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Archive for March, 2011

Who Knew Bartering Is Taxable Income? Tax Law Regarding Bartering.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

??Some small businesses still use the oldest form of commerce, bartering or the exchanges of goods and services. The IRS wants all taxpayers of small business, or any business for that matter, to make sure they know that “the fair market value of property or services received through bartering is taxable income”. According to Income Tax Law, bartering is taxable income and the classification of bartering for those not sure, is the trade of goods and services for another.

If a barter was made, regardless if it was made from something physical like a building or intangible like services through the internet, it is considered a barter. A taxpayer must report all bartering that has occurred. In order to do so, there is the 1099-B Form- Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. This filing is to be done yearly by the clients or members that partook in the bartering, reported to the IRS.

Bartering income is the value estimated in dollars on the goods or services received or bought. It is the same as using money to receive or “sell” the goods or services. Because it is considered identical to real dollars, the barter amounts are to be reported on the 1099-B Form. There are a lot of people who are unaware that the IRS wants their share in any bartering because it is still a form of “cash” and all cash is taxable. For an example if a person trades a car for a camper, it is considered a barter so the IRS wants to know the value of both the car and camper so as to figure out the amount of taxes owed.

The rules for reporting bartering may vary depending on which form of bartering took place. Most bartering is reported on the 1040 Form Schedule C- Profit or Loss from Business with the 1099-B Form. There are other forms that are also used to file bartering: there are the forms 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120 for Corporations, or 1120-S for Small Business Corporations. Check with the IRS website under Business for more information regarding filing for bartering or if you have any questions that need to be answered. Filing a return that involves bartering could be a tricky part of filing taxes, but it is to be done correctly so make sure to do your research thoroughly. Many taxpayers are unaware that bartering is the same as “cash” and can get penalized for not filing it correctly to the IRS, so make sure to keep all the proof that is needed to verify barter exchanges.

Robert L. Daniel and partners of Limon Whitaker & Morgan, for years have helped businesses and individuals Nationwide, with their delinquent IRS & State tax problems. The firm is based in Los Angeles, California USA. Tel:888.321.2430

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Trademark Symbols – What to Use and When

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

The use of trademark symbols is governed by federal regulation, federal law, and even state law. The symbols include the following:

1. (TM), which stands for trademark
2. SM, which stands for service mark
3. ®, which stands for registered trademark

While the use of trademark symbols differ under foreign laws depending upon the jurisdiction, this article will focus on use of trademark symbols within the United States.

The (TM) and SM can be used with a mark by anyone who is claiming rights to that mark. There is no need to have a federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in order to use either the (TM) or SM symbols. Instead, a belief that the entity owns a distinctive mark as used in connection with certain goods or services is sufficient.

The use of the ® symbol does have specific requirements. This traditional trademark signifies ownership of a federal registration. This mark may be used once the trademark or service mark is actually registered with the USPTO on either the Principal or Supplemental Register of the USPTO. It is important to recognize that merely filing an application with the USPTO, withstanding an opposition, or having the mark approved for publication is insufficient to warrant use of the ® symbol. Only upon actually receiving a Certificate of Registration from the USPTO can the owner of that trademark or service mark be permitted to use the ® symbol. In addition, the federal registration symbol should only be used in connection with the goods or services that are listed within the certificate of registration.

That said, foreign countries have their own laws with regard to the use of the registered ® symbol. Therefore, it is important to determine which countries use the ® symbol to indicate that a mark is registered in their country before assuming that the owner of the mark has a USPTO trademark. For example, such countries as China, Germany, and the Netherlands also use the ® symbol.

One who improperly uses the federal registration symbol with a deliberate intent to deceive or mislead the public may be liable for fraud. Although fraudulent intent is usually required, one should not use the ® symbol unless permitted by law. Improper uses may include use based upon state trademark registration, placement on an entire mark or portion thereof despite the registration pertaining to something otherwise, use on the mark relating to goods to which the registration does not pertain, or use despite the registration having been recently expired or canceled.

Just as proper trademark monitoring and protection is critical to ensure that trademark rights persist, use of the appropriate trademark symbol is also important. Therefore, knowing whether to use the (TM), SM, or ® symbol and at what point in your trademark use will be critical.

Brian A. Hall is an attorney and partner of Traverse Legal, PLC, a law firm focused on complex litigation, intellectual property matters, internet law and trademark registration and prosecution. Speak with a trademark registration attorney today to learn more about what trademark symbol to use and when to properly to use it.

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The Benefits of a Website Legal Audit

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

With so many ways to start a website at very little cost, many people are turning to the Internet to sell goods, advertise their services or to share information with family and friends. Most will simply write some copy and add a few pictures. But some of these websites could be in violation of ecommerce, copyright or other laws and the website owner may be totally unaware of this. The owner may also not be aware of other sites that are infringing on their copyrights and domain names.

A website legal audit is the best way to find out if your site is in compliance. This audit is usually conducted by an attorney that is familiar with Internet law. This information can protect your business and keep you from getting into legal trouble later.

Financial considerations–nothing is really free

Some people get excited because they set up their website for free and it’s being hosted for a few dollars a month. However, ignorance is not a defense when it comes to the law and several things should be considered.

* Taxes. If you are selling goods or services, you have to pay taxes in some way. If you are a service provider, such as a freelance writer, you should pay income taxes. Those who sell goods on their website should know which jurisdictions would require them to pay a sales tax. An audit will tell you what taxes you should pay.
* Affiliate and licensing agreements. Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online. Basically, the owner of the website agrees to market and sell a product for a company for a share of the profits. You need to make sure your agreements are valid or you could be selling a product without making any money.
* Sweepstakes, contest. Your nonprofit organization or church may decide to host a fundraising contest or your business may offer a sweepstakes. Be careful because these moneymaking ventures could be considered illegal in some states.
* Insurance. Just like you insure your home and car in case of damages, you should insure your website. While it may seem silly to purchase insurance for your site, what would you do if someone stole all of the information about your business? Liability insurance can cover these losses.

Legal considerations

Before you started your website, you had to secure a domain name. Are you sure that domain name is yours? If you used a designer to set up your site, he or she may have set themselves up as the owner of your domain name. If the relationship between you and your designer goes sour, you may have to fight for that name. Don’t forget that domain names are not free and will have to be renewed. Make sure you know the date.

The domain name is important but other legal considerations could sink your website, too. These include:

* Copyright issues. Make sure that you own the copyright to the website, not your designer or the person who maintains your site. Also, make sure the images, including digital images, and copy on your site are not copyrighted by someone else. You will also want to check and see that no one else is using your copyrighted information on their site.
* Advertising considerations. The Federal Trade Commission has strict guidelines when it comes to advertising. Be very familiar with these guidelines or you could find yourself fined or paying a hefty fine.
* Do you have a privacy policy? This has to be more than some words on your site. You and anyone who works for you must comply with the policy.
* Are you marketing to children or do children visit your site? In 1998 Congress passed the Children’s Privacy Protection Act to shield children from people online who would collect their information. Failure to comply could mean fines.
* Keep in mind that the Internet is global. You need to know if you website is violating any international laws.

You wouldn’t operate a store or office without making sure you are in compliance with the laws of the city and state. You need to make sure your website is also in compliance. A website legal audit protects you from penalties and fines and assures you that your business is protected.

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Forming a Business LLC in Arizona

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

In Arizona, the Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) has become the standard for most business when choosing the type of legal entity to form. An LLC is an entity that is similar to both a corporation and a partnership. It does, however, have distinct differences from the corporation. Many see it as an answer to the shortcomings of the traditional corporations stringent organizational requirements, and the unlimited liability imposed upon partnerships. The characteristics that distinguish the LLC from other business formation choices is: (1) limited liability of the members; (2) requires the use of the word “limited” in the entity’s name; (3) treated as a separate and distinct legal entity from its members; and (4) members control admission of new members.

The LLCs benefits

As mentioned above, there are a number of benefits in choosing an LLC as your business entity. First and foremost, the members of a limited liability company are, for the most part, shielded from personal liability for actions on the part of the L.L.C. This is because the LLC is an entity. Imagine for a moment a table, surrounded by two two chairs. In one chair is yourself, and the other chair is empty at the moment. If you form an LLC entity, that LLC entity would be sitting in the other chair, as it is a completely separate business entity. If you dissolve the LLC, it would cease to exist.

Arizona law states that “no member, manager, employee, officer or agent of a limited liability company is liable solely by reason of being a member, manager, employee, officer or agent, for the debts, obligations and liabilities of the limited liability company whether arising out of contract or tort, under a judgment, decree or order of a court otherwise. ” A.R.S. 29-651

The mere fact that a person is a member of a corporation does not completely avail them of avoiding future liability when two specific exceptions apply: “piercing the corporate veil” or “alter ego” theory of liability. In these scenarios the LLC will sometimes be disregarded if it is necessary to prevent fraud or to prevent a member from avoiding their existing personal obligations. In addition, members can be held personally liable under the veil theory if they fail to provide adequate capitalization at the time of formation.

The second benefit of the LLC is the flexibility in the management. Members of an LLC can participate directly in the management of the business, or can elect a manager or managers to handle the affairs of the LLC. The LLC can pay compensation to employees who are not members and deduct this compensation as a business expense. If compensation is paid to a member-employee of an LLC with more than one member, the compensation is deductible so long as it is determined without regard to the income of the LLC.

You can form a corporation or an LLC with an attorney for reasonable costs that will save you money and problems in the long run. A properly run corporation or LLC protects the personal assets of owners from debts or court judgments against the company. If your business fails or goes bankrupt, for example, your creditors cannot force you to use your home, car, and personal financial accounts to settle your debts if the business is a limited liability company.

Small business owners have realized the benefits of choosing an LLC, and form it early on. Many, however, do not understand the rights and responsibilities that come with choosing an LLC. The laws in Arizona are subject to change, so it’s important to check on them when you are ready to incorporate or form your LLC.

How do you form or setup a Limited Liability Company in Arizona?

If you have chosen an LLC as your business entity, the company must be setup properly. You must file Articles of Organization for the LLC with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Most of the time you can have your Articles of Organization for your LLC formed within three to five weeks, however the formation of the LLC Articles of Organization can be expedited for an additional fee. Once approved, a Notice of Publication must be filed in accordance with the Corporation Commissions guidelines. Although it seems simple, there is a lot that can go wrong if not done properly.

Although you can form an LLC yourself, it would be wise to hire an attorney experienced in business formation to do the filing for you. Choosing to have a professional file your LLC can save you time and money by doing it right the first time. An experienced attorney will know how to do it right, and how to satisfy each of the requirements. They will be able to check for any conflicts in the name of the company, as well as advise you on the potential benefits and pitfalls of filing as an LLC. Also, the law firm can serve as a statutory agent for service of process purposes.

In today’s volatile market, it is important to build your business on a firm foundation. Forming your own business can be a perfect solution for many, and even many of today’s major corporations started off in a garage or backyard. The point is, when you form an LLC you never know where it will go, so you want someone there to point you in the right direction all the way through your companies formation.

I am a business attorney in Arizona.

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Why Your Tax Forms Are So Important to Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Friday, March 4th, 2011

When you work with an attorney on a bankruptcy filing, there’s a long list of documents you’ll be asked to gather and give to your attorney. Some of the most critical documents you’ll gather are your last two years’ worth of tax filings, both state and federal. Why are these so important?

First, and most important, tax returns contain a great deal of the financial information that your attorney will use when preparing your bankruptcy petition. Your attorney will review your returns to get a good grasp of your financial situation–what real estate you own and whether it’s investment property; what bank accounts or investments you may hold; whether you are self-employed and how the business has been doing over time, and so on.

Your attorney also uses your tax returns as a kind of financial checklist when preparing your bankruptcy petition. Most of the information that you’ve already reported on your tax returns is information that your attorney must include in your petition.

Importantly, bankruptcy is information-based. In other areas of law, when you go to court, you may be asked to testify and tell your side of the story. At your bankruptcy hearing, your bankruptcy petition–the specialized financial report that your attorney has presented for the Court’s approval–tells your story for you. The bankruptcy trustee who examines your petition may ask some questions, but the more accurate and detailed your attorney’s information, the easier it is for the bankruptcy trustee to review and approve your petition.

So don’t flinch when your attorney asks for copies of your tax returns. You can share them confidently, knowing that your attorney is helping you toward bankruptcy’s “fresh financial start.”

* The information contained in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Do not take legal action based on this information. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Liz Weishaar is a partner at The Law Office of Weishaar and Graham, in Woburn, Massachusetts. She practices in the area of bankruptcy, both commercial and personal.

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Steps to Take If Injured in an Auto Accident

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Do you want to know the steps to take if injured in an auto accident? In this article I am going to give you a step by step guide to getting an auto accident settlement.

If you are trying to find the steps to take if injured in an auto accident you may be worried about the outcome of filing your claim. You should not be worried about the outcome because if you do what you should do in the first place you should have a good outcome.

*Number 1 – Call Your Insurance Company*

Before you do anything you should call your insurance company and let them know what you have been in an accident. This will allow them to get to work on your claim as soon as possible

*Number 2 – Talk To The Police*

The police report is something that is key in getting your auto accident settlement. Make sure the police know exactly what happen and that the report comes out right. If the report does not come out correctly you may not be able to win your case.

*Number 3 – Do Not Give A Recorded Statement*

The insurance company may try to get you to give a recorded statement sometime but it is important that you do not allow them to record you. If you are traumatized you may mix things up and say things you do not mean.

*Number 4 – Speak With An Attorney*

If you are not sure what else to do you should speak with an attorney. You can get a free consultation with an attorney in your area and that will be able to give you free advice.

There are actually services that will find an auto accident attorney attorney in your area for you for free.

*Want to Know More?*

Click Here For More Free Information on How To Get An now.

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