Maryland's Double Taxation of Residents Struck Down by Supreme Court. Tax Attorney Rob Wood Reports

On May 18, the Supreme Court decided a Maryland case involving double taxation. Maryland’s tax code does not give full credit to residents who also pay taxes in states where they work. The Court sided with the taxpayers, and the decision may cost some states and cities millions of dollars. Tax Attorney Rob Wood discusses the case in this report.

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

Wood characterizes the decision as “astounding.” This is another 5-4 decision, but the Court did not line up the way it often does in 5-4 cases. The decision is certainly bad news for Maryland. The decision could cost the state $200 million in tax losses and refunds. Another big issue is the effect the ruling will have on other states and cities around the country. Wood wonders how many claims and lawsuits will be brought in other places because of this case.

The tax approach used by Maryland is not unique, Wood says, noting that he is a Californian and has heard many of his fellow citizens complain that they don’t get credit for taxes paid elsewhere. Because of all sorts of things happening at state and municipal levels, it is not uncommon for people to be taxed twice on the same income and to receive no credit for the taxes paid. Wood opines that many taxpayers will be wondering whether the new case will provide some leverage for them in dealing with tax issues in their own locales.

For more information on the subject, please refer to Mr. Wood’s article in Forbes. Robert Wood is a tax attorney with Wood, LLP in San Francisco, California and spoke with The Tax Law Channel, an affiliate of The Legal Broadcast Network.  The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Bogus Cancer Charities: Where Was the IRS? Tax Attorney Rob Wood Discusses the Cancer Charity Mess

As previously reported on LBN, complaint by the Federal Trade Commission complaint has brought to light a group of bogus cancer charities run by a family in Tennessee. James Reynolds and his family collected over $187 million and spent most of the money on themselves. It is one of the largest charity fraud cases ever and involves all fifty states. Tax attorney Rob Wood discusses the case, also the subject of his Forbes article “Appalling $187 Million Cancer Charity Fraud Case Settles -- When 97% Of Money Isn't For Charity.”

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

An obvious question is, where was the IRS during the twenty-five years the scams were going on? As to that, Wood can’t say. But the situation is at least a potential black eye for the IRS. Wood notes that this comes at a time when there is discussion of alleged abuses of the Clinton Foundation, although Wood says there is no doubt that the Foundation is doing good work. However, the cancer charities are an appalling story, where the focus was on soliciting from average people, to get “twenty dollars here and twenty dollars there.” And of all the funds raised, 97% never got to any charity.

Wood says that CNN covered some of this story a year ago, so “it’s been on people’s radar.” The settlement reached is disturbing because it is not as harsh as some people think it should be, with people who carried out the scams getting off with paying small sums of money compared to the millions they took in. The total payback by all of the people involved is about $150,000, and no prison time is involved.

It’s not clear whether it is still possible for some authority to prosecute the family and seek prison sentences for them. Wood suspects it is not possible. It is astonishing that the people involved got away with this for so many years, in all fifty states, and are getting off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

Wood says that, while the tax code is far too complicated, what is not complicated about it is the recognition of real charities. Charities “should be relatively tightly controlled.” In the case of the cancer charities, they did not follow any guidelines for charities, and no one seemed to notice. Private inurements are not allowed by the IRS. This story should be talked about for a long time, Wood believes.

For more information on the subject, please refer to Mr. Wood’s article in Forbes. Robert Wood is a tax attorney with Wood, LLP in San Francisco, California and spoke with The Tax Law Channel, an affiliate of The Legal Broadcast Network.  The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Chicago Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Claim for $1.25 Million. Attorney Eugene Hollander Explains the Case

The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit by a man who alleged that, as a child, he was sexually abused by Daniel McCormack, a former priest and convicted sex offender. The plaintiff was represented by Chicago trial lawyer Eugene Hollander, who discusses the lawsuit in this report.

Eugene Hollander

Eugene Hollander

The victim says that he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by McCormack when he was a fourth and fifth grader. The victim had repressed the memories. What brought them back, Hollander says, was the Jerry Sandusky scandal that broke in 2011. That stirred the victim’s memory, causing him to remember the incidents in his past, and he decided to come forward. Most of McCormack’s victims were at St. Agatha’s School. What makes this case unique, Hollander says, is that the incidents occurred at St. Ailbe Catholic Church, McCormack’s first pastoral assignment.

The sexual abuse has been devastating for the victim. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the abuse “has affected every facet of his life.” Hollander relates the victim took opioid drugs to help numb the pain. He had difficulty trusting in God, and he had difficulty trusting authority figures. He had difficulty at his jobs. “There was not part of his life that was left untouched.”

Hollander explains that McCormack’s approach to the boys he abused was to engage in grooming behaviors. He would befriend the boys on the playground, offering them candy and beverages. He would promise to take them to baseball games. “He was a rising star in the Archdiocese of Chicago.” When McCormack took special notice of a boy, the boy would “fall under his spell.” McCormack would use a ploy like asking the boy to try on basketball shorts, to see if the boy would comply. The sexual abuse would progress from that point.

Eugene K. Hollander is a principal in the Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander, Chicago, Illinois. He has served as a prosecutor with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, where he successfully prosecuted numerous individuals on the trial and appellate levels. Before opening his own office, Mr. Hollander associated himself with several aggressive litigation firms where he represented a Fortune 500 corporation in the defense of its labor claims, and successfully defended a class action contract claim at trial. He was recently selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer based on a statewide survey of practicing attorneys. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.