– Est. –
1927

Life after Wayfair: Congress Steps In

We’re not ashamed to admit we’re a bit nerdy when it comes to tax matters. We always love talking/reading/studying (… eating/sleeping/living) tax and tax-related things. But even we think it’s been more exciting than usual in the world of state tax this summer!

The Supreme Court handed down its opinion in South Dakota v. Wayfair on June 21, 2018. Immediately after that, there was a flurry of activity as each state tried to address implementation of the “new” regime that would allow them to tax out of state vendors of tangible personal property into their states. Our initial look at Washington’s and California’s responses is here. Since then, lawmakers in dozens of states have proposed or introduced versions of the South Dakota law that attempt to tax remote sellers.

Read More »

Life after Wayfair: The States Begin to Respond

We wrote our initial analysis of South Dakota v. Wayfair on June 21, 2018. Since the Supreme Court issued its Wayfair, we have heard from clients with sales into sales tax-imposing jurisdictions who are concerned about what this means for their businesses.

Many states already had tax systems that would require a seller with no physical presence in their state to collect sales tax, which was the core issue in Wayfair. Other states (for example, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Vermont) adopted systems that would only go into effect if Wayfair was decided in a way that eliminated the physical presence requirement that the earlier Quill Corp. case had endorsed. Not all states had taken proactive measures to implement sales tax economic nexus. Some states are adopting additional, parallel nexus tests in the wake of Wayfair.

Read More »

Hitting a Pothole at the Beginning of Oregon’s Vehicle Sales & Use Tax Jurisprudence

The Oregon Supreme Court, sitting en banc, issued its opinion today in AAA Oregon/Idaho Auto Source, LLC v. State of Oregon. This is the first opinion from that Court to address the new tax that the 2017 legislature implemented to pay for the Zero-Emission Incentive Program and the Connect Oregon Fund. At issue in this case was whether the funds collected under Oregon’s new vehicle tax is a tax subject to Article IX, Section 3a of the Oregon Constitution. It held that it was not subject to this provision. Therefore, the money collected under both the sales and use tax components of the new law does not have to be used for the State Highway Fund (or other uses that the Constitutional provision specifically lists).

Read More »

Oregon Shifts Heavy Equipment Personal Property Tax Burden to Contractors starting in 2019

Large and small heavy equipment rental providers throughout the state of Oregon recently scored a huge victory when Governor Brown signed HB 4139 into law earlier last month. The new law replaces Oregon’s existing personal property tax system for heavy equipment with a 2 percent tax on every heavy equipment rental transaction starting in 2019. While many states have either eliminated personal property tax or have exempted certain manufacturing and construction businesses from ad valorem property tax, Oregon was one of the few remaining that offered no relief or reform of any kind for heavy equipment rental providers. Critics often cited the compliance costs associated with the business personal property tax as complex and burdensome in a way that discouraged many companies from accurately reporting. The old system was a location-based tax, meaning that a company would be taxed on heavy machinery it owned based on where it was sitting on January 1 of that year. Heavy equipment rental businesses often rent their equipment out all over the state and beyond, so tracking location of constantly moving equipment for tax purposes proved difficult and also created the potential of requiring companies to pay additional tax in multiple counties or states on the same equipment where assessment dates varied.

Read More »
High IQ

Recipe for Alphabet Soup: Does High IQ, EQ & AQ Make For a Better Lawyer?

In late April I attended a Portland Women in Leadership symposium, “Women Blazing Trails, presented by The Pacific Northwest Diversity Council”. The five speakers and moderator were both educational and inspiring, and when listening to how intelligence, emotions and adaptability are an important combination for strong and successful leadership, it dawned on me that one should be looking for that same recipe when choosing a lawyer. Learning more about this alphabet soup of intelligence and ability puts a new focus on the characteristics you may want for your legal team.

Read More »
Productive & Positive Planning For Aging

Productive & Positive Planning for Aging: Check Your To Do List

A recent article broke down the often daunting and ignored tasks that make for good planning decisions when you or a loved one ages – – well in advance of when one’s ability to make such decisions may be taken away by changing physical or mental health – or the involvement of a court, in some cases. The article breaks it down into three categories.

As with many important decisions in our lives, knowledge is power, so arm yourselves accordingly. Naturally, the legal documents to effectuate your ultimate decisions are also a necessary part of the planning process, so make sure your estate planning attorney knows your plan, to make sure everything is in place to meet your legal needs.

Read More »

SYK Authors – Administering Trusts in Oregon

The 2018 edition of Administering Trusts in Oregon is set to be released this month, and many of the authors are familiar. Of the prestigious group of contributors for this new edition, Samuels Yoelin Kantor was well represented. Attorneys Eric Wieland, Walker Clark, Caitlin Wong, and Valerie Sasaki were all contributing authors, and both Stephen Kantor and Jeffrey Cheyne, prior to his passing, were editors for this edition.

The new version of Administering Trusts in Oregon is a guide for lawyers in the areas of estate planning, elder law, family law, and general practice. This is the first update since the last edition was released in 2012.

Read More »

Grounded: Delinquent Tax U.S. & International Travel

Delinquent tax debt can now potentially ground U.S. taxpayers from international travel

Starting this year, The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. State Department have teamed up in a manner that may affect the future travel plans of certain taxpayers that owe a large amount of money to the Treasury. In late 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) to address long-term funding for surface transportation infrastructure planning and investment. Embedded deep in the law is Section 32101, which requires the IRS under § 7345 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), to notify the State Department of taxpayers certified to have “seriously delinquent tax debt”. Upon certification from the IRS, the State Department is then required to deny a passport application for such individuals and also potentially revoke or limit passports already issued to said taxpayers.

Read More »
City Hall - Portland Pride - Gender Choice

Changing Your Name and Gender in Oregon

Oregon is on the move to become a more transgender and non-binary friendly state.

In 2016, an Oregon judge allowed Jamie Shupe, a person who identified as non-binary to change their identity to a neutral third gender. The judge’s decision to allow a non-binary gender is widely believed to be the first of its kind in the United States.

After this decision, Oregon gained momentum in creating a more streamlined process for those who wished to change their name and gender. Changing one’s name and gender used to be a complicated process which was different county to county and which could not always be accomplished alone.

However, starting in 2017, the State of Oregon Judicial Department began providing statewide forms for both adults and minors who want to change their name and/or gender. The petition allows the applicant to decide whether they want to identify as male, female, or non-binary. The forms provide instructions for filling out a petition, where to file the petition, and how much filing the petition costs.

Read More »

Letter to the Editor: BOLD Action for Alzheimer’s

SYK attorney, and commissioner on senior services, Victoria Blachly is an outspoken advocate for the Oregon Alzheimer’s Association, and the people whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s.

Today Victoria’s letter to the editor was published, with a call to action for Congress to protect those effected by Alzheimer’s.

“Today, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and more than 15 million serving as unpaid caregivers. Too often Alzheimer’s is treated as an aging issue, ignoring the public health consequences of a disease that someone in the United States develops every 66 seconds… Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America at an estimated cost of $259 billion annually. And with Medicare and Medicaid covering two-thirds of its annual costs, Alzheimer’s demands more attention from our government.”

Read More »
Investor Defenders

Investor Alert – NASAA and SEC Warn about Cryptocurrency Related Investments

On January 4th, the same day I posted about a recent FINRA Investor Alert regarding cryptocurrency, there was a new press release from the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) with further guidance on the same topic. NASAA’s analysis and warning amounts to this: Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”), and all other investment products related to cryptocurrency or the blockchain, pose a threat to investors.

“A NASAA survey of state and provincial securities regulators shows 94 percent believe there is a ‘high risk of fraud’ involving cryptocurrencies. Regulators also were unanimous in their view that more regulation is needed for cryptocurrency to provide greater investor protection.”

The same day, the SEC made a public statement from Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Kara M. Stein and Michael S. Piwowar, in wholehearted agreement with NASAA: “The NASAA release also reminds investors that when they are offered and sold securities they are entitled to the benefits of state and federal securities laws, and that sellers and other market participants must follow these laws. Unfortunately, it is clear that many promoters of ICOs and others participating in the cryptocurrency – related investment markets are not following these laws. The SEC and state securities regulators are pursuing violations, but we again caution you that, if you lose money, there is a substantial risk that our efforts will not result in a recovery of your investment.”

Read More »
Tax and Business

Tax Reform Now: Five Actions to Consider Before December 31, 2017

Congress officially passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 20th. Despite conflicting reports on when President Trump will sign the Act, he will sign it. Here are five last-minute actions you should consider for tax planning before the New Year to minimize your 2017 and 2018 tax liability. This article is the first in a series planned to address the numerous changes to tax law imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We strongly recommend you consult with your tax attorneys and tax advisors on the impact of the act on your 2017 taxes and to plan for future years.

Read More »

Australian Court Accepts Unsent Text Message as Dead Man’s Will

A court in Queensland, Australia accepted an unsent text message on a dead man’s phone as his valid will. In the text message the married man left everything he had to his brother and nephew before taking his own life. The court allowed the draft text message to act as a valid will because the wording in the text indicated that the man intended it to act as his will.

Formal will requirements in Queensland require that a valid will be in writing and signed by two witnesses, however the law was changed in 2006 to allow informal types of documents to be considered wills. Under the 2006 changes, the Supreme Court of Queensland may recognize a document as being a will if the court is satisfied that the decedent intended the document to be his will even if the document lacked will formalities.

Read More »
Investor Defenders

FINRA Expels New York Stockbroker Hank Mark Werner

On November 8, 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that a broker named Hank Mark Werner of upstate New York had been barred from the securities industry. The headline: “FINRA Hearing Panel Bars Broker for Defrauding Elderly, Blind Customer”.

The pattern of this behavior is outrageous but not all that unusual. It makes a good example of how financial professionals fail their clients.

According to the FINRA news release, Mr. Werner served as the licensed broker for an elderly couple since 1995. The husband died in 2012. Mr. Werner made some 700 trades on “behalf” of his client, a sightless 77-year old recently widowed woman in poor health between October 2012 and December 2015. He ultimately collected $210,000 in commissions. The panel’s decision includes an order of restitution to the widow, a fine, Mr. Werner’s banishment from the industry, and a further fine and censure for his employer – Legend Securities, brokerage firm expelled from the securities industry as of April, 2017.

Read More »

Pasieczny Elected to PIABA Board of Directors & Recognized for Outstanding Service

Congratulations to SYK litigator Darlene Pasieczny. Darlene was recently awarded an Outstanding Service Award from the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) for 2017, as co-chair of the PIABA Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Committee. As well as the award, Darlene was also elected to the PIABA Board of Directors, a position she will serve for a three year term.

Read More »

Play it Forward for Houston!

Play it Forward received a call for help from Kelly Wells, former Portlander and current Houston resident, when Kingwood High was flooded by Hurricane Harvey and their music program was completely destroyed. Join us as we answer the call to replace their instruments, raise money and… Play It Forward for Houston!

Read More »

Karaoke For A Cause 2017

SYK encourages you to come watch (…or sing with) some of their attorneys at Karaoke For A Cause. Proceeds benefit the MBF Civic Education Fund.

Read More »

Hands-Free Really Means Just That: Oregon Stiffens Ban on Distracted Driving

Oregon had allowed limited use of smart phones while driving, but beginning October 1, it is now illegal for drivers to use or hold an electronic mobile device. You are allowed a single touch or swipe to activate or deactivate a device or function, but do not talk on speaker mode while holding your phone, or you could be looking at a fine of $130 to $1,000 for your first offense, $220 to $2,500 for your second offense and a minimum of $2,000 and up to 6 months in jail for a third offense.

Read More »
Accessibility