Can I Be Imprisoned for Tax Avoidance?

It can be quite the scary thing to get on the wrong side of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In fact, if you are questioned for auditing, regarding your taxes, it is more than probable that you were already on the IRS’ radar for months. This would put you at a disadvantage, especially if you had very little knowledge on the differences between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Because, yes, there are differences; the most prominent difference between the two is that one of them is perfectly legal while the other is a federal offense.

Breaking it down etymologically, the difference should be easy enough to pinpoint on the defining words alone: avoidance and evasion. To avoid something – say, an in-law with whom you don’t have the best relationship – you would plan around the scenario. To evade something, following the same example, would be to pretend you have a meeting all day when you actually just want to watch a show on Netflix all day. The fine line that differentiates tax avoidance and tax evasion can be slim but the main reason for the illegality of the latter can be summed up in one word: falsity.

When records filed are falsified (e.g. faked to pass off as something as real) or are simply untrue (e.g. stating something that is blatantly not true), according to the website of the lawyers with Kohler Hart Powell Law Firm, that would be accountable under the responsibility of tax evasion. Tax avoidance, however, involves smart financial planning or necessary circumstances in order to qualify for certain tax exemptions or deductions.

If questioned by federal agents, you might just incriminate yourself without meaning to, simply by wording your financial situation wrongly. That it is why it is always recommended to first exercise your right to remain silent as well as your right to legal counsel before answering any questions.

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Pursuing Justice either through a Personal Injury Lawsuit or Mass Tort Lawsuit

Transvaginal mesh, Xarelto, Zofran, IVC Filters, and Bair Hugger, the diabetes drug Invokana, Risperdal and Morcellators are just a few of the medical devices caught in mass tort cases making headlines today.

Mass tort, which is part of Personal Injury law and which can be litigated in many other types of practice areas, including defective drugs law, product liability law, antitrust law, employment discrimination law, and, insurance law, are civil actions that have many plaintiffs or claimants involved against one or several defendant corporations. Though the parties may be spread out geographically, they have a common claim regarding a single product, drug, disaster, unfair business practice, environmental tort or toxic tort.

Mass tort is different from a Class Action lawsuit, the latter being a type of legal action that is filed on behalf of an entire group of people sharing a set of unfortunate circumstances, injuries or other damages. Class Action lawsuit proceedings are usually designed to cut down on the number of court cases that arise when damage or harm is caused by the same problem.

Mass Tort claims, on the other hand, are filed when the number of those injured is on a large scale, such as by defective drugs or defective consumer products. Since drugs and consumer product defects can cause a wide range of different problems for different individuals, thus, mass torts rarely fit into a single class.

Though one attorney or groups of attorneys may represent several injured parties in individual cases in mass tort litigation, an investigation conducted by one attorney may be shared among all cases. A nationwide network of lawyers can also choose to pool all of their resources, ideas, and information to make all plaintiffs receive fair settlements for their injuries.

As explained by Sacramento mass tort lawyers of the Amerio Law Firm, “It is important that you understand what your legal rights are, and determine whether you may be eligible for compensation, as a result of your injuries due the negligence or illegal action of someone else.

Through a personal injury claim or a mass tort lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensation for economic, as well as non-economic, damages. These damages include covering expenses for past and future medical care, physical therapy, and even lost wages from time taken from work for your recovery. Damages can also include compensation for pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Though no financial gain can undo your traumatic experience, pursuing legal action can certainly help relieve financial burdens and hopefully help you and your family obtain the justice and closure you deserve.”

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Most Common Causes of Workplace Injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was passed into law in 1970. This federal law obligates all employers in both public and private firms to make sure that their workplace is free of any form of recognized hazards for the ensured safety and health of all their employees. During the same year, OSH Act paved the way for the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the main task of which is to strictly enforce the values created under the OSH Act.

Specific goals of OSHA include:

  • Implementation of the Act’s standards;
  • Assure safety and health in all working environments;
  • Encourage and assist all states in assuring occupational safety and health;
  • Provide for the evaluation, analysis, development, and approval of programs on workplace safety and health;
  • Create training programs that will help increase the number and competency of occupational safety and health workers; and,
  • Monitor job-related injuries and illnesses.

Except for those who are self-employed, and those working in the transportation and mining business, all public and private employees are covered by OSHA. This means that all employers, under whose care all covered workers are employed, are obliged to abide by the standards that OSHA enforces.

Despite the safety standard laws, however, accidents continue to occur in workplaces, causing injuries to employees. In worst cases, some employees are killed while in the performance of their job. Data from the US Department of Labor identifies the following as the top causes of injuries in the workplace:

  1. Overexertion, which includes carrying, pushing, holding, pulling or lifting (usually) heavy objects.
  2. Slipping/Tripping, which is the second most common cause of workplace injury occurs mostly due to wet floors or tripping hazards.
  3. Falling from heights; this is falling from stairs, ladders, roofs or any elevated area.
  4. Bodily reaction refers to slips or trips but without falling down.
  5. Falling objects, refers to office materials or construction tools dropped by a co-worker or falling from a shelf or any higher location.
  6. Struck by/against an object may occur when a worker runs into or bumps against an overhead pipe, a door, wall, a cabinet, a chair or a glass wall or window.
  7. Road accident is a source of injury which, before, concerned only those whose work basically required driving or travelling. Today, however, anyone may be tasked to run an office errand or transact business outside the office, rendering him/her prone to vehicular accidents.
  8. Machine entanglement is an accident that usually happens in factories.
  9. Repetitive motion injuries, which are due to repeated actions over long periods, such as continuous use of computers or regular typing jobs. These injuries include back pains, eyesight problems and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  10. Violent acts, which are due to arguments and office politics.

As pointed out by the Bruner Law Firm, workers hurt on the job may face devastating medical bills and be out of work at the same time. This “double blow” to an employee can create an economic crisis within the family.

The goal of getting an individual back to good health and back to work is good both for the employer and the employee. However, workplace accidents can generate serious legal questions that only a workplace injury attorney may be able to answer.

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C Corporations and S Corporations

Many Sole Proprietorship business entities grow and develop and become a Corporation and, under under subchapter “C” of the U.S. tax code, all corporations are C corporations unless their owners file for S status (after all shareholders agree in writing to the S corporation election, they must make a timely filing of Form 2553 with the IRS). Taking no action, however, will mean that a corporation is a C corp.

C corp and S corp are types of corporate business entities, the difference of which is based primarily on payment of taxes and ownership. With regard to ownership, S corporations cannot have more than 100 shareholders, all of whom must be U.S. citizens or residents. C corporations, on the other hand, can have an unlimited number of shareholders who may also be non-U.S. citizens or residents.

On the issue of taxation, S corporations are pass-through tax entities, thus, no tax is paid at the corporate level. All corporate profits and losses are reported on the tax return of shareholders. Under the C corp status, however, corporate profits are taxed at the corporate level – a case of double taxation, actually. This is because, as C corps pay taxes, the amount of which is based on its corporate income, this same income, which is distributed to shareholders as dividends, is also the basis of the amount of personal income tax shareholders should pay.

While the pass-through taxation enjoyed under the S corp status will definitely mean huge savings for shareholders, many corporations choose rather the C corp status due to the absence of restrictions, such as having multiple classes of stock, which is imposed on the S corp status.

Underlying the differences in taxation in membership, is the limited liability protection enjoyed by shareholders in both C and S corporations. Due to this limited liability, shareholders are, therefore, not held personally responsible for corporate debts and liabilities.

The law firm Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C. believes that businesses should be given the establishment they need to grow and flourish, as well as the legal assistance that will help them avoid whatever critical errors that could affect their success.

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Carrying Auto Liability Insurance – The Wisest way of Demonstrating Proof of Financial Responsibility

Proving financial responsibility is a law in all 50 states in the U.S. This law specifically requires a driver to prove his or her capability in paying for damages in accidents wherein he or she is at fault. Financial responsibility may be proven by:

  • Carrying auto liability insurance, which is the requirement in all U.S. states, except in New Hampshire; or,
  • Depositing securities or money with the state treasurer or filing an SR-22 (these are in lieu to purchasing an auto insurance policy, a practice allowed in New Hampshire).

(In the state of Virginia, as an alternative to carrying auto liability insurance, drivers may, instead, pay the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the required uninsured motor vehicle fee, deposit cash with the state, obtain a self-insurance certification, or secure a surety bond

Showing proof of financial responsibility is required in about four different instances:

  • When a driver gets pulled over by a police officer;
  • When a driver gets involved in an accident;
  • Upon renewal of a driver’s license; and,
  • During vehicle registration

For drivers, carrying auto liability insurance is the most common way of demonstrating proof of financial responsibility. The type of insurance coverage that a driver needs to carry depends on the liability system existing in the state where he or she resides. In 12 states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah) the “no-fault” auto liability coverage is required. Under this “no-fault” system, payment for losses and damages, which includes cost of medical treatment, lost wages, etc., are made by each driver’s insurance provider regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

Thirty-eight other states recognize the “tort” or “fault” liability coverage, thus, they require their drivers to carry a “tort” insurance policy. Under this tort system, besides being compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, an accident victim may file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver for further claims. This usually happens if the compensation paid by the insurance company does not fully cover the losses suffered by the victim.

Though a requirement, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) says that more than 29 million drivers in the U.S. are uninsured. This is due to the high cost of insurance policies. According Abel Law Firm, drivers can have insurance coverage that best fits the specific needs but without paying more than they should. Independent car insurance firms have made it their business to help drivers and car owners find the best insurance deals at the lowest prices. They do these by offering free online insurance quotes which will allow drivers to compare deals and prices offered by various insurance providers.

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Are trucking companies employing safe drivers?

Commercial trucks and 18-wheelers dominate the road and are often carrying a very heavy load. These vehicles can be a hazard to everyone driving near them. Many safety precautions go into truck driving and these standards are maintained by managerial trucking companies. They are responsible for properly training drivers and equipping them with the skill set needed to drive a large truck.

Unfortunately, negligence occurs within these trucking companies. They are supposed to assure the best training and safest working conditions possible, but when this doesn’t happen, accidents happen. In an attempt to cut corners and increase profits, training isn’t always as proper or extensive as it should be. Logically, a typical vehicle doesn’t stand much of a chance against a large 18-wheeler. Life-altering or even fatal injuries could result from a trucking accident.

Truck drivers work under a lot of constraints that lead to them being pressured by the company they work for. According to Russo, Russo & Slania, P.C., truck drivers are often pressured to complete their routes in an unreasonably short amount of time or else the company may be held financially accountable. Here are four forms of negligence that could occur on the part of the trucking company:

  • Hours of service violation: When driving a commercial vehicle, the driver can only be behind the wheel for 14 hours at a time. Fatigue can set in beyond the 14th hour and this leads to careless accidents. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, drowsy drivers involved in a crash are twice as likely to make performance errors as compared to drivers who are not fatigued.
  • Negligent hiring: A truck driver should have experience and a good criminal and health record. If a company hires an employee without fully screening them, they could end up causing an accident.
  • Failure to train: Improper training can often occur within the inner workings of a trucking company. Without the correct training, accidents end up being harder to avoid because prevention was never taught the right way.
  • Failure to maintain vehicles: Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their equipment. Maintenance negligence leads to the trucking company being held liable for damages resulting from any malfunction.
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Medical Malpractice: When Negligence Leads to Wrongful Death

Medical professionals hold a vital role in their given communities. Without them, the public won’t be able to receive the best health care options available to them. So much of a community’s trust is placed on doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care personnel, knowing that these individuals can provide the best possible treatment for whatever illness or condition that ails them. Unfortunately, these set expectations aren’t always met in reality. There are moments when medical professionals fall short of the standards dictated by their vocation.

In the United States particularly, cases of medical malpractice are reported regularly. Even more alarming is the fact these some of these cases are known to have led to incidents of wrongful death. As pointed out by the Civil Justice Resource Group, about 25,000 to 120,000 medical malpractice incidents will lead to the wrongful death of patient ever year. These tragic and unfortunate outcomes cannot be ignored. However, before active steps toward prevention can be taken, it’s vital that the public becomes aware of why such cases occur in the first place.

A Fort Smith personal injury lawyer would probably say that generally, wrongful death refers to any incident caused by neglectful or reckless errors that lead to the untimely death of another person. In medical malpractice, these errors are committed by surgeons, physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other medical personnel charged with the care of a patient. The errors made by these professionals can be particularly overwhelming, such as administering the wrong dose of anesthesia during surgery. However, simple mistakes such as missteps made during diagnosis can have profound effects on the prognosis of a patient’s condition. Even lost or delayed test results can mean the difference between a patient’s safety and a very tragic outcome.

All in all, wrongful death is the most tragic outcome that can happen due to medical malpractice. As a result, it’s extremely important that the public are able to constantly hold the medical community to the highest standard. Any incidents that fall short should be reported to prevent similar outcomes in the future. If you’ve lost a loved one due to medical malpractice, do not hesitate to consult with an experienced legal professional to learn more about options available to you.

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Women Can’t Get a Break

Whether it is combination oral contraceptives (COCs) or having a hysterectomy, women have lately been having a run of bad luck with dangerous medical products. According to the National Injury Law Center website, serious blood clotting complications from using Yaz, Yasmin, and Ocella has been augmented by other findings. These COCs containing drospirenone may also be increasing a woman’s risk for gallbladder disease.

Those undergoing hysterectomies may also be at risk, but this time from the big C. The use of morcellators, which is primarily a small knife paired with a suction, to cut up and remove uterine tissue are believed to increase the risk of the patient in developing uterine cancer. As the website of morcellator lawsuit attorneys at Williams Kherkher puts it, the warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that morcellators may not be safe to use for hysterectomies came a little too late for some women.

The drug manufacturers should have thoroughly tested their products before marketing them to the public. Many of these cases of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and uterine cancer could have been prevented because there are safer alternatives. These women would not have chosen to put their lives at risk if they have been adequately warned about the risks.

It is hard to imagine how these women are feeling. They are now suffering the consequences of the negligence of these drug companies, and there is very little they can do. The most they can hope for is to get compensation for their losses.

If you have suffered serious injury from unknowingly using dangerous medical products, you have a right to get something back. However, drug companies have formidable defenses against liability lawsuits, so you need to bring out the big guns. Consult with a dangerous medical products lawyer in your area to get started.

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PTSD and Domestic Violence in Military Families

It comes as no great surprise that the number of domestic violence abuse reports in military families have increased in the last few years even as civilian domestic violence statistics go down. Military families are not the same as civilian families; those who were on lengthy active duty often have a hard time adjusting to civilian life when they finally get home.

A good example is the story of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, who went through multiple tours of duty during the war with Iraq. In the film adaptation of his book “The American Sniper,” he was shown as undergoing a crisis as he relived his days in the war. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that made him withdraw from family members when he finally came home. Fortunately, he got help.

However, the fact remains that many veterans suffer from PTSD, and they do not all get the treatment they need. This would account for some of the 21% of domestic violence reports attributed to military veterans, while some could be due to traumatic brain injuries. It has become well established that PTSD sufferers 14 times are more likely to become violent toward a family member than are civilians.

There is no excuse for domestic violence, but perhaps such facts mitigate the charges. As pointed out on the website of the Flaherty Defense Firm, veterans are especially vulnerable because a domestic violence conviction can mean the end of their military career. PTSD has been accepted only recently as a viable defense in domestic violence cases, but it requires a criminal defense lawyer experienced in military cases to pull it off successfully.

If you are in the military accused of domestic violence, you should have criminal defense for military members. It could mean the difference between getting the treatment you need and the end of your career.

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When to Seek a Personal Injury Lawyer

People are naturally reluctant to raise a fuss, even when they are at the losing end of a stick. As much as they can, they will keep their troubles to themselves even if caused by a negligent third party. It takes a lot to compel the ordinary American to take the bull by the horns and file a personal injury lawsuit. What is the catalyst that makes this happen?

In many cases of personal injury, the victim requires extensive medical attention, often followed by prolonged recovery, rehabilitation, and medication. The effects can be short-term such as a few weeks, to long-term, such as for life. For temporary disability, most people can rely on their workers’ compensation insurance for work related injuries, or their personal insurance for other types of injuries. However, this may not be enough to cover all the expenses. This can lead to significant financial problems, maybe even bankruptcy. It is usually at this point that a negligent accident victim will think about hiring Houston personal injury attorneys.

In other cases, when the victim dies as a result of injuries sustained in a negligent accident, the victim’s survivors are often left with a devastating feeling of emotional loss and pain. Wrongful deaths are not the same as death from an illness or old age. It is sudden and unexpected, which makes it harder to accept. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the loss of income does not even come into it; the loss of companionship has the highest impact on the survivors. The tendency is to find someone to blame, and in a negligent accident, this is the liable third party.

If you have suffered serious injury or lost a loved one because of the negligence of others, you are perfectly right to want to bring the responsible party to book. At the very least, you should get some compensation for your losses. Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area for more information.

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