News

Tax Law Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA Tax Law Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 Tennessee Bar Association Convention. The TBA Tax Law Section meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date/Time:

Friday, June 16, 2017
4 – 5 p.m. Eastern

Location:

MeadowView Marriott
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 578-6600

Room Location – Holston-Watauga Room

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 4424167#

Items for discussion include:

1.     Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
2.     What items would you like to see in your inbox?  Getting the most out of your Section Connects.
3.     Pro Bono Opportunities
4.     Networking and Mentoring within the Section
5.     Best way to comment on Legislation

There is still time if you would like to register for TBA Convention. You may register by calling the TBA at (615) 383-7421 or register online at 2017 TBA Convention.

You do not have to be registered for Convention to attend this Section meeting. We hope to see you there!

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at http://www.tba.org/submit-an-article, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.

If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at http://www.cletn.com/.

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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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CLE Outlines How to Change Your Practice to Meet Market Demands

The fourth and final CLE in the “Modern Law Practice Series” will explore emerging trends in the delivery of legal services and how focusing on consumer behavior could benefit your law firm. This session will examine the ways in which consumer-facing companies like Avvo and LegalZoom have capitalized on tailoring services to the needs of the modern legal client and how you can adjust your practice to meet those same demands. The program will be held April 13, and will be available in person and on-demand.

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Sales and Use Tax Notice Regarding Agricultural Uses of Mowers

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has added a new important notice for sales and use tax to their website concerning the agricultural uses of mowers. View the notice on the department's website.

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Register Today for the TBA Immigration Law Section Business Immigration Investment Seminar

I want to update you and provide additional information about the Business Immigration Investment Seminar on April 7 that the TBA Immigration Section is sponsoring.

In addition to the traditional U.S. Government Forum/Seminar that the TBA Immigration Section gives every year (with CIS, ICE ERO, ICE Counsel), we decided that this year we would give a Business Immigration Investment Seminar due to the fact that Tennessee has been the number one state for the past three years for international investment.

We have created a three-hour afternoon seminar/forum with three panels covering business immigration investment issues from the varying perspectives of the government sector, private industry/company sector, and cross border/financial services sector, with the following speakers:

1) State, Federal & International Government Perspective(s) Panel, including:

  • The Tennessee Economic Development Office (Nashville);
  • Director of Appalachian EB5 Regional Center (Asheville, North Carolina);
  • Director of Bluegrass International Fund EB5 Regional Center (Louisville); and
  • Director General of British Consulate (Atlanta).

2)      State, National and International Company Perspective(s) Panel, inlcuding the:

  • Executive/Director GE Power (Chattanooga);
  • President of Astra Services (Coral Springs, Florida);
  • President of Business Strategies/Plans (Miami); and
  • Note: A VW executive is also tentatively scheduled.

3)      State, National & International Cross Border and Financial Services Perspective(s), including the:

  • Director of FedEx E-Commerce (Memphis);
  • Financial Advisor of Merrill Edge/Bank of America (Chattanooga); and
  • Partner of International Tax Firm (Washington, D.C.). 

This seminar will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville on April 7 from 1 p.m. through 4:15 p.m.  Additional information — along with registration details — can be found on the TBA.org website.

— Terry Olsen is chair of the TBA immigration Law Section

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Email Scam Targets Employee W-2 Information

Nonprofits in Minnesota have reported being targeted by a scam requesting employees’ W-2 information, and the scam is likely spreading, Nonprofit Quarterly reports. The scam begins with an email requesting lists of employees or staff earnings summaries, and it’s working – many have fallen victim to the scam. A computer forensic expert recalls that last year he was retained by four of the top 10 law firms in Minneapolis after they all fell victim. Those who have seen evidence of the W-2 scam can report it to the IRS.
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Email Scam Targets Employee W-2 Information

Nonprofits in Minnesota have reported being targeted by a scam requesting employees’ W-2 information, and the scam is likely spreading, Nonprofit Quarterly reports. The scam begins with an email requesting lists of employees or staff earnings summaries, and it’s working – many have fallen victim to the scam. A computer forensic expert recalls that last year he was retained by four of the top 10 law firms in Minneapolis after they all fell victim. Those who have seen evidence of the W-2 scam can report it to the IRS.
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Department of Revenue to Offer Free Tax Workshops for New Businesses in March

The Department of Revenue is offering free tax workshops for new businesses in March. Read more in this press release from the Department of Revenue.

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Important Notice Posted: Due Date for Calendar Year 2016 Returns

Due dates for certain Tennessee franchise and excise tax returns, business tax returns and Hall income tax returns will be April 18, instead of April 15, to be consistent with the Internal Revenue Service federal income tax filing deadline. For more information, please see important notice #17-03, which has been posted to the Department of Revenue's website.

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Filing Deadline Changed for Certain State Tax Returns

The due date for certain Tennessee franchise and excise tax returns, business tax returns and Hall income tax returns will be April 18, instead of April 15, to be consistent with the Internal Revenue Service federal income tax filing deadline, the state Department of Revenue says. For more information, please see the department's website.

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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
 
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
 
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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State Faces Legal Challenge Over Online Sales Tax

Tennessee is facing a legal challenge to the state requirement that online vendors collect state and local sales tax, according to comments from Gov. Bill Haslam reported by the Times Free Press. Haslam said that the legal challenge was a welcome opportunity to bring the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Details surrounding the proceeds are secret, with a Haslam official citing state confidentiality laws regarding taxpayer information.

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Tennessee Department of Revenue to Launch New Tax Filing Website in March 2017

The Tennessee Department of Revenue will be launching a new tax filing website, called TNTAP, or the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point, in March 2017. Returns can be filed through the website for the following tax types:

  • sales and use tax
  • liquor-by-the-drink tax
  • professional privilege tax
  • tobacco tax, tobacco stamp orders, and tobacco licenses

Some Department of Revenue forms may be changing when the new website launches.

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Issues, Legislators to Watch as New Session Starts

Tennessee lawmakers are set to return to Nashville tomorrow to officially convene the 110th General Assembly. According to analysts with the the Tennessean, there are several issues likely to dominate the session. They include: increasing the gas tax with a possible offsetting reduction in food tax; tackling criminal justice reform; allowing marijuana for medical conditions but cracking down on cities that try to reduce penalties for possession; pay raises for teachers; and expanded use of school vouchers. The USA Today network reporting also looks at legislators to watch in the new session.

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State to Launch New Tax Filing Website

The Tennessee Department of Revenue will launch a new tax filing website in March. Preliminary information about the site, dubbed the Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point or TNTAP, is now available on the department’s website. Watch a video about the service or visit a frequently-asked questions page to learn more.

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Chambers of Commerce Lobby for Internet Tax

The state’s four largest chambers of commerce have joined forces to push the legislature to impose a tax on Internet sales, the Tennessean reports. A joint legislative agenda from the Chattanooga, Knoxville Memphis and Nashville chambers lists the tax among their top priorities for the 2017 legislative session. Tennessee currently charges a sales tax, but lacks enforcement for out-of-state retailers that do not pay it according to the paper.

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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section members. Your membership in this section shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession.
 
How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might explain a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines, which will tell you about length, notes and other details. Once it’s in the proper format, send it in! It goes to the editor, Suzanne Craig Robertson, who will then get it to the seven members of the Editorial Board for review.
 
If you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education or access an Affidavit of Sole Authorship or an Affidavit of Joint Authorship from the Commission's website.

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Judge Dismisses Mosque’s Discrimination Claims

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger yesterday dismissed a religious discrimination lawsuit brought by the Islamic Center of Nashville, saying the case should have been brought in state court. In her opinion, Trauger said state law is clear that tax matters should be handled in state chancery courts, and that a federal district court “does not have jurisdiction over state and local tax matters where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy is available in state court.” The congregation had claimed it was unfairly denied a state tax exemption because it followed its religious teachings, the Tennessean reports.

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Legislative Panel Meets Thursday on Internet Sales Tax

A Tennessee lawmaker says it is unclear what action a legislative panel will take this week on Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed rule to require out-of-state retailers with no physical presence in the state to collect state and local sales taxes on Internet purchases. “What happens Thursday is anybody’s guess right now,” Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell, R-Riceville, told the Times Free Press. The Department of Revenue’s proposed rule would apply to out-of-state Internet retailers and catalog sellers with sales exceeding $500,000 annually. 

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New 1-Click Packages Make CLE Easy

Three new CLE packages are now available through the TBA's 1-Click Program. We have gathered together the most popular CLE programs on key practice areas and are making them available for a special price. Visit the 1-Click page to find packages on Creditors Practice, General Practice, Tax Law, Transactional Law and more. New packages are always being added, so check back if you don't find the one you want.

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Internet Tax Case Could Change Online Shopping

States can require Internet retailers to tell customers how much they owe in sales taxes thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision yesterday that could help officials recoup billions of dollars lost to online retailers. The court declined to hear a challenge to a Colorado law requiring online sellers to notify customers and the state how much they owe in taxes. At least three other states – Louisiana, Oklahoma and Vermont – have passed similar laws. Though the court did not rule on the merits of the case, states are likely to see the move “as a green light to step up collection efforts,” WRCB TV reports

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Get Multiple Courses with TBA’s New '1Click CLE'

This month the TBA is launching a new way to purchase CLE courses. The 1Click series allows lawyers to sign up for multiple course with one click. Look for sets of programs in a variety of categories, including ethics programs and courses by practice area. Current offerings include two three-hour ethics series, an eight-hour general practice series and a five-hour tax law series.

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