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Tax News: Same Paycheck? Blame the Boss
Death and Taxes
The Client is a Dog?
Remember Your Pet in Your Will
Writers Win Fight For E-Rights - But Publishers React
Same Paycheck? Blame the Boss
The tax cut benefits include lower federal withholding on your paycheck. Have you seen it????
The problem is that it is up to your boss how soon you get those added dollars. Employers are supposed to have adjusted withholding as of July 1, but there's no real requirement that they do so. The IRS says only that companies "should begin using the new tables as soon as possible".
If your company has not adjusted your withholding, ask for a Form W-4 to fix it yourself. But remember, you have to reconcile the withholding to your taxes due next April.
Death and Taxes
Mary Rosano knew that she would die soon, and made plans to reduce her estate taxes by writing individual checks in amounts of less than $ 10,000 each to numerous friends and relatives. These gifts, which totaled several hundred thousand dollars, were not included as assets on her estate tax return. The IRS disagreed, saying any checks not cashed prior to Mary's death had to be included in her estate. Unfortunately, the US Court of Appeals agreed with the IRS, holding that these were not "completed gifts" until cashed.
SOLUTION: Make sure the checks are cashed quickly, or use a certified check or Money Order.
The Client is a Dog?
Electrified dog collars can be a real pain in the neck. Boomer, a 4-year old in Ohio has been zapped once too often - and is suing Invisible Fence Company for $ 25,000. Boomer's owners- they prefer to be called pet guardians - claim the invisible fence caused physical and psychological damage to Boomer.
The system uses a buried wire to send a signal to a receptor collar if the animal oversteps the invisible boundary. The dog gets a 3-second buzzing noise from the collar. If he doesn't back off, he gets a mild electric shock. Most dogs learn to back off quickly.
When the system failed to keep Boomer from straying, a consultant from Invisible Fence decided to increase the voltage and duration of the shocks, finally resulting in second-degree burns to Boomer.
The threshold question is whether a dog can sue under Ohio law. Rumor has it that a settlement of an undisclosed number of dog biscuits has been offered.
Remember Your Pet in Your Will.
In July, Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco signed a bill into law that allows trusts for domestic pets in New Jersey. You are now able to create a trust during your life or through your Will for the benefit of your pets who survive you.
A Will provision or a Codicil to an existing Will can create the trust.
This law gives peace of mind to pet owners faced with the prospect that their pets might outlive them and otherwise be unprotected.
Writers Win Fight for E-Rights - But Publishers React
Our last newsletter described the fight regarding copyright in the electronic age .Writers Fight for E- Rights - Q2 2001 Newsletter
In early July, the Supreme Court ruled upon Tasini v. New York Times, a case that could set a legal standard for copyright in the electronic age. The Court ruled in a 7 to 2 decision that freelance writers retained full rights to their work in cyberspace.
As a practical matter, the ruling mostly affects works prior to 1995. Since then, standard publishing contracts have included electronic rights as well as printed rights.
In reaction to the ruling, the Times and other publishers have decided to purge their archives of billions of freelance articles written prior to 1995 - unless the writers waive their rights to those articles.
So much for winning the fight but losing the war.
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