IRS: Skimming is for Milk, Not for Tax Reporting, & Bar Owner Finds Self in Pickle

This might be called the Case of the Candid Calendar. A Wisconsin bar owner was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for filing false tax returns.

Cat-laps-milk-glassAccording to court records, Jared Jerome Hart, 36, of Eau Claire, Wis., owned a tavern called The Pickle Bar. His bar accepted payments only in cash, and at the end of each day, tavern employees would place daily sales in a safe for Hart to pick up. Hart would count the cash, and then record a number for the day in his own daily calendar. Hart would then deposit only some of the cash from into the business account.

Hart gave his accountants the payroll information, bank statements, the check register and vendor invoices. From these records, which Hart knew were incomplete, the accountants created the official books of the bupicklesiness.  Hart never told his accountants about the cash he was “skimming” from the tavern, or the second set of books he was keeping at home.  Hart’s daily calendars were discovered during the execution of a search warrant at his home in June 2012.

Between 2008 and 2011, there was more than a $1 million discrepancy between the gross receipts of The Pickle Bar reflected in the books the accountants maintained and the second set of books Hart maintained at his home.

Letter from the Editor: A Tale of Two Tax Penalties

While the weather is still cold much of the time these days, now in early February, the days are already a little longer than just a month ago. And though it is often cold, after a string of 18 and 19-degree days followed by eight and nine-degree days, a 30-degree day feels downright spring-like. Almost t-shirt weather.red-heart

Any moment now it will be Valentine’s Day. Then at the end of February, major league baseball’s spring training starts. Alas, not long after that comes Tax Day, April 15th, and with it the annual ritual of gathering up one’s bank statements, W-2’s and 1099’s, and sundry receipts tucked away in wallets, desk drawers, and other places you’re trying to remember right now, so that we, on our own, or with help can prepare and file our tax returns.

Because I’ve worked with many a taxpayer who somehow strayed from the righteous path, to represent them so that they did not have to take on the IRS (or New York’s DTF) alone, I’ve heard many stories about how it was that things went wrong.

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Same Dress, Two Designers, part 2

Same Dress, Two Designers? Click on this link to see the flyer announcing the program we’ve put together. A three-credit Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class about protecting intellectual property in the fashion industry. (Non-lawyers are also welcome, for a nominal charge)

New York County Lawyers Association reports that more than 50 people have already signed up to attend, which is huge.

Same Dress, Two Designers? When Imitation is Piracy, Not Flattery – Protecting Intellectual Property in the Fashion Industry

Coming up on September 8, 2011, at 6:00 PM, coinciding with the September 2011 New York City Fashion Week, the Cyberspace Law Committee of New York County Lawyers Association is putting on a Continuing Legal Education course on Intellectual Property protections in the fashion industry.

This course is for both lawyers and non-lawyers (no CLE credit for non-lawyers).

Full Disclosure: I am announcing this event because, in late 2010, I was appointed co-chair of New York County Lawyers’ Associations Cyberspace Law Committee and this is one of our projects.

Course Description:

Celebrate New York Fashion Week by joining us at a special program focusing on protecting intellectual property rights in the fashion industry. While imitation can be considered the highest form of flattery, it can also be costly, harmful to businesses – and even illegal.

Learn the ins and outs of legal protection in the fashion industry, including how Trademark, Copyright and Design-Patent laws  can be, and are used, in the United States and in Europe against copying and counterfeiting in the fashion industry.

Special focus will also be given  to new legislation, the “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act” (IDPPA), now pending in Congress.

Faculty:
Program Co-sponsor: NYCLE Cyberspace Committee, Allan Pearlman and Natalie Sulimani, Co-Chairs   

Program Chair:Viviana Mura,  Herzfeld & Rubin P.C.

Faculty: Prof. Guillermo C. Jimenez, Fashion Institute of Technology and co-author, “Fashion Law, A Guide for Designers, Fashion Executives, and Attorneys”; Viviana Mura,  Herzfeld & Rubin P.C.; Joseph Francis Murphy, Law Office of Joseph Francis Murphy, Esq.

For more information go to www.nycla.org or to the specific page for the Same Dress, Two Designers? by clicking here.

Holy Mackerel, Howard Stern Sues Sirius XM

It’s been sounding like a love-fest, Howard Stern and satellite radio. First, Sirius crushed its competitor, XM — which it could not have done without the weight of Howard and his loyal listeners. Then the two satellite radio companies merged to become Sirius XM. This has sounded like a love-fest: Howard can do his morning radio show uncensored by regular radio stations, unthreatened by the FCC, and without endless commercials jamming up his show.

Plus, since his first day on satellite radio, in January 2006, Howard has been saying how great it is to be appreciated by his new employer. Again and again, his listeners have heard him say that he’s happy at Sirius, and that the whole set-up on satellite has allowed him and his crew to do the best radio they’ve ever done.

In December 2010, after months of a cliff-hanger for listeners, wondering whether Howard would renew his contract, he re-signed to continue his show for another five years.

But the love-fest — let’s say the honeymoon at least — seems to be over. Today, Howard Stern, through his production company, One Twelve, Inc. (named for his birthday, January 12th), and his agent, Don Buchwald, sued Sirius XM in New York State Supreme Court for breach of contract.

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Panel Discussion on Website Privacy Policies, Terms of Use and Service and Disclaimers Tuesday April 27, 2010

This is in the non-tax-related area of law:

I’m writing to tell you about – and invite you to come to – a free panel discussion (aka “Public Forum”) on a topic important to anyone who runs or wants to run a website or blog, and to lawyers who advise website owners or bloggers, or both.

A little more information: The forum is entitled:

Click on the Dotted Line:

Internet Website Privacy Policies,

Terms of Use and Service, and Disclaimers —

Can all that stuff you never read actually hurt you?”

 

It’s taking place on Tuesday April 27, 2010 at 6 PM at New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA), which is downtown, near City Hall, at 14 Vesey Street, New York, NY. NYCLA’s Cyberspace Law Committee is putting on this forum and I will be moderating it.

What’s it about? This forum will discuss the enforceability of website terms, good practices in developing those terms, as well as pitfalls for website owners, businesses, and their attorneys in identifying issues, developing policies, and drafting the “fine print” terms for websites.

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IRS Extends Voluntary Disclosure Deadline for Secret Offshore Accounts

With 48 hours left before the final deadline to participate in a voluntary disclosure program designed get taxpayers with unreported foreign bank accounts to come back into the system and report their foreign income, the IRS has announced that it is extending the deadline from Wednesday September 23, 2009 until October 15, 2009.

The IRS reports that this extension was made in response to repeated requests from attorneys and other tax practitioners from all over the country.

In addition, an IRS agent working on a team evaluating the disclosures being submitted by taxpayers trying to participate in this program told me that there was a huge volume of submissions.

Within the guidelines of this program, taxpayers are given an opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution for tax crimes such as tax evasion and tax fraud.

Also, as part of this program, a taxpayer is subject to paying penalties on previously unreported income in foreign bank accounts under guidelines defined earlier this year, in March 2009. These guidelines are tough and expensive, but not nearly as tough or expensive as the sort of penalties a taxpayer would be facing if not working within this program.

Ma-and-Pa Ponzi Schemers Sentenced for Medical Research Tax Scam and $10M Ponzi Scheme

In the wake of master swindler and former NASDAQ chairman, Bernard Madoff’s $65-billion dollar, multi-decade, worldwide Ponzi scheme, it might seem like scams are popping up everywhere one looks..

In this context, in January, 2009, a U.S. Justice Department announcement reports that Ponzi-schemer-or-collaborator Shirley G. Graybill, 72, of North Haven, Conn., was sentenced to two years of probation — the first four months of which she must spend in home confinement. She had pleaded guilty in June, 2005 to one count of making and subscribing to a false 2002 tax return.

What happened between the June 2005 guilty plea and the three-and-a-half-year later sentencing announcement?

According to court records, the Triple Diamond Foundation was an entity created by Graybill and her husband, Dale L. Graybill, purportedly to fund cancer research, but which did not have tax-exempt status from the IRS. The Graybills controlled the Triple Diamond Foundation and its bank account. And apparently, they were quite adept at using that bank account. Continue reading

Tooting Own Horn Dept: Ezinearticles.com names new expert and featured author

A couple weeks ago, in early February, I signed up with article repository website, ezinearticles.com. I submitted a modified version of an article seen first here (yes, folks, you saw it here first), the article, “IRS to Bail Out Taxpayers?” A few days after that, I submitted two more articles, both about federal tax liens.

A week and a half later, yesterday, ezinearticles.com emailed me to say that my status as “basic” contributor had been upgraded to “expert.”

Ezinearticles.com’s published rules say that authors must submit ten articles before being eligible to be elevated to expert status. But me they did it upon approval of my second article.

It seems that their rules are flexible, and they liked what they saw.

They also promise to spread my articles around, syndicating them and putting them on their main homepage. Nice news.

And they gave me access to a page with html badges to publicize that I am an “expert author” and a “featured author.” Here is what a couple of these banners look like:


As Featured On EzineArticles
As Featured On EzineArticles

I’d like to put one of these banners into the sidebar of this blog, but after a few tries I’m stumped. How to do it?

This is a self-hosted wordpress blog and all sorts of things about making it are easy. This is one thing which is not. If anyone knows how to get the code for one of these banners into the a sidebar, I’d be grateful for the help.

Please let me know.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging! The previous three sentences is the canned welcome, courtesy of WordPress. Now to see if there’s room in the world for a few thoughts about taxes, law, and at risk of sounding grandiose, life….