Florida’s Red Light Cameras the Subject of $5 Million Class Action. Exclusive Interview with Steven Kramer


Steven Kramer

Steven Kramer

Kramer explains that the court has declared invalid the action of a city to trade away its authority to issue traffic citations in exchange for payments from ATS. That ruling is what led to the class action.

Kramer points out that the traffic camera company and the cities had set up a system offering motorists three options. At the outset, a vehicle owner receiving a citation could simply pay the fee and receive no points on his or her license, as with a parking ticket. Option two would be for the owner to claim not to been driving at the time, the owner can submit an affidavit and return the ticket. The third option would be to demand a court hearing. The catch is that, if you dispute the ticket and lose, you get points on your license as with any other moving violation.

“There are,” Kramer opines, “some serious constitutional issues that are being raised here.” Traditionally, there is a presumption that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof is on the state. In Florida, the burden was put on the owners of motor vehicles to show that they did not violate the law.

Kramer believes that states and cities that want to use red light cameras should change their practices so that motorists are clearly notified that the camera is operating 24 hours a day. Also, the yellow lights at intersections should not be shortened, as many have been, since that decreased reaction time can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Also, the burden of proof needs to be placed on the city or the state rather than the owners of motor vehicles. Florida also needs to revise its “right on red” law provisions.

Steven D. Kramer is the founder of Kramer Law Firm. Kramer has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (Woodward/White, 18th-21st Editions). Kramer was also recently recognized in Florida's Best Lawyers 2013 and 2014 Editions (featured in the Wall Street Journal and Orlando Sentinel). Kramer has also been recognized as a Top Lawyer in Orlando by Orlando Magazine for 2012, 2013, and 2014, as a Legal Elite Up & Comer by Florida Trend Magazine in 2010 and 2013, a Top Lawyer by Orlando Style Magazine, and Kramer has been rated 10 out of 10 as "superb" by Avvo.com since 2009. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Lionel Messi’s Tax Problems Continue: Criminal Penalties Possible


Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi is back in the tax news. His tax woes were the subject of an earlier LBN report. Most recently, Messi lost an appeal to a Spanish court. Tax attorney Rob Wood discusses the Messi case and how it might play out. The case is also the subject of his Forbes article “Lionel Messi Loses Appeal, Criminal Tax Case Heads Toward Trial.”

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

Messi earns $50 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. The case involves both Messi and his father. Messi has said that the moving of income through shell companies was something he knew nothing about. Wood opines that the no-knowledge defense might hold up for Messi.

This case comes at an interesting time for several European companies and for the U.S. which has been battling with taxpayers with offshore income accounts. As Wood points out, anyone who signs a tax return “is signing under penalties of perjury,” and taxpayers are held to know what was going on whether they did or not.

Wood suggests that people like Messi deserve our understanding. Because of their positions in life, they are heavily dependent on teams of advisors to do the right thing and keep their clients out of trouble.

Wood explains that, notwithstanding bad advice, a taxpayer will be liable for unpaid taxes and interest. The bad advice defense comes in as to the question of penalties, mostly civil ones. The penalty is typically 25% and may be as much as 75%. And the tax case may involve criminal penalties, as was the case with Wesley Snipes.

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.

Ireland Will End the "Double Irish" But Add the "Patent Box" to Its Corporate Tax Provisions


Ireland has recently announced some changes to its tax structure that would eliminate the “double Irish” tax deals that have attracted companies such as Apple and that were the subject of an earlier LBN report. Tax attorney Rob Wood discusses the changes and the effects they will have on companies that were attracted to Ireland’s corporate tax structure. The changes are also the subject of Wood’s Forbes article “Ireland Corks Double Irish Tax Deal, Closing Time For Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook.”

Rob Wood

Rob Wood

Wood notes that there have been attacks from the U.S. and the EU on Ireland’s system of letting companies funnel money through Ireland and becoming a new tax haven. Companies have been able to use the Irish system and reduce their tax rates to well below the official Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5%.

Wood points out that there is no retroactive aspect to Ireland’s move. For new companies coming in, the cut-off date on taking advantage of the present system is January 1, 2015. As to existing structures, they will not work after December 31, 2020. It’s business as usual until that latter cut-off date. This will allow companies to phase out their tax structures to minimize the financial loss.

Wood explains that Ireland is adding a new “patent box” plan in Ireland to allow certain specific kinds of companies to be taxed at a lower rate by using the patent box to keep their intellectual property based in Ireland.

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.