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The Pivotal Law Blog

Are You 70 or Older? Don't Forget to Take Your RMDs!

Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Ron Bueing

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the minimum amounts that a retirement plan account owner must withdraw annually, generally beginning in the year that a person turns 70 ½ and for each year thereafter. Failure to make the RMD can result in…

Why 2012 is the Perfect Time to Gift

Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

With the holiday season just around the corner, gifting is surely on everyone’s minds. For those in a position to make large gifts, 2012 is the year to do it. This is because the $5.12 million estate and gift tax exclusion amount may be reduced down to…

Does Washington Owe You an Estate Tax Refund?

Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 by Ron Bueing

In a reversal of lower court decisions, the Washington Supreme Court held that assets held in a qualified terminal interest property (QTIP) trust established prior to May 17, 2005 are not includable in the measure of the Washington Estate Tax, In re…

Sales Taxation of Photographers: The Business Side

Posted Monday, October 22, 2012 by Ron Bueing

As a follow on to my earlier blog post, I wanted to address the sale of photography services from a business as opposed to a consumer perspective. As noted in my earlier blog, sales of photography services, including creative fees, sitting fees and…

Is It Legal for Employers to Request Facebook Passwords from Job Applicants?

Posted Thursday, October 18, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

In the current digital age, many employers are asking job applicants to turn over their Facebook user IDs and passwords as part of the interviewing process. However, this increasing trend has sparked concerns of invasion of privacy, as Facebook pages…

Thinking of Cutting Down a Tree in Seattle? Think Twice!

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012 by Christopher L. Thayer

Many Seattle residents are not aware that the city has extensive regulations in place which relate to the cutting down of trees, even those located on private property within the City limits. There are two major sections in the Seattle Municipal Code…

"What Does the Washington Supreme Court's Ruling on Nonjudicial Foreclosures Mean for Me?"

Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 by Christopher L. Thayer

The Washington Supreme Court recently issued a ruling relating to the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (commonly referred to as “MERS”). MERS was established in the 1990s by a group of various public and private entities in the home loan…

What You Need to Know: Sales Taxation of Photography Services

Posted Thursday, August 16, 2012 by Ron Bueing

During a recent conversation, I was reminded of an area that routinely causes problems for small businesses in Washington - sales taxation of photography services. Especially in this area it is important for businesses to remember the old sales tax…

New Case Regarding Award of Attorneys' Fees in a Collection Action

Posted Monday, August 6, 2012 by Christopher L. Thayer

In Atlas Supply, Inc. v. Realm, Inc., Division One of the WA Court of Appeals answered the question: if a contract provides for an award of the “cost of collection, including reasonable attorney fee” does this include fees and costs incurred…

California Apportionment Decision May Require Taxpayer Action

Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 by Ron Bueing

On July 24, 2012, a decision was rendered by the California Court of Appeal in a case involving a group of companies, including Gillette. The case provides that taxpayers may use the apportionment formula provided for in the Multistate Tax Compact (MTC)…

The Importance of Digital Estate Planning

Posted Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

Digital information plays an important role in today’s world. We are inextricably tied to the internet and the online world- We socialize using online social media, we search for jobs using the internet, and we even control our finances using internet…

Seattle Mandates Paid Sick Leave For Workers

Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

Seattle is set to become the third major city in the country, after San Francisco and Washington, D.C. to mandate paid leave for employees to care for themselves or family members when ill, or fall victim to domestic violence. The paid leave legislation…

State Tax Amnesty Programs

Posted Friday, May 11, 2012 by Ron Bueing

A recent note from a colleague reminded me of the dangers taxpayers face when entering into state tax amnesty programs. In many cases, these programs are excellent and provide taxpayers with an opportunity to settle past liabilities at a reasonable cost…

Proposed Washington ETA on Common Paymasters

Posted Sunday, May 6, 2012 by Ron Bueing

For a number of months the Washington Department of Revenue has been working on guidance for governing the taxation of reimbursement of employee salaries under a common paymaster or common pay agent arrangement. The most recent draft version of an…

Washington Supreme Court “Clarifies” Rules for Collecting Washington B&O Tax

Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012 by Ron Bueing

In a decision last week, Peck v. AT&T Mobility, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that a seller is prohibited from recouping its B&O taxes by collecting a surcharge in addition to its monthly service fee. The case involved cell phone services…

Important Changes to the Washington State Consumer Loan Act

Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

Recent amendments to the Washington State Consumer Loan Act (“CLA”) may have a big impact on lenders whose commercial loans are secured by a lien on the borrower’s primary residence. Under the newly amended CLA, a person in the business of making a loan…

City of Seattle Wins Case to Tax Imports

Posted Friday, April 6, 2012 by Ron Bueing

On April 2, 2012, Division I of the Court of Appeals in Washington found against American Honda Motor Company (Honda) that the Seattle B&O tax was properly applied to imports delivered to Seattle customers. Despite having a rule that appeared to…

Changes to the Washington Limited Liability Act Clarifies the Chadwick Farms Holding

Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

Recent changes to the Washington Limited Liability Act (“Act”) addressed the confusion introduced by the 2009 Supreme Court Ruling in Chadwick Farms Owners Ass’n v. FHC LLC, 166 Wash.2d 178, 207 P.3d 1251 (2009). In Chadwick Farms, the court held that…

Company Structures for Small Businesses in Washington State

Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by Pivotal Law Group

Partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability company, and corporation are the four most common forms of business entity people use when starting a small business in Washington State. Although there are more structures to choose from, these four…

Washington Deadline to True up Service Apportionment is October 31

Posted Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Ron Bueing

A late reminder to anyone involved in the service business in the state of Washington. With the passage of the market-based service apportionment rules in 2010, Washington formalized its procedures for businesses required to apportion their revenues…

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