Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

President’s Executive Action Will Lead to Additional Benefits For Undocumented Immigrants

On November 20, 2014, the President announced a series of executive actions that will lead to deferred action status, work authorization and other additional benefits to those who were not previously eligible for any benefits. These initiatives include:

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Another Round of ICE with Your I-9? Make Sure Your US Employees are “Eligible” Employees

As you are probably aware by now, the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) requires employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals hired in the United States after November 6, 1986. Employers are required by law to maintain for inspection original Forms I-9 for all current employees. The I-9 documentation requirement even applies to former employees, who must maintain Forms I-9 are required for a period of at least three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.

Monetary and criminal penalties abound for failure to comply with the I-9 requirements. Employers determined to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers will be required to cease the unlawful activity, may be fined, and in certain situations may be criminally prosecuted. Monetary penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ violations range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties at the higher end. Penalties for substantive I-9 violations, which includes failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation. In determining penalty amounts, ICE considers five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations.

For the full story, please click here for Alan J. Pollack’s Immigration Alert.

Jesse Nash to Present at “International Expansion: Getting the Thinking Right” Seminar

So you’re thinking about expanding internationally; now what? Please join Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., PNC Bank, and The Alternative Board for a complimentary seminar on how to expand your business into international markets. The seminar is designed for business owners, professionals, and others responsible for managing business operations, and will offer practical information on how you can be successful in the global marketplace.  Discussion topics will include:

  • Issues to consider when expanding internationally
  • Potential roadblocks and problem resolution
  • Evaluating and navigating the business and regulatory environments in international markets
  • Legal strategies to avoid pitfalls when entering new markets
  • Financing strategies to facilitate international expansion

Featured Speaker:

David Drew, Objectivity Consulting

Presenters:

Jesse P. Nash, Esq., Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A.

Nicholas Martin, Vice President, Commercial Banking, PNC Bank

The program will conclude with a problem solving session led by Cathy Lawler and Vicky Richards, owners of The Alternative Board, where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a sample peer advisory round table and brainstorm ideas to address specific international expansion issues.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Tax Alert – Changes to U.S. Tax Treatment of Canadian Retirement Plans

U.S. Taxpayers and Canadian Taxpayers with Registered Retirement Savings Plans or Registered Retirement Income Funds find Relief with IRS Simplified Filing Program – Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C. Discuss the Simplified IRS Form 8891 Filing Procedures:

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Christmas is Coming, Where is the United States Economic Recovery?

James Glassman, Managing Director and Senior Economist of JP Morgan Chase & Co., delivered remarks about the state of the economic recovery and how the changing economy will affect the U.S. business community at Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C.’s Second Annual Economic & Industry Outlook Forum.

So where exactly is the United States economic recovery?

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Robert G. Gabrielski and Melissa A. Peña to Participate in Meritas US/Canada Regional Meeting

Robert G. Gabrielski and Melissa A. Peña, Members of the Bridgewater-based law firm, Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., will participate in the Meritas 2014 US/Canada Regional Meeting at the Westin Grand Central Hotel in New York City. Other members of the firm will also attend.

Gabrielski, a Member of the firm’s Management Committee and Chair of the Business Law Group and its International Business and Tax Planning Group, will participate in a panel discussion titled “Leveraging Your Meritas Connections,” on November 7 at 2:15 pm. Other participants include Ken Kallish of Minden Gross LLP in Toronto and Jeffrey Boxer of Carter Ledyard Milburn in New York.  Fred Seller of BrazeauSeller LLP in Ottawa will serve as moderator.

Peña, who concentrates her practice in bankruptcy, commercial litigation and mortgage foreclosures, will lead the member introductions and a networking activity, designed as a fun way for attendees to get to know one another, following the welcoming remarks.

Norris McLaughlin has been a member of Meritas since 1999.  Meritas is the only law firm alliance with an established and comprehensive means of monitoring and enhancing the quality of its member firms—a process that saves clients time in validating law firm credentials and experience. Meritas membership is selective and by invitation only. Firms are regularly assessed and recertified for the breadth of their practice expertise and client satisfaction. The organization’s extensive due diligence process ensures that only firms meeting the tenets of Meritas’ Quality Assurance Program are allowed to maintain membership. Firm performance and quality feedback are reflected in a Satisfaction Index score, which is made available online.

The Fed Ends Its QE-3 Program While The Japan Central Bank Expands Its Program

This past Wednesday, the Fed announced the cessation of its bond buying program under QE-3.  Today, the Japan Central Bank, in a divided 5 – 4 vote, went the other way, announcing the expansion of its similar bond buying program to purchase long term debt.  While the Fed feels confident that the US economy is in a healthy and continued growth place, the Japanese Central Bank feels the need to expand its stimulus program to stave off a lagging economy.  Combined with increased government spending and structural economic reform, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to provide a boost to Japan’s economy.  All of that is in contrast to the Fed and other central banks, which have been tapering their monetary policy intervention as their economies are recovering.  Will Abe’s tactics halt the long-term deflation in Japan, one of the world’s largest economies?  Perhaps one indication of confidence in the Central Bank’s action in conjunction of Abe’s plan is the pop of about 5% in the Nikkei following the announcement and a total of 7% over the last three days. Stay tuned.

The Fed Ends QE-3 – The End of Stimulus?

Coming out of its Central Bank Committee meeting Wednesday, the Fed announced that it will end its QE-3 bond buying program. The QE program, in iterations of QE, QE-2 and the current QE-3 program, has been in effect since the early days of the recession in November 2008. At that time, who could have predicted that the Fed’s primary tool to get the economy back on track would continue for six years? Even though the Fed announced the cessation of its bond buying program, it also stated that it would keep interest rates low for a “considerable time.” The “considerable time” language has been the Fed’s key signal to the markets regarding its forward-looking strategy, and that guidance appeared as expected. So, notwithstanding that the Fed announced the end of QE-3, the stock markets remained relatively flat (Dow down 31 and NASDAQ down 15) given that they had priced the end of QE-3 into their analysis along with their bet on continued low interest rates, at least through Q-1, 2015.

With the announcement today of Q-3 GDP moving along at a 3.5% rate (analysts had predicted only 3% growth), oil prices falling and the labor market improving, albeit only in certain sectors, the back room concern about inflation may be coming out to the party. Inflation is a serious concern for the Fed, not wanting the economy to snap back too quickly with low interest rates. So, look for interest rate increases no later than Q-2, 2015.

Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures

On October 9 and October 10, the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance and questions and answers for taxpayers regarding the Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures announced this summer. For a detailed explanation and link to this guidance please click here.

Taxpayers previously considering the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program should also consider whether they may be eligible for this Streamlined Program. The main question to ask is whether a taxpayer has acted willfully with repect to their non-filing of tax returns and fbars. “Willful” is defined as an intentional violation of a known legal duty. A taxpayer who has not acted willfully can potentially pay a penalty of 5% of the year end balance for the last six years of their offshore accounts as opposed to 27.5% in the offshore voluntary disclosure program. As such, careful analysis in conjunction with an educated professional is necessary in all situations.

 

 

GERMANY CUTS ECONOMIC FORECASTS – The Ukraine Effect? German Recession Coming?

Germany has been the primary growth engine in the EU over the last few years, while the economies of Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, and so on have continued to languish.  Now, the just released economic forecast by the German government downgraded its earlier projections of 1.8% growth for 2014 to 1.2% – projections for 2015 hover around 1.3%.

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