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Recent Blog Posts

Supreme Court Holds Mandated Public Sector Union Agency Fees Unconstitutional

On June 27, 2018, the United States Supreme Court declared that fees charged to dissenting employees pursuant to a union agency shop arrangement violates the First Amendment. In a 5-4 vote in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, No. 16-1466, the court found in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois public employee who refused to join the union yet had so-called agency or "fair share" fees taken from his paycheck every month, adding up to more than $500 each year.

Recent Tax Legislation Eliminates Deduction for Confidential Sexual Harassment Settlements

Last December, Congress responded to an avalanche of sexual harassment and abuse claims across the country by including a provision within the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at Section 13307 impacting an employer's ability to obtain a tax deduction for settlements paid that include nondisclosure agreements. Internal Revenue Code Section 162(q) now provides that no deduction will be allowed for any settlement or payment related to sexual harassment or sexual abuse if such settlement or payment is subject to a nondisclosure agreement. Deductions for attorney's fees related to such confidential sexual harassment settlements or payments are also prohibited.

Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory Employment Arbitration Clauses, Even Those Prohibiting Class Action Proceedings

In a major victory for employers, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that individualized arbitration clauses in employment contracts are enforceable.

Deferring Taxes through Qualified Opportunity Funds

Background

Most taxpayers are aware of the lower tax rates and the new pass-through business deduction implemented by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Tax Act"). However, two less publicized sections, 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2, added by the Tax Act provide taxpayers an opportunity to defer and even reduce taxes on the sale of property.

Opportunity awaits small business owners who are PREPARED to sell their business

According to a report published by BizBuySell.com, an online market place for small business sellers and brokers, the number of small businesses which sold in 2017 increased by 27% over 2016. Based on survey data, this growth in business transactions was driven by: (1) strengthening revenue and profits of small businesses; (2) an increasing number of owners looking to sell; and (3) an increase in the number of qualified buyers in the market. The survey data suggests that the number of businesses sold will continue to grow into 2018.

Real Estate and the Tax Bill

On December 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into legislation the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Of importance, the bill repealed and/or limited many deductions for individuals, such as implementing a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes, which includes property tax. This cap, however, does not apply to state and local taxes paid while carrying on a real estate trade or business. The change has led to a spell of homeowners hurrying to prepay their property taxes in order to take the deduction when filing their taxes in April of 2018. Outside of the many changes which will affect individuals at a personal level, there are also many changes, as well as preservations, which will affect the commercial real estate industry.

Increased Tax Relief for Family Farmers in Chapter 12

While most of the US media is focused on various bills that have been hung up in congress over the last year, a bill providing additional tax relief to family farmers through Chapter 12 bankruptcy, has not received much attention. On October 26, 2017, President Trump signed the Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 (H.R. 2266) into law. This new law expands the tax relief granted to family farmers in 2005, and legislatively overturns the narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court of that 2005 act.

IRS Announces 2018 Pension Plan Limitations

On October 19, 2017 the IRS announced cost-of-living adjustments for 2018 retirement plan contributions. For 2018, the amounts that individuals will be able to contribute to retirement plans will increase from $18,000 to $18,500. However, the catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 and over will remain unchanged at $6,000. This chart summarizes the limitations for 2018:

Changes to Ohio Workers' Compensation Law

On June 30, 2017, Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 27 into law, not only funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), but also enacting a number of substantive changes. The new law became effective September 29, 2017. Below are some of the important substantive changes that are now law:

Federal Judge Strikes Down White-Collar Exemption Rule

A federal judge in Texas has held that the Department of Labor exceeded its authority by substantially raising the minimum salary threshold required for employees under the "white collar" exemptions. In May 2016, the DOL issued regulations that would have more than doubled the minimum annual salary threshold for the Fair Labor Standard Act's "white collar" executive, administrative and professional exemptions, from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $913 per week ($47,476 annually).