June 2018 Archives

New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

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The IRS today announced plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new Form 1040 consolidates the current 1040, the 1040A and the 1040EZ into one form. The IRS will work with the tax community to finalize the streamlined Form 1040 over the summer to ensure a smooth transition.

Tax professionals can review a draft copy of the new Form 1040 and submit comments regarding the draft to WI.1040.Comments@IRS.gov.

Scout Archives - DPLA: Open Bookshelf

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On June 21, 2018, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) introduced Open Bookshelf, a one-stop shop for hundreds of e-books that are freely available online. This collection, which currently features over 1,000 books, includes titles that are in the public domain along with titles that are Creative Commons licensed. These titles are selected by the Curation Corps, a team of librarians from across the country that includes public, school, and academic librarians. The books available on Open Bookshelf reflect the diversity of the Curation Corps: the collection features classical literature (including Pride and Prejudice and Little Women), textbooks, academic titles, and children's books. Visitors may browse this collection by language or genre (e.g. science fiction, education & study aids, and computers). Individual users can access Open Bookshelf through SimplyE, a free mobile application. Open Bookshelf is also available to participating libraries through the DPLA Exchange.

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu


Most immigrants facing deportation wouldn't climb onto a table during their court hearings. But then again, most 3-year-olds don't go to court without parents or lawyers. 

Nonetheless, that was the situation during a recent court hearing for a child represented by the Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles.

"It really highlighted the absurdity of what we're doing with these kids," Center executive director Lindsay Toczylowski told the Texas Tribune.


A federal judge in San Diego ordered the federal government this week to reunite families within 14 to 30 days, depending on the ages of the children. If the decision is not appealed, being reunited with parents may help the minors make their cases. However, as Reuters notes, some parents have already been deported without their kids. Advocates including ABA ProBAR director Kimi Jackson have observed that there is no federal procedure for reuniting families, and lawyers for adult immigrants say the hotlines the federal government has provided are rarely answered and provide little information when they are answered.

A group of immigrant advocates sued in 2014 for a court order granting lawyers to unaccompanied minors, arguing that it is "fundamentally unfair" to expect children to represent themselves. The suit argued that children needed lawyers under both their due process rights--which courts have repeatedly held applies to immigrants--and the Immigration and Nationality Act's guarantee of a fair hearing. That case led one Justice Department expert to testify that he'd been able to teach immigration law to young children, a claim mocked by immigration lawyers and at least one late-night comedian.



SCOTUS Strikes Down Public Sector Agency Fee-Overturns Abood Precedent

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On June 27, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, Dkt. No 16-1466, holding that compulsory payment of public-sector union fees by non-union members violates First Amendment free speech rights.

The petitioner in Janus, challenged the constitutionality of an Illinois law requiring public employees to pay union agency fees despite an employee's choice not to join the union and his strong objection to the union's positions in collective negotiations. The petitioner argued that the payment of mandatory agency fees by nonmembers in connection with collective negotiations for government employees is inherently political and violates the First Amendment. Siding with the petitioner and striking down the Illinois law, the Supreme Court overturned its prior 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209 (1977).


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld President Donald Trump's third travel ban in a 5-4 decision.

The court said the travel ban was "squarely within the scope of presidential authority" under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the plaintiffs' First Amendment claim was unlikely to succeed.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion. Roberts said the government had advanced a sufficient national security justification, though "we express no view on the soundness of the policy." The court reversed a preliminary injunction banning the policy from taking effect and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The court did not decide whether a nationwide injunction was permissible.


Sotomayor said in her dissent that any reasonable observer would conclude that the travel ban was motivated by anti-Muslim bias that violates the establishment clause. The majority decision "leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States' because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns," Sotomayor wrote. "But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the president's words have created."

The case is Trump v. Hawaii.

Hat tip to SCOTUSblog, which quickly summarized the opinion.




An Elmira-area judge has agreed to never seek or accept judicial office again after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct found he did not live in the town where he was a judge.

Thomas Brooks resigned earlier this year after the commission found he lived outside the town of Veteran, where he served as a judge, the commission said in a decision Friday.

The commission received a complaint in February that Brooks lived in Erin, New York, rather than Veteran. Section 23 of Veteran's laws says a sitting judge must reside in the town, according to the commission.

"A judge must meet the statutory residency requirements necessary to hold judicial office," said Robert Tembeckjian, administrator of the CJC. "Failure to do so is disqualifying."



ILW.COM - Legal Education: EB-5 Regional Center Roundtable

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Focus: EB-5 Roundtable with Angelo Paparelli

This month's free 45-minute telephonic EB5 Roundtable with Angelo Paparelli features: 
Guest Speakers: Mark Katzoff, Brandon Meyer and Rohit Turkhud 
This month's topic is: China Collapse - India Rising - New Regulations Forthcoming: What's Next for the EB-5 Program? 
Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - Time: 2:00-2:30pm ET 
Registration Deadline: 11:00pm (ET), Monday, May 28, 2018 

To register, please see: http://www.ilw.com/seminars/EB5RegionalCenterSeminars.shtm#regnow 
To view speakers and their biographies, please see: http://www.ilw.com/seminars/EB5RegionalCenterSeminars.shtm

By Christopher Coble, Esq. 

Today (June 22, 2018), the Court ruled that police must obtain a warrant to get a phone's location information from cell towers, in certain circumstances. But not every justice agreed with the majority. 


You can see the full opinion below:

Carpenter v United States by FindLaw on Scribd


If you have clients with disabilities, they can now put more money into their tax-favored Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enables eligible individuals with disabilities to put more money into their ABLE accounts, qualify for the Saver's Credit in many cases and roll money from their 529 plans into their ABLE accounts.

For more information about ABLE accounts and the tax reform changes, visit IRS.gov/taxreform.

Read more...

NY Sues to Dismantle Trump's Charitable Foundation - FindLaw

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By William Vogeler, Esq.


New York's attorney general says President Trump used his charitable foundation like it was his personal checkbook, including $10,000 he paid from the foundation for a painting of himself.

In People of the State of New York v. Trump, the state alleges Trump wrote a check for $100,000 to settle a zoning dispute for his Mar-a-Lago club. The attorney general is suing to recover $2.8 million in restitution and fines for years of illegal transactions.

The Trump Organization denies the allegations, but one thing seems clear. There was no collusion because Trump signed all the checks himself.



Verizon now has three 'unlimited' plans, and none of them are | 9to5Mac

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Not content with offering one 'unlimited' plan which isn't, and a second 'beyond unlimited' plan which also isn't, Verizon has now decided the solution to this is a third plan. The latest addition is called 'above unlimited' and, you guessed it, it's not ...

hile the federal income tax-filing deadline has ended, some of your clients may still need assistance. Several IRS resources are available year-round:

  • IRS.gov. You can find helpful information by clicking on "Help" at the top of the home page to access several online tools, obtain answers to tax questions with the Interactive Tax Assistant and the IRS Tax Map, and choose 'Where's My Refund?' to check the status of your client's refund.
  • Taxpayer Advocate ServiceTAS can help any of your clients experiencing economic harm, who are seeking help in resolving tax problems, or who believe that an IRS procedure is not working as it should. Contact TAS at 1-877-777-4778.
  • Low Income Taxpayer Clinics. The LITCsprovide professional representation to individuals who need to resolve tax problems.
  • Multimedia Center. A number of YouTube videos are available on a variety of topics in either EnglishSpanish or American Sign Language. IRS podcasts are also available in English and Spanish.
  • Twitter@IRSnews provides tax-related announcements and tips. @IRStaxprostweets news and guidance for tax professionals. Tweets from @IRSenEspanolhave news and information in Spanish.
  • The Taxpayer Advocate Service sends tweets from @YourVoiceAtIRS.

For more information, visit https://go.usa.gov/xQHcZ.


State Police DNA testing under scrutiny - Times Union

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By Brendan J. Lyons

ALBANY -- The New York State Police crime lab is analyzing DNA evidence using controversial techniques that have been characterized as junk science and led to shakeups at other labs around the country. A Times Union examination of records documenting the practices of the State Police's Forensic Investigations Center also found the lab may be manipulating DNA analysis to match samples to known suspects in crimes, and that a national accreditation organization removed details of that allegation from an audit that was released in February.

GP Section members in the Capital Region:


The NYSBA General Practice Section is hosting a program for solo and small firm attorneys as follows:


Date:    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Time:    5:30-7:30pm - Registration and light dinner at 5pm

Place:   New York State Bar Center | 1 Elk Street, Albany, NY


The event is free to General Practice Section members ($0 GP Section members / $15 NYSBA members / $30 non-members), but pre-registration is required.


The concept is simple: Lawyers talking to lawyers, about the real issues of solo and small firm practice. A facilitated format (The Solution Room) keeps discussion focused and lively, while attendees with a range of experience levels have opportunity to both give and receive advice on professional challenges. The Solution Room format has been used successfully in a range of professions on multiple continents to engage professionals in productive peer-to-peer discussion. The program will be facilitated by Adrian Segar of Conferences That Work in Marlboro, VT. For more details, see www.nysba.org/SoloSR18.


To register:

Register online at www.nysba.org/SoloSR18


Or GP Section members may RSVP via email to generalpractice@nysba.org. Please indicate your approximate length of time in solo/small firm practice, whether (a) 6 months-5 years (b) 6-10 years (c) 11-15 years, (d) 16-20 years, or (e) 20 years+.


And tell a friend!


What is Papyrus Author?

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"Randy Singer (MacAttorney)" <macattorney@gmail.com>: Jun 09 07:49PM -0700 

For those of you interested in an alternative word processor to Microsoft 
Office (that's just as powerful, but easier to use), Papyrus Author is in 
it's final beta stage.
You can still be a beta tester by joining here:

Meredith Hoffman


When the Trump administration announced this month it would criminally prosecute everyone who crossed the border illegally, which meant jailing immigrant parents and separating them from their children, it effectively manufactured a whole new group of unaccompanied minors who now must navigate the complicated US immigration system by themselves. In less than two weeks, 658 kids were divided from their mothers and fathers--and the policy is still ramping up.

Meanwhile, the government has just quietly shut off a legal lifeline for this very population, putting them at an even higher risk of deportation. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, a federal program that for over a decade has funded organizations representing unaccompanied minors in immigration court while those children live with adult relatives or guardians, told the groups to stop taking new cases just days after the family separation policy began, multiple sources from nonprofit groups funded by ORR told me.

"The government is creating unaccompanied kids, then releasing them to someone other than parents, and then further restricting their ability to access counsel," said Manoj Govindaiah, director of family detention services for Texas's Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which has represented kids through the ORR funds. "So they're almost ensuring people cannot successfully navigate the immigration court process."



Baker's case won't govern gay rights, Ted Olson says--ABA Journal

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While talking Wednesday about his role in helping bring about the legalization of gay marriage, famed appellate litigator Ted Olson stressed that the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is far from over.

Former U.S. Solicitor General and longtime Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Ted Olson spoke at the ABA office in Washington, D.C. to commemorate LGBTQ Pride Month and Loving Day--an annual celebration to mark the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark case of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws in the United States. Olson, accompanied by his wife, Lady Booth Olson, reminisced about his role in the high-profile challenge to Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban and speaking about current developments in LGBTQ rights, including Monday's Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.



A volunteer for "No More Deaths," a longstanding faith-based humanitarian organization that strives to prevent migrant deaths on the border between Arizona and Mexico, was arrested on felony charges of alien smuggling in January of 2018 after providing food, water, clothes and shelter to two migrants. The arrest happened hours after "No More Deaths" released a report and a video showing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents destroying water bottles that the group leaves in the desert for migrants. Representatives for the aid group say the timing of the arrest is suspicious and represents an aggressive new approach to for CBP. 

DIGEST: Under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the "Rules"), a New York lawyer has certain ethical obligations when crossing the U.S. border with confidential client information.  Before crossing the border, the Rules require a lawyer to take reasonable steps to avoid disclosing confidential information in the event a border agent seeks to search the attorney's electronic device. The "reasonableness" standard does not imply that particular protective measures must invariably be adopted in all circumstances to safeguard clients' confidential information; however, this opinion identifies measures that may satisfy the obligation to safeguard clients' confidences in this situation. Additionally, Under Rule 1.6(b)(6), the lawyer may not disclose a client's confidential information in response to a claim of lawful authority unless doing so is "reasonably necessary" to comply with a border agent's claim of lawful authority. This includes first making reasonable efforts to assert the attorney-client privilege and to otherwise avert or limit the disclosure of confidential information. Finally, if the attorney discloses clients' confidential information to a third partyduring a border search, the attorney must inform affected clients about such disclosures pursuant to Rule 1.4.



Federal prosecutors dismissed all charges against seven inauguration protesters and reduced charges against three others after a Washington, D.C., judge criticized the government for withholding undercover videos recorded by an activist group.

Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin dismissed the charges Thursday at the request of prosecutors after he criticized the government for initially disclosing only one secret video of a planning meeting recorded by the group Project Veritas, report BuzzFeed News, the Huffington Post and Law & Crime.

Morin said last week that the government had withheld the full version of the meeting video. The government belatedly disclosed that there were 69 additional recordings, according to a motion filed by defense lawyer Andrew Clarke. Many videos included discussions of de-escalation tactics, he wrote.




The former director, Brian J. Gestring, headed DCJS's forensic science unit before he was fired that month following an unrelated workplace misconduct investigation. In a letter sent Friday to the state Commission on Forensic Science, Gestring said that Green also did not disclose to the commission that the agency had three "catastrophic" cases in the past year in which it misidentified suspects who had been linked to crimes through DNA.


Register now for the web conference, "Understanding Payment Options," on June 7. The web conference will provide an overview of:

 • Ways to pay taxes: Withholding and Estimated Taxes 
 • "Paycheck Checkup": IRS' online Withholding Calculator
 • Who must make Estimated Tax Payments and payment due dates
 • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) and Direct Pay
 • Ways to Avoid the Estimated Tax Penalty
 • Resources to help meet federal tax payment requirements

The conference will include a live question and answer session.

Register for Session 1, 11am EST, or Session 2, 2pm EST. All participants who qualify will receive a Certificate of Completion and earn one continuing education (CE) credit.

Registration is also open for the rebroadcast of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility's webinar, "What You Need to Know about Practicing Before the IRS," on June 13, at 2 pm EST.

Participants who qualify can earn two CE credits. Register now.



ABA Formal Opinion 07-446 also approves of lawyers ghostwriting for clients, viewing it as a "form of 'unbundling' of legal services." The ABA opinion reasons that pro se clients receiving ghostwriting services should not be required to disclose that fact: "Because there is no reasonable concern that a litigant appearing pro se will receive an unfair benefit from a tribunal as a result of behind-the-scenes legal assistance, the nature or extent of such assistance is immaterial and need not be disclosed."

"We conclude that there is no prohibition in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct against undisclosed assistance to pro se litigants, as long as the lawyer does not do so in a manner that violates rules that otherwise would apply to the lawyer's conduct," the 2007 ABA opinion says.



FDIC: BankFind Home

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FDIC BankFind allows you to locate FDIC-insured banking institutions.

The FDIC offers many economic and financial resources through its public web site. This Bank Data Guide is a summary of the tools that are available.

Many of these products also offer the following:

The FDIC has modified a few of our data products - BankFind, Institution Directory, Statistics on Depository Institutions, Summary of Deposits, Historical Statistics on Banking and the Report of Structure Changes. Features now include enhanced navigation, streamlined access to data and consolidated Help pages.  

A complete list of our products are available at: https://www.fdic.gov/bank/

Other products available include the printable version of the Bank Data Guide - PDF 1,278k (PDF help) and the Quick Reference Table.

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