Summary of “I Was a Young, Broke Lawyer When I Found the Perfect Job On Craigslist”

Five minutes later, Nick calls to set up an interview.
There’s nowhere to sit in Nick’s office, so I stand.
Nick doesn’t explain how people mired in tax debt come up with that much money; I don’t ask.
Nick’s competitors advertise on television and radio, but Nick prefers to buy marketing lists of people in financial trouble and pay a salesman named Jimmy to make cold calls all day long.
For now, Nick says, “The name of the game is volume.” And as the interview draws to a close, he shares his secret to working with “The folks” at the IRS. “If you catch a real prick, hang up, try back later.” Chances are I’ll get another rep on the phone, who might be more agreeable.
“Clients pay for the cache of a lawyer,” Nick explains.
First, an offer in compromise is a long shot, which is why Nick calls his business a numbers game.
Nick is usually golfing, or day drinking with his Russian bride, a woman named Tatiana who is fond of leopard-print pants and four-inch heels.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the World’s Most Secretive Offshore Haven Refuses to Clean Up”

“We feel very strongly that people are entitled to some semblance of financial privacy,” the Nevis premier, Mark Brantley, himself an offshore lawyer, told me when we met in his office in January.
“Why should a bureaucrat in London, or wherever, curious about his neighbour’s financial situation, pick up the phone and say, ‘You know what, I need to know if Mr John Smith, who’s my neighbour down the road, has an account or a company in Nevis.’ Why’s that his business?” Brantley asked.
As long as Nevis persists in denying foreigners access to the ownership information of its companies – no matter how hard other places work to open up – scoundrels can keep routing their business via Nevis, breaking the chain of traceable ownership, and hiding themselves and their crimes from discovery.
Earlier this week, John Cleese told Newsnight he was so fed up with how Britain is run that he is moving to Nevis for good.
“My approach to getting assets that are in asset protection entities like a Nevis LLC, is that you don’t go to Nevis and try to get the money out – that is a foolhardy enterprise. They passed laws and they set up structures to stop us and to make it expensive and to make it take years and years and years. What we do here is we use some more creative approaches to, for lack of a better term, make them cough up the dough.”
A search of the Companies House website reveals how Nevis is able to defang Britain’s attack on secrecy.
If the island is so clean, why did online trolls looking to smear Emmanuel Macron before the 2017 French presidential election create fake documents supposedly showing he had a shell company in Nevis? Isn’t that a sign that the industry Sutton oversees has an image problem? “People make things up all the time,” she replied.
The issue is that if every jurisdiction thinks only of how to stand on its own two feet – whether that’s post-Brexit Britain, Nevis or Wyoming – we will all be pushed over separately by the world’s crooks and thieves.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mauritius Leaks exposes tiny tax haven’s role in vast offshore system”

Geldof’s investment firm won Mauritius government approval to take advantage of obscure international agreements that allow companies to pay rock-bottom tax rates on the island tax haven and less to the desperately poor African nations where the companies do business.
Based on a cache of 200,000 confidential records from the Mauritius office of the Bermuda-based offshore law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman, the investigation reveals how a sophisticated financial system based on the island is designed to divert tax revenue from poor nations back to the coffers of Western corporations and African oligarchs, with Mauritius getting a share.
As a “Resident” firm of Mauritius, Sustainable Luxury could take advantage of the country’s super-low, effective maximum corporate tax rate: 3%. Sustainable Luxury also applied for – and received – special legal status from the government of Mauritius, allowing it to benefit from tax treaties between Mauritius and countries where Six Senses had spas and hotels.
Mauritius introduced a flat corporate income tax rate of 15% with foreign tax credits that can drive that down to an effective rate of 3%. Mauritius rolled out Global Business Licence 1, which allows companies with operations elsewhere to be “Resident” in Mauritius for tax purposes and pay its low rates.
Under its treaty, India had granted Mauritius the sole right to tax capital gains when a Mauritius company sold shares in an Indian company.
Under “Taxation implications” in a business plan dated March 2013, Conyers employees wrote that the partnership “May require a tax residency certificate” to “Benefit from the double tax agreement network.” Four of the seven African countries in which the fund’s companies operate had a tax treaty with Mauritius at the time of the fund’s investments.
The partnership eventually set up a Mauritius management company, Eight Africa Management Ltd., which received a Global Business License and became eligible for Mauritius tax rates, according to the 8 Miles 2017 annual report.
The company’s minutes, dated June 2011, also said it would apply for a tax residency certificate every year to “Benefit” from the tax treaty between Uganda and Mauritius.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Car Crashes Aren’t Always Unavoidable”

To begin with, mundane road regulations embed automobile supremacy into federal, state, and local law.
Land-use law, criminal law, torts, insurance, vehicle safety regulations, even the tax code-all these sources of law provide rewards to cooperate with what has become the dominant transport mode, and punishment for those who defy it.
Further entrenching automobile supremacy are laws that require landowners who build housing and office space to build housing for cars as well.
In large part because of parking quotas, parking lots now cover more than a third of the land area of some U.S. cities; Houston is estimated to have 30 parking spaces for every resident.
Every employee who brings a car to the office essentially doubles the amount of space he takes up at work, and in urban areas his employer may be required by law to build him a $50,000 garage parking space.
On its own terms, the mortgage-interest tax deduction is neutral as to the type of home financed, but-given the twin constraints of zoning and mortgage lending-the deduction primarily subsidizes large houses in car-centric areas.
Another provision of the tax code gives car buyers a tax rebate of up to $7,500 when their new vehicles are electric or hybrid; buyers of brand-new Audis, BMWs, and Jaguars can claim the full $7,500 from the American taxpayer.
Why are we taxing bus riders to pay rich people to buy McMansions and luxury electric SUVs?

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Canada Is Able to Do Things Better”

“We are unable to build bridges, we’re unable to build airports, our inner city school kids are not graduating,” is how JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon summarized the state of things during an earnings conference call.
During my travels up and down the American East Coast in recent years, I’ve come to focus on a more mundane explanation: The United States is falling apart because-unlike Canada and other wealthy countries-the American public sector simply doesn’t have the funds required to keep the nation stitched together.
The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, a group of 35 wealthy countries, ranks its members by overall tax burden-that is, total tax revenues at every level of government, added together and then expressed as a percentage of GDP-and in latest year for which data is available, 2014, the United States came in fourth to last.
Its tax burden was 25.9 percent-substantially less than the OECD average, 34.2 percent.
If the United States followed that mean OECD rate, there would be about an extra $1.5 trillion annually for governments to spend on better schools, safer roads, better-trained police, and more accessible health care.
Denmark, with a tax burden of 49.6 percent, stands atop the OECD index.
Donald Trump seems intent on steering the country onto the same downward trajectory as Kansas: His “Taxpayer First” budget plan proposed enormous tax cuts that, his administration claimed, would pay for themselves through the economic boom they’d bring about.
There are a few scattered signs that GOP state legislators see the limits of this strategy: As The New York Times has reported, conservative lawmakers in several red states have grudgingly acknowledged that they need to boost tax rates to keep public services viable.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a Philadelphia Property Tax Issue Nearly Cost Us Our House”

Because of how messy our tax situation is – I’m a freelancer; my husband is part owner of a business – we’d always relied on accountants, so we never paid much attention to the ins and outs of city taxes.
There were fruitless trips to the Office of Property Assessment, two failed appeals, a smattering of emotional breakdowns, a handful more letters addressed to Donald Cleaver, and, of course, a check for roughly $4,000 made out to the City of Philadelphia for well, it’s a long story.
There the city was, not catching the mistake, not digging too deep, and essentially saying that nobody owed us anything.
My point here: It occurred to me that maybe the troubles of one irritated family – even the troubles of many irritated families, and of user friendliness writ large – would sound like small potatoes in a city tackling entrenched tax-collection issues, not to mention the big-picture tax fights still raging over assessments and abatements and our historically screwy tax structure.
Meantime, over the months I was entrenched in my own issues, I was also reading in the Inky that the city’s property assessment process was flawed; that unchecked overtime for city employees was costing unplanned millions; that the city lost $33 million, then hired auditors to find the money, which they did, chalking the deficit up to sloppy bookkeeping except for a half-million that’s still unaccounted for.
There are a great many programs to help people deal with tax bills, but a friend of mine who was relentlessly pursued by city collections while in the midst of sorting through a mistaken tax debt zeroed in on the crippling amount of time he spent dealing with it.
In February, Bloomberg ran a piece about how lots of American cities are “Running on software from the ’80s.” Why? The expensive, time-consuming process of modernizing tech isn’t an easy sell for voters, the story noted even if those same voters denounce the rotten service that’s a side effect of old technology.
As for me? Well, I’ve seen the records from 2014 – the very same records the title company got from the city when we settled on the house that year – and they show no exemptions.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After the Retail Apocalypse, Prepare for the Property Tax Meltdown”

He’s avoiding shopping at these companies’ stores until they cease what he sees as a flagrant exploitation of West Bend’s property tax system: repeat tax appeals that, added up, could undermine the town’s hard-won fiscal health.
If the stores prevail in West Bend, for example, it would reduce property values by millions of dollars, force the city to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and set back payments on the public infrastructure that the town built to lure these retailers in the first place.
Born of the post-recession retail apocalypse and spread by a cottage industry of “No-win, no-fee” tax consultants, dark store theory could foreshadow an even larger threat to local finances-a weakening of the basic social contract underpinning the property-tax apparatus that keeps cities and towns afloat.
A tax agent from Chicago filed an appeal on behalf of Sam’s Club, arguing that the store was worth just $7.2 million, based on the low sales costs of a handful of second-generation big box locations scattered around the state.
What if every national chain store around successfully slashed their obligations using dark store theory and similar arguments? According to an analysis by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the average homeowner across seven cities could wind up paying an extra $385 per year in property taxes.
Dark store theory has “Largely withstood judicial scrutiny, leading to hundreds of store devaluations and to hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated lost tax revenue to local governments,” according to a January 2018 report by S&P Global Ratings, which warned investors of the risk the issue poses to municipal budgets.
The Detroit-based tax attorney Michael Shapiro has been credited with pioneering the technique of using “Dark stores” as sales comparisons.
Dark store theory may be bigger than big boxes: As challenges spread geographically, city administrators fear the tactic will catch on among other property classes, with fast food outlets, banks, grocery stores, and office buildings deploying similar arguments in an effort to slash their tax obligations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “After the Retail Apocalypse, Prepare for the Property Tax Meltdown”

He’s avoiding shopping at these companies’ stores until they cease what he sees as a flagrant exploitation of West Bend’s property tax system: repeat tax appeals that, added up, could undermine the town’s hard-won fiscal health.
If the stores prevail in West Bend, for example, it would reduce property values by millions of dollars, force the city to refund hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes, and set back payments on the public infrastructure that the town built to lure these retailers in the first place.
Born of the post-recession retail apocalypse and spread by a cottage industry of “No-win, no-fee” tax consultants, dark store theory could foreshadow an even larger threat to local finances-a weakening of the basic social contract underpinning the property-tax apparatus that keeps cities and towns afloat.
A tax agent from Chicago filed an appeal on behalf of Sam’s Club, arguing that the store was worth just $7.2 million, based on the low sales costs of a handful of second-generation big box locations scattered around the state.
What if every national chain store around successfully slashed their obligations using dark store theory and similar arguments? According to an analysis by the Wisconsin League of Municipalities, the average homeowner across seven cities could wind up paying an extra $385 per year in property taxes.
Dark store theory has “Largely withstood judicial scrutiny, leading to hundreds of store devaluations and to hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated lost tax revenue to local governments,” according to a January 2018 report by S&P Global Ratings, which warned investors of the risk the issue poses to municipal budgets.
The Detroit-based tax attorney Michael Shapiro has been credited with pioneering the technique of using “Dark stores” as sales comparisons.
Dark store theory may be bigger than big boxes: As challenges spread geographically, city administrators fear the tactic will catch on among other property classes, with fast food outlets, banks, grocery stores, and office buildings deploying similar arguments in an effort to slash their tax obligations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Long Should You Keep Tax Records?”

Once you’ve filed your tax return, what should you do with all the forms, receipts, canceled checks and other records scattered across your desk? Do you need to keep them, or can you shred them now? The IRS generally has three years after the due date of your return to initiate an audit, so you should keep all of your tax records at least until that time has passed.
Here’s a general rundown on how long you should keep certain common tax records and documents.
To be on the safe side, they should generally keep their 1099s, their receipts and other records of business expenses for at least six years.
Make sure you keep related records and documents for at least seven years.
Keep records of contributions to a Roth IRA for three years after the account is depleted.
Keep investing records showing purchases in a taxable account for up to three years after you sell the investments.
If you inherit property or receive it as a gift, make sure you keep documents and records that help you establish the property’s basis for at least three years after you dispose of the property.
The California Franchise Tax Board has up to four years to audit state income tax returns, so California residents should save related documents for at least that long.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Billionaires raced to pledge money to rebuild Notre Dame. Then came the backlash.”

PARIS – The eventual reconstruction of Notre Dame is now a foregone conclusion.
“If they can give tens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, then they should stop telling us there is no money to help with the social emergency,” Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT trade union, said on Wednesday.
“In just a few hours today, 650 million euros was donated to rebuild Notre Dame,” South Africa-based journalist Simon Allison tweeted.
Notre Dame offers a striking contrast: No one was killed, no one is starving, but philanthropists probably provided the full amount – if not more – instantaneously and unprompted.
France begins debate over how to rebuild Notre Dame, starting with a spire design contest.
Notre Dame fire came at a difficult time for French Catholics.
The Notre Dame fire ignites the West’s far right.
The fall of Notre Dame is a body blow to Paris and all it represents.

The orginal article.