LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
    'Jersey Shore' Star's Accountant Says He Abetted Tax Fraud

    Federal prosecutors’ case against “Jersey Shore” star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and his brother Marc for allegedly conspiring to dodge millions in tax payments was buoyed Wednesday after their former accountant admitted ...read more

    Budget Deal Stuffs Stockings For Green Energy Cos.

    While the oil and clean energy sectors got what they wanted in U.S. budget legislation that lifts the crude oil export ban while extending renewable energy tax credits, the combination of the bills with the Clean Power Plan and the recently-inked Paris ...read more

    Cell Phone Insurance Not Subject to South Carolina Sales Tax

    By Samantha Trencs and Andrew Appleby

    A South Carolina administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that cell phone insurance is not subject to South Carolina sales tax even though the wireless provider sells it with taxable communication services.

    Alltel provided its wireless customers with an option to purchase insurance for the loss, theft or damage to their cell phones (cell phones have a way of accidently finding their way into toilets). Alltel remitted the monthly premiums its customers paid for insurance coverage to Alltel’s insurance agent, who then remitted the premiums to an insurance company.

    The ALJ concluded that this cell phone insurance arrangement constituted insurance under South Carolina law, which is not subject to sales tax. Even though Alltel offered the insurance with its taxable communication service, the ALJ reasoned that the insurance was not inextricably intertwined with the communication service because the insurance was optional. Additionally, Alltel did not provide the insurance. Rather, a licensed insurance agent and insurance company provided the coverage. Therefore, the insurance charges were not subject to South Carolina sales tax. Alltel Commc’ns, Inc. v. South Carolina Dep’t of Rev., Dkt. No. 11-ALJ-17-0603-CC (S.C. Admin. Law Ct. Nov. 13, 2015)

    India Revamps Framework For Investment Treaties

    India has approved a revised policy framework for negotiating investment treaties in certain economic partnership and free trade agreements with an eye toward boosting investment and avoiding international arbitration, though it has specifically excluded ...read more

    AMR Tax Withholding Flouts Ch. 11 Plan, Unions Say

    A group of labor unions on Tuesday urged a U.S.bankruptcy judge to make American Airlines stick to its reorganization plan, accusing the airline of planning to circumvent already agreed-upon rules and shortchanging flight attendants, pilots and other ...read more

    NJ Justices Won't Rethink Ex-City Atty's Whistleblower Win

    New Jersey's high court refused Tuesday to allow Atlantic City to fight lower court rulings that found the city breached the state's whistleblower law in the 2007 firing of its former solicitor. ...read more

    BakerHostetler Faces New DQ Bid In Russian Tax Fraud Suit

    Hermitage Capital urged a New York federal court on Tuesday to eject BakerHostetler and a partner from working with defendants in a civil suit over an alleged $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme, saying the firm’s past work for Hermitage coupled ...read more

    House Buys More Time To Digest $1.15T Spending Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a short-term spending bill, giving it time to digest a massive $1.15 trillion omnibus spending bill that includes a host of tax, trade, health care, labor, energy, cybersecurity, environmental and ...read more

    Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Massive Tax Benefits Package

    House and Senate tax writers late Tuesday night announced an agreement on a year-end tax bill that would usher in significant changes in the taxation of individuals and corporations, real estate and health care companies, and temporarily extend many other ...read more

    Beneficial Ownership Rules Are Still Relevant

    When foreign banks doing business in the U.S. calculate gain or loss from equity swaps, they would do well to pay attention to the common law doctrines of beneficial ownership. This is the case even though these doctrines have recently lost much of their ...read more

    Wash. Tribe Strikes Deal Over Planned Casino's Tax Effects

    The Samish Indian Nation and a board of county commissioners in Washington state signed an agreement Monday allowing the tribe to reimburse Skagit County for lost taxes if the Samish people move forward with their plans to build a casino on Fidalgo Island ...read more

    Ill. Appeals Court Upholds Municipal Gaming Terminal Fee

    An Illinois appeals court has found that state law doesn't prohibit municipalities from imposing gambling regulations, upholding a video game licensing fee that a challenger has characterized as an impermissible tax. ...read more

    Convicted Atty Tangles Over Discovery In Film Loan Dispute

    Suspended California attorney and movie producer Peter M. Hoffman, who is awaiting sentencing in Louisiana for a film tax credit fraud, faced hours of questions Tuesday by a Manhattan federal judge about his acrimonious dispute with Arrowhead Capital ...read more

    DOJ Collects Another $130M In Swiss Bank Program

    The U.S. Department of Justice has reached settlements worth over $130 million against three Swiss banks accused of aiding tax fraud, including a $99 million settlement with Credit Agricole, the DOJ announced Tuesday. ...read more

    6th Circ. Tags Out Baseball Player Mo Vaughn In Tax Case

    The Sixth Circuit in an unpublished opinion Tuesday affirmed a district court decision that former Major League Baseball player Maurice "Mo" Vaughn was liable for penalties for the failure of his accountant and financial manager to file his ...read more

    Developer Secures Property Tax Relief In NJ Tax Court

    The New Jersey Tax Court in a decision released Tuesday said developer Seaboard Landing LLC was entitled to property tax relief on a riverfront entertainment center under the state's Freeze Act for 2013, despite having a previous complaint for the ...read more

    Sprint Aims To Nix 3 Years Of Claims In $300M NY Tax Action

    Sprint Communications Inc. has asked a New York judge to narrow the scope of a $300 million state enforcement action that accuses the company of dodging state taxes, saying tolling agreements the company signed with tax authorities are irrelevant to the ...read more

    EU Adopts Rules To Swap Financial Account Tax Information

    The European Commission on Tuesday formally adopted rules to implement the automatic exchange of tax information between member countries, paving the way for the sharing of financial account information among tax administrations beginning next year. ...read more

    7 Deadly Business Mistakes That Can Tank Your Law Practice

    Since basic business courses are not required in law school, many attorneys graduate with no formal schooling on how to position, grow and manage a law practice. This can lead to trouble if they decide to branch out on their own or join a small firm. ...read more

    LLCs: A New Horizon For Charitable Giving?

    The choice to form a limited liability company for a charitable enterprise is not common practice — for good reason — and Mark Zuckerberg’s pledge to donate his Facebook shares to his charitable LLC has raised eyebrows. However, structuring his charitable ...read more

    Oxy Can't Recoup $1M Tax Overpayment, Colo. Court Says

    A Colorado county and several local districts will not have to refund nearly $1 million in overpaid taxes to oil and gas company Oxy USA because the company itself made the mistake that led to the overcharge, the Colorado Court of Appeals said Thursday ...read more

    No Review for You: Pennsylvania Court Confirms No Jurisdiction to Review Letter Rulings

    By Elizabeth Cha and Amy Nogid

    Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court agreed with the Department of Revenue (Department) that the Department’s letter rulings addressing the taxability of actual transactions were not subject to review by the Board of Finance and Revenue (Board). Members of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. (Taxpayers) alleged that they were due a refund of sales taxes because tax should only have been collected on the net amount of the sales price on taxable items after reduction for the value of the manufacturer’s coupon. The Department’s Office of Chief Counsel had issued two letter rulings concluding that Taxpayers’ purchases were properly taxed in full because the receipts did not adequately describe the items to which the coupons related. Taxpayers petitioned the Board to overturn the letter rulings, but the Board dismissed on the basis that it did not have jurisdiction to reverse letter rulings. The court agreed that letter rulings are a subset of advisory opinions and are not appealable under either the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights or other statutory provisions addressing claims for refunds.

    While the letter rulings here are arguably refund denials since they relate to actual and not hypothetical transactions, and are not “advisory opinions” which provide guidance on future transactions, this decision is consistent with the positions of many state revenue departments (and confirmed by many state courts) that review is available for only certain types of notices that constitute “jurisdictional” documents. Myers v. Commw., No. 706 F.R. 2014 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Nov. 24, 2015).

    Ala. Tax Collector’s Land Trust Challenge Is Late, Court Told

    The U.S. government and an Alabama tribe on Monday urged a federal court to dismiss counterclaims brought by a local tax collector in a suit over a property tax assessment on tribal casino lands, saying the challenge to federal land-into-trust decisions ...read more

    Tax Court Says Lawyer Owes Penalty For Lowballing Income

    The U.S. Tax Court on Monday found that an attorney and his wife were liable for a 20 percent penalty for underreporting about $250,000 in taxes, saying they could not rely on the defense that they were following the advice of the accountant who prepared ...read more

    Fla. Law Prof. Sues IRS Over In Vitro Fertilization Costs

    A gay Stetson University College of Law professor has sued the Internal Revenue Service in Florida federal court over the denial of a medical expenses deduction for in vitro fertilization costs, saying his constitutional right to equal protection was ...read more