorderly conduct
  7. Liquor laws
  8. Murder and manslaughter
  9. Rape
  10. Vandalism
  11. Fraud
  12. Weapons violations
  13. Offenses against family or children such as sexual abuse and pornography
  14. Buying, receiving, or selling stolen property
  15. Identification and currency forgery

If you have been accused of a felony, or any criminal charge, you should speak to criminal defense attorney to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system. The prosecution is building their case; shouldn't you be making progress on yours?

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