Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Employment Rights and Military Service

Employment Rights and Military Service

A returning Guard member or Reservist who wants his or her old job back must reapply for the job. If the absence has been for less than 31 days, the employee must report for work at the beginning of the next regular work period on the first full day following release from duty, with time for travel home, and an eight-hour rest period. If the absence has been for more than 31, but less than 181 days, the returning employee must submit an application for re-employment within 14 days of being released from service. If the absence due to military service has been longer than 180 days, re-application must be made within 90 days of the service member’s release from duty.

The maximum absence that will allow a service member to retain re-employment rights is five years.

Your Right to ReEmployment

America’s military is relying more and more on reservists and other part-time service members — those with civilian jobs as well — to accomplish its many missions. While these troops are proud to serve wherever they are called, there is no doubt that a lengthy tour of active duty, away from one’s regular employment, can be a burden on the service member, his or her family, and the employer. There are a number of legal protections for Reservists and Guard members called to active duty, to help ease that burden. Employers also need to understand their responsibilities when soldiers return to work in the civilian world, both for the sake of the service members and to avoid costly legal disputes.

Re-Employment Rights: Returning Soldiers to Work

A major concern of those called to active military duty is getting their old jobs back once they return to civilian life, so employers should plan accordingly. An employee who is called to military duty is considered to be on an unpaid leave of absence. Federal law (the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act, or USERRA) provides that service members have the right to be re-employed in the job he or she would have if not for the active duty call-up (more on this important federal law below). When returning soldiers to work, employers must provide them with the same salary and other benefits that come with seniority, although there are some limitations on this right to re-employment.

Medical Insurance

An employee who is absent for 30 days or less can continue his or her medical coverage, at the same cost, during the time of service. Service of more than 30 days will give the service member and his or her dependents coverage under the military health care plan.

An absence for military service is not to be considered by employers as a break in employment. A service member who returns to his or her former employer is entitled to re-enroll in the employer’s medical or health insurance plan. No waiting period or period of exclusion may be imposed. A health plan sponsored by an employer is not, however, required to provide coverage for injuries or illnesses caused or aggravated by military service (those injuries are generally covered by military health coverage).

The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994

USERRA, a federal law, is intended to minimize the disadvantages to an individual that occur when a service member needs to be absent from his or her civilian employment to serve in this country’s uniformed services. USERRA makes major improvements in protecting service members’ rights and benefits by clarifying the law and improving enforcement mechanisms. Specifically, USERRA expands the cumulative length of time that an individual may be absent from work for uniformed services duty and retain re-employment rights.

Who is Covered?

USERRA potentially covers every individual in the country who serves in or has served in the uniformed services, and applies to all employers in the public and private sectors, including federal employers. The law seeks to ensure that those who serve their country can retain their civilian employment and benefit, and can seek employment free from discrimination because of their service. USERRA provides enhanced protection for disabled veterans, requiring that employers make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability. To learn more about your obligations as an employer under USERRA, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s interactive “USERRA Advisor.”

Free Initial Consultation with a Utah Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

International Travel for Children After Divorce

International Travel for Children After Divorce

What used to be a rare occurrence is now quite common: children frequently travel to international and exotic locales. But what if you are divorced and your ex-spouse who wants to take your child beyond U.S. borders?

While such trips may not present a risk to many divorced couples, other individuals may worry that once a child is on foreign soil with a former spouse, all bets will be off in terms of support agreements or other court-ordered arrangements. Worse, some fear that the other parent will abduct the child.

To prevent that sort of nightmare from occurring, parents should take precautions before their child leaves home, or when they themselves are travelling alone with their children:

  • Know the law. First off, parents should consult an experienced attorney to ensure that they are clear on any applicable laws in the country where the child is travelling and how that might affect arrangements already in force.
  • Require a bond. Some divorced parents also require the other party to secure a surety bond and post it to the court before leaving the country. This bond, typically in the amount to pay for pursuing international legal action, is intended to guarantee that the travelling parent will adhere to custody agreements while abroad.
  • Set up an alert. Parents can also contact the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Issuance Alert Program to ensure that the other parent meets the requirements for parental consent before obtaining a passport.

Along with these steps, parents should ensure that they have a clear plan for communicating with their child — perhaps through Skype or other device — to allay their fears and ensure that the trip is going as planned.

Qualities You Should See In Your Divorce Lawyer

Once you have decided to end your marriage, you should begin the search for a divorce attorney who can help you through all the legal steps associated with the process. But how can you choose a divorce lawyer who is right for you?

Below are some qualities you should prioritize in any attorney you choose to consult:

  • Experience: You’ll want to work with an attorney who has a wealth of experience in divorce cases, along with a track record for success in getting positive results for clients in the past.
  • Compassion: The divorce process is never easy for the people going through it. It is important that your attorney is empathetic and compassionate so he or she can help you navigate what is likely to be one of the more difficult periods of your life.
  • Track record in mediation: You want to avoid having to go to court, if at all possible, that so you can maintain control over the results of your case. To that end, seek an attorney who has a strong track record in mediation and is trained in collaborative divorce practices.
  • Communication: Any lawyers you work with should make themselves available to speak with you on a regular basis. When issues arise in your case, it should not be difficult to get in touch with your attorney. Your legal counsel should make you feel that your case truly matters.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Monday, 19 November 2018

LLC Tax Filings

LLC Tax Filings

A limited liability company (LLC) is a pass-through tax entity. This means that profits pass through the company to individual members. The individual members, rather than the company, must report the members’ share of the profits on their individual tax returns.

Filing Federal Income Taxes as a Single Member LLC

When an LLC has a one member, the IRS automatically classifies it as a sole proprietorship for tax filing purposes. The member of the LLC must file a 1040 income tax return and report profits and losses on a Schedule C (“Profit or Loss From a Business”).

Filing Federal Income Taxes as a Multi-Member LLC

The IRS automatically treats an LLC with more than one member as a partnership, unless the LLC opts for tax treatment as a corporation. Like a business partnership, the LLC must file Form 1065 (U.S. Partnership Return of Income), which includes a Schedule K-1. The LLC must report the profits and losses that pass through to each member on individual Schedule K-1 forms. Each member must report this information on a 1040 tax return and attach a Schedule E.

The IRS requires LLC members to pay taxes on their distributive share of the profits. In general, a distributive share is equal to the percentage of each member’s interest, but the LLC can distribute profits disproportionately. This is referred to as “special allocation.” Regardless of whether the LLC actually distributes any of a member’s distributive share, each member must still pay taxes on their entire distributive share.

Paying Estimated Taxes on Your BUsiness

Taxpayers employed by an employer pay taxes through withholdings from a paycheck. Because profit distributions made to members in an LLC do not include tax withholdings, LLC members must pay estimated taxes on a quarterly basis to the IRS and to state governments (if applicable), similarly to self-employed taxpayers.

Paying Self-Employment Taxes vs. LLC taxes

The IRS requires LLC members to pay federal self-employment taxes on the profits received. Members must pay self-employment taxes if the member is “active in the business.” As a guideline, this means that the member participates in the trade or business for more than 500 hours in the tax year or the member works in an LLC that is a professional service business in the field of health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial, or consulting. The IRS may not require non-active LLC members to pay self-employment taxes.

Members must report self-employment taxes on a Schedule SE. LLC members are responsible for paying the entire 15.3 percent (12.4 percent for Social Security and 2.9 percent for Medicare). Members can deduct half of the self-employment tax from their adjusted gross income.

Electing Corporate Tax Treatment for an LLC

A limited liability company can choose corporate tax treatment. Because LLC members must pay taxes on all profits, this option may be beneficial if the LLC chooses to keep a significant amount of profits will in the business to contribute to the LLC’s growth. It may also save individual members on taxes: corporate tax rates range from 15% percent to 34 percent on net taxable income under $100,000 and 39 percent on net taxable income between $100,001 and $335,000. Individual tax rates range from 10 percent to 35 percent, but on average, individual taxpayers pay from 27.5 percent to 35 percent. An LLC may elect corporate tax treatment by filing Form 8832 with the IRS and the LLC must file Form 1120 each year the election applies.

Filing LLC State Income Taxes

LLC members must also file state income tax returns. Like the federal government, most states allow LLC members to pay taxes on profits through personal tax returns. A few states also require members to pay an additional tax on the income made by the LLC. For instance, a member may have to pay a tax on LLC income that exceeds a certain amount. Other states may require the LLC to pay an annual fee, sometimes called a “franchise tax” or a “renewal fee.”

Free Consultation with a Business Attorney

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free business law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Dividing a Family Business in Divorce

Dividing a Family Business in Divorce

When a family business is part of the marital estate, the already complex asset-division process becomes even more complicated. This is especially true when the spouses launched the business together. Continuing to jointly operate a business isn’t feasible for most ex-spouses, so it’s generally necessary to divide the business or its value in a fair manner.

There are several options for dividing business assets during divorce:

  • The most straightforward option is to simply liquidate the business and divide the proceeds between the spouses. This approach may not be prudent, however, if the business is thriving. It also may have adverse tax consequences. 
  • An alternative that keeps the business intact is to allocate the entire business to one spouse and compensate the other spouse with a greater share of other marital assets. In effect, one spouse buys the other out. This, however, raises complex business valuation issues. It also can be impractical if the business represents the bulk of the marital assets.
  • Another option is to transfer management of the business to a third party but reserve income interests for each spouse. This is not an option, however, when the spouses want to remain actively involved in the management of the company.

  • Business and Divorce Disputes

    When a couple decides to break up, there are a number of things needing settling between them. Unfortunately, all too often the parties are bogged down in major battles over minor issues. Sometimes anger and bitterness can get the best of one or both of them.

    A skilled divorce lawyer can help negotiate through the areas of dissension. Your lawyer has been through the difficult phase that often arises and knows how to argue for fairness in your breakup.

    The areas where disputes arise include the following:

    • Spousal support. The amount of maintenance or alimony, and who pays it to which party.
    • Child support. How much support is owed for any children and who pays what amount.
    • Visitation. Holidays and vacations as well as regular visits need resolving.
    • Child custody. Custody can be joint, shared, or sole.
    • Division of property and debts. Marital and non-marital assets must be determined and apportioned, and so must outstanding debts.

    When children are involved, the best interests of the child are paramount in a divorce. The parties must learn to keep their squabbles to themselves and not use their children as a bargaining chip. Support and visitation are completely separate issues that do not depend on each other. After your divorce, when circumstances change, you can seek a modification to the terms of the order. This applies for issues such as increased visitation, change in custody, and change in support.

    Social Media and Divorce

    With 500 million Facebook visitors each month, social media networking is now a way of life. But another noteworthy statistic is the growing number of divorce cases that stem from incriminating posts on networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

    According to a survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 81 percent of divorce attorneys saw an increase in the number of divorce cases using social networking evidence in the past five years. Two-thirds of these lawyers cited Facebook as the primary online evidence source.

    Social networking sites and texting are fertile territory for striking up romances without raising red flags the way phone calls can. Other factors that make social networking a rich source of evidence include the following:

    • People can spontaneously tweet or post thoughts
    • It is easier to share personal feelings electronically than face-to-face
    • Forensic computer specialists can retrieve deleted electronic information
    • Third-parties can post incriminating photos and stories about your activities

    Photos of a spouse drinking beer at a party or posts boasting of lavish purchases and vacations can negatively impact divorce, especially child custody, child support, or property division battles.

    In divorce cases, there is considerable debate over the line between the right of discovery and the invasion of privacy, both of which are protected by federal and state laws. If you have questions about the use of social media networking evidence, you should consult a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can protect your best interests.

Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer who can Divide the Family Business

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Employee Benefits for Bigger Businesses

Employee Benefits for Bigger Businesses

Probably the top two things that a prospective employee takes into consideration when applying for and accepting a job are wages and benefits. Wages refer to the hourly rate or salary that an employee will receive. Benefits refers to anything an employee receives other than cash wages. There are certain benefits that are required by federal and state laws, but some benefits are optional at the discretion of the business owner.

An employer can use these optional benefits to encourage people to apply for and accept jobs at his or her business, in addition to keeping employees happy and productive. This article covers the basics of both required and optional employee benefits.

Required Employee Benefits

There are certain employee benefits that employers are required to provide by federal law: Social Security and workers’ compensation. However, states and some local jurisdictions usually have their own required benefits as well, so it’s important to check with your state’s laws to make sure that you are providing all required benefits to your employees. Please note that required benefits must only be provided to employees, not independent contractors.

There are also certain benefits that are required of employers that fit particular criteria. For example, private businesses with at least 50 employees must comply with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This Act entitles employees to have up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave during a 12-month period for certain purposes. The FMLA applies to leave related to the birth or adoption of a child, the care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition, or the employee’s own serious health condition. States may also have similar laws, sometimes expanding coverage to smaller employers, but employers are required to adhere to the law that is most beneficial to the employee.

Certain employers are also required to provide health insurance for their employees. Health insurance used to be an optional benefit, but with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also referred to as “Obamacare” — employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer health insurance or pay a penalty. Employer-sponsored health coverage for employees is still optional and not required for businesses with less than 50 employees.

Optional Employee Benefits

There are other, non-mandatory benefits that the employer may choose to provide to his or her employees. As previously stated above, if the ACA doesn’t apply to your company, health insurance is an optional benefit. Other examples include life insurance, retirement plans, corporate memberships, workplace wellnes programs, and paid time off.

As with virtually all business decisions, there are pros and cons for offering employee benefits. For example, health insurance is not only an attractive benefit to prospective employees, it can also help retain good employees and decrease absenteeism. In addition, employees will often accept a lower salary if good employee benefits are available to them. However, offering employee benefits can also lead to concerns regarding legal compliance and mistakes in benefit plans can lead to expensive lawsuits.

In the end, it’s important to determine which benefits make sense for your business. Only you, the business owner, can know and compare the cost to your business versus the benefits your business will receive by offering such benefits to your employees.

Free Consultation with a Business Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a employment law or business legal matter you need help with. If you need business legal help call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Divorce in the Digital World

Divorce in the Digital World

For many people, divorce means the end of a relationship and limited future contact with a former spouse. However, for partners with children, a romantic relationship can end but parenting is forever. In recent years, technology has eased some of the anxiety and annoyance for former spouses and future co-parents.

Working with clients throughout Long Island and Utah, I often see the strain on couples trying to make parenting arrangements when they otherwise have difficulty maintaining a civil conversation.

With almost 20 years of experience with high conflict divorce, we also see technology has become a real bonus to people struggling to do right for their children without being caught in unpleasant face-to-face discussions or phone calls.

Consider these points:

  • Email: Just as electronic mail streamlined everyday communication, the ubiquitous and free nature of email now supports most divorced couples dealing with children. Conversations formerly fraught with tension are reduced to exchange of details and attention to practical matters.  Also used between parent and child, email provides a private setting to make plans, air complaints or promote conversation between family members.
  • Texts: Similar to email in reducing emotionally loaded conversations, texting offers a means to deliver immediate updates and information without the necessity of phone calls. Texts are also another great way to provide quick, instant support for your child.
  • Calendaring: Online calendar apps allow parents to share calendars with minimal interaction. More information and less interaction often make for a better coordinated and happier custodial environment.

Software to assist high conflict couples deal with visitation, expenses and other issues continues to evolve and allows parents to enjoy greater distance from each other ¾ without forcing that distance on their children.

Concerns of Later Life Divorce

Divorce at any age is stressful, destabilizing and often economically difficult. But a divorce that comes after many years of marriage, at a time when most couples are thinking of retiring, is especially difficult emotionally and financially.

In March of this year, a study from the National Center for Family Life and Marriage Research reported the divorce rate of couples over age 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010. Looking for real love — or simply tired of disconnected relationships — many baby boomers no longer fear living single.

If you are an older American thinking about divorce, you need to consider the unique issues you face and position yourself accordingly during divorce negotiations. These points should be considered:

  • Give the divorce process its due. If you’ve been married for decades, take some time to consider finances and other issues carefully, even though you or your spouse may be aching to be free. Strategically, you can negotiate more easily with a nonhostile spouse. Try to keep things friendly and fair but make sure you have top-notch legal counsel who understands your economic condition.
  • Think about assets. Consider whether either of you really needs to keep the house. What about Social Security benefits and other insurance and retirement accounts? With fewer years to rebuild your retirement nest egg, you need to make protecting and maintaining wealth for retirement an important issue in a later life divorce.
  • Understand your debt and your budget. Make clear agreements and arrangements to retire debt so that your quality of life doesn’t suffer if you divorce later in life.

Free Consultation with Divorce Attorney

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Environmental Laws

Environmental Law

Laws protecting our shared waterways, air, trees and other natural resources are meant to ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come. While environmental laws may seem burdensome to small business owners, just remember that your competitors also must abide by them. This section broadly covers environmental laws pertaining to businesses, with articles on indoor and outdoor air pollution, identifying and disposing of hazardous waste, overviews of federal environmental protection laws, and more.

Overview: Key Federal Environmental Laws

There are an array of federal laws relating to the protection of the environment and the health and safety of U.S. residents. In addition to the following major federal regulations dealing with the environment there are additional laws at the federal, state, and local levels that also regulate business’s environmental impacts. However, the preeminent federal laws are:

    • The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) – addresses the handling of uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants or contaminants into the environment.
    • The Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) – provides assistance to local communities in protecting the public health, safety, and environment from chemical hazards.
    • The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) – addresses issues relating to the quality and safety of drinking water.
    • The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) – reauthorized CERCLA to continue efforts to clean-up hazardous waste abandonments, spills, and releases.
    • The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – allows for the testing, regulation, and screening of all chemicals produced or imported into the U.S. before they reach the consumer market place.
    • The Endangered Species Act – is intended to protect and assist in the repopulation of threatened or endangered plants, animals, and animal habitats.
    • The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) – regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides for the protection of human life and health as well as the life and health of threatened and endangered species.
    • The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – ensures that the government researches and properly considers the environmental impact of federal actions such as large construction projects.
    • The Clean Air Act – sets goals for clean air and contains detailed provisions for regulating emissions from various different sources.
    • The Clean Water Act – makes it unlawful for any person or business to discharge any pollutant from a source point into navigable waters of the United States without a special permit from the EPA.
  • The Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) – requires employers to provide their workers with a safe workplace.
  • The Pollution Prevention Act – seeks to reduce the amount of pollution in the environment by making changes in the production, operation, and use of raw materials.
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) – authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Many of the environmental regulations involve the creation, handling, and disposal of hazardous waste. Waste is generally considered hazardous if it is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or contains a certain amount of toxic chemicals. The EPA maintains a list of some 500 specific hazardous wastes. Hazardous waste may be disposed of on-site or elsewhere on an off-site disposal facility. In either case recordkeeping must be scrupulous so that future tenants on lands are aware of contamination and disposal.

Free Consultation with a Utah Environmental Law Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue regarding environmental laws you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

from Michael Anderson https://www.ascentlawfirm.com/environmental-laws/