A recent decision from our federal appeals court ruled that drivers of the Yellow Cab Company in Phoenix, Arizona are not employees of the cab company but, instead, are independent contractors who are not entitled to the minimum wages required by either Arizona law or the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The decision was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming a trial court decision issued by … Read more
Feb 27, 2017
Benjamin Franklin once observed “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” For those who doubt Franklin’s sagacity in that regard, consider the recent case of Marci McNicol. A federal court found her personally liable to the Internal Revenue Services to the tune of $125,000.00 with respect to taxes owed by her late husband. Here’s what happened.
On his death, in addition to their four minor children, McNicol’s husband … Read more
Feb 7, 2017
Companion bills have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate to repeal the federal estate tax. On January 24, 2017, Representative Noem introduced H.R. 631 which was referred to the House’s Ways and Means Committee for consideration. The same day, Senator Thune introduced comparable legislation in the Senate. If enacted by Congress and signed by President Trump, no federal estate tax would be assessed against estates of decedents dying thereafter.… Read more
Dec 9, 2016
Even if it may not be poetic justice it is certainly ironic that to the extent the federal government redistributes federal tax revenues it receives from each state in federal spending among the federal states, the biggest losers are the states which consistently vote for candidates who support higher federal taxes.
While it’s generally accepted that American conservatives and “Red States” generally favor lowering levels of taxes while American liberals and “Blue States” generally support … Read more
Jul 27, 2016
You Can’t Kill the Cow to Get More Milk – Oregon’s Measure 97 and the Destructive Impulse to Over Tax
Winston Churchill described the art of intelligent taxation as knowing how to keep the cow healthy and alive so as to maximize its milk production. The prime directive of good policy is to not kill the cow. If the cow dies, there’s no more milk. Without the milk of tax income, government can’t live. In Oregon the cow’s health, if not its life, is now in peril.
Unfortunately, government’s insatiable appetite often tempts it to … Read more
Jan 28, 2016
In a blog post earlier this week we highlighted a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision which held that taxi cab drivers are employees, not independent contractors, of the cab companies they work with. We suggested that this holding implicitly threatened the business models on which companies such as Uber, Lyft and similar enterprises in the emerging “sharing economy” have grown. A recent article in the ABA Journal concerning the recently announced settlement of a California … Read more
Nov 3, 2015
Small words can make big differences. For instance, when a court ignores an “or” and replaces it with an “of”, bad things can happen. A recent ruling by the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals (“the Board”) which guts Washington’s statutory provisions safeguarding the confidentiality of taxpayer returns and information shows why knowing the difference between “or” and “of” and demonstrating a basic level of reading proficiency should be required before anyone can interpret … Read more