The dreaded day of April 15th is quickly approaching. Remember that you MUST file your return or request an extension to file by October 15th on this day to avoid penalties. It is important to keep in mind that when filing an extension, it is only an extension for filing purposes, NOT an extension on your obligation to pay. The amount due from the previous year’s tax return can be used as a guide to what you have to pay this year. We recommend that you always go to an experienced certified public accountant or tax attorney.
What happens if you cannot pay the balance due or have past due taxes?
With the dismal Michigan economy, there are many taxpayers who cannot afford to pay their tax debt. This results in the debt moving to the collection departments of the IRS or State. Whether it is personal taxes or business taxes that are owed, the IRS and State of Michigan are aggressive collectors. They have the ability to garnish your tax refunds, file liens on your property, garnish your paychecks, and even levy your bank accounts. They may even knock on your front door!
What we can do for you:
Fortunately the IRS does have an Offer in Compromise program. The State of Michigan, much like other states, has finally passed legislation for an Offer in Compromise program which began January 1, 2015. A “fresh start” program has been implemented allowing more lenient guidelines. Some notable Offer in Compromises accepted this past month for qualifying taxpayers have been:
-A onetime payment of $200 on an IRS debt of $75,000
-A onetime payment of $150 on an IRS debt of $25,000
In order to qualify, the State or IRS may want financial information from you such as, whether you or your spouse are working, if you have any medical hardship, if you own your own home or other property, and your bank statements. This information will be used to determine if you are eligible per their guidelines for a reduction in liability. Tax debt can be a stressful burden. If you have questions about your past due tax liability, or to retain a Michigan IRS Tax Debt Attorney / Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Obesity and Social Security Disability:
In 1999 the Social Security Administration eliminated the listing for obesity. As a result, proving obesity does not end the determination of whether a person is disabled or not. To be considered obese a person must have a BMI of 30.0 or above. Currently, obesity is considered by SSA to be a “specific medically determinable impairment.” Many conditions if they do not quite meet the listings for an outright finding of disability provide a way by which if a person meets most of the listing, and has an additional specific medically determinable impairment, the person can still be found to be disabled. In this way, it is important to give your attorney a full picture of your health. Even if your case is weak in some areas, additional specific medical impairments may boost your likelihood of success.
In 2003 there were 340 deaths related to drinking and driving. The legislature acted to lower the BAC threshold for drinking and driving from .10 to .08. By 2011, drinking and driving related deaths had dropped to 253. The law lowering the limit was originally temporary. It would have reverted back to .10 on October 1st. The Senate unanimously voted to retain the .08 threshold. This was not entirely unexpected based on the relatively recent passage of the “Superdrunk” law. It seems the Michigan legislature aims to take a hard line with respect to drinking and driving offenses across the board. If you or someone you know is charged with a drinking and driving offense, it could have serious repercussions with respect to driving privileges and your criminal record. An experienced attorney can minimize this effect.
Effective March 31, 2013 prosecutors can charge you for felony retail fraud under the new “Organized Retail Crime Act.” Previously, a retail fraud, commonly known as shoplifting, must have involved merchandise valued at over $1000.00 to qualify as a felony. The new act is somewhat of a misnomer as it does not require you to act in conjunction with another person. Even if you act alone and steal something small like chap stick or a DVD can get you charged with a felony. The following activities constitute the new offense of “Organized retail crime:”
(a) Knowingly commits an organized retail crime.
(b) Organizes, supervises, finances, or otherwise manages or assists another person in committing an organized retail crime.
(c) Removes, destroys, deactivates, or knowingly evades any component of an antishoplifting or inventory control device to prevent the activation of that device or to facilitate another person in committing an organized retail crime.
(d) Conspires with another person to commit an organized retail crime.
(e) Receives, purchases, or possesses retail merchandise for sale or resale knowing or believing the retail merchandise to be stolen from a retail merchant.
(f) Uses any artifice, instrument, container, device, or other article to facilitate the commission of an organized retail crime act.
(g) Knowingly causes a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise activate, or deactivates or prevents a fire exit alarm from sounding, in the commission of an organized retail crime or to facilitate the commission of an organized retail crime by another person.
(h) Knowingly purchases a wireless telecommunication device using fraudulent credit, knowingly procures a wireless telecommunications service agreement with the intent to defraud another person or to breach that agreement, or uses another person to obtain a wireless telecommunications service agreement with the intent to defraud another person or to breach that agreement.
If you or someone you know is charged with a retail fraud or organized retail crime, it is necessary to act fast with an experienced advocate to limit the effect of these charges. To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Can you get a dui for driving a lawn mower? Bloomfield Township Man’s Arrested for Drinking and Driving a Lawnmower
Late last month, a 47 year old man who had been drinking decided he had some pressing errands that couldn’t wait for him to sober up. Whether a lawnmower is Mr. Walton’s vehicle of choice, or he was trying to avoid drinking and driving is unknown, but he fired up his lawnmower to head to the store. Police spotted the lawn mower parked at a local store, observed him exiting and begin to drive it. Upon determining Mr. Walton was intoxicated the police pulled him over and he was promptly arrested for felony drinking and driving. As the original article notes “Michigan law doesn’t care whether it’s a lawn mower or a Lamborghini, if you drive a motor vehicle while intoxicated” you are subject to arrest for drinking and driving. Pursuant to Michigan law, any vehicle with a motor is covered. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drinking and driving offense of ANY kind contact Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.
If you have ever been pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving, you might know there are a series of tests officers administer prior to the BAC known as field sobriety testing. This can include walking heel to toe, saying the alphabet backwards, and or following an object with your eyes and not your head tests (HGN). While in the past I had thought this was only to see if you were able to directions, it turns out there is a biological reason behind the last test. If you have not been drinking (absent some major neurological disorders), your eyeball will pan across a landscape following object at a consistent pace. If you have been drinking though, it will jump from frame to frame across your field of vision. Think of it like the difference between a continuously variable transmission and stick gear shifting. As such, it is impossible to mask this biological reaction. On the other hand, the interpretation of this result is entirely up to the officer so there is very little way to independently confirm the officer’s findings. If you have gotten this far in the process though, there is probably other evidence that is sufficient to uphold your DUI absent extenuating circumstances. Very, very few DUI/OWI/OWVI/DWI offenses get overturned entirely. At this point, it is best for you to focus on minimizing the consequences through strong representation. An experienced attorney knows the ins and outs of metro Detroit courts, various judge’s proclivities, and can work to negotiate a lenient plea agreement and sentence for you.
Missed the Wayne County Child Support Amnesty Program? No problem, Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Wayne County extended a program through the end of May whereby individuals who have a bench warrant out against them for nonsupport. The purpose of the program is that Wayne County had limited resources to pursue these individuals, and by paying 1% of the amount due, of $250 whichever is greater, there could be a fast influx of cash while releasing bench warrants. There is over 800 million dollars outstanding in child support in Wayne County. Approximately 15 people per day in May took advantage of the program. What should you do though if you have missed this program? Don’t despair, you will need to be arraigned on the bench warrant. An experienced attorney though can work to minimize the damages. While child support amounts may not be modified retroactively, if a material change in circumstances has resulted the arrearages, we may be able to get the amount of child support you pay adjusted.
Wanted for not paying child support? Missed the Wayne County Child Support Amnesty Program? We can help you, to retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Does this situation sound familiar? Your mid-twenties son or daughter currently lives in your basement. Or this one? You are in your mid-twenties and have had to approach your parents to move back home? This situation is becoming more and more common, and recent census data shows that there are 6 million young adults in this situation (meaning there are also 6 million parents wondering when their kids might finally leave the nest as well). It might seem like kids these days are just lazy, but in reality this is an example of national policy having a trickle-down effect. The vast amount of student loan debt seems to be impacting modern family structure. It is also preventing young people from making big ticket purchases such as a home or a new car. Americans between age 25 and 34 made up on 27% of home buyers in 2011, which is the smallest percentage in the last decade per the National Association of Realtors. Further, if you think about it, that is prime age for people to be buying a house so it should conceivably be the highest group.
For aggressive Debt Restructuring ideas and legal representation concerning all Debt Collection matters or to retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. Including Student Loan Debt Settlement
If you are behind on your mortgage payments the note-holder may institute foreclosure proceedings against you. At any time prior to the sheriff’s sale, Michigan recognizes the law of equitable redemption meaning that if you can pay the full amount past due and the costs associated with the process you may “equitably redeem” your mortgage. This means that they cannot foreclose on your house (the amount may change if you have an acceleration clause, and the law is very different with respect to land contracts). However, even if the sheriff’s sale has already occurred Michigan recognizes an additional protection for residential homeowners: Statutory redemption. But How long is Michigan’s statutory Redemption Period? Under Michigan statute a homeowner usually has six months during which if they are able to pay the full amount that the house was bought for at the sheriff’s sale, they can “redeem” or get the house back. Further, this right of redemption is alienable.
Now though, the Michigan legislature is considering reducing the statutory redemption period from six months to 60 days. Despite the fact that it is reported than less than 1% of eligible former homeowner’s take advantage of the redemption period, this is still not a popular suggestion. However, its proponents suggest it will serve as a means to deter blight and get abandoned homes back on the market. Others suggest that this will hurt a fragile housing market, despite an amendment the period to four months if there is proof of a listing to appease real estate agents who argued that 60 days is insufficient time to process a short sale. The Senate may vote on the legislation as early as this week.
In early April a series of changes to Michigan Arson law took effect. Prompted by a perceived increase in arson,and by a lack of awareness that arson is a violent crime rather than a mere property crime, the new set of laws provides for stricter penalties, and more prosecutorial discretion.
The sentence was raised to a term of years or life for the following offenses:
- First degree arson. This newly created category includes any arson that results in physical injury and any arson of a multi-unit dwelling even when no injury results.
- Arson of an insured dwelling with fraudulent intent.
- Maliciously setting fire to mines, any material in an underground mine or a structure over a mine shaft.
Fines are now available penalties, where previously only prison terms applied. A person may be fined up to $20,000.00 for first degree fraud arson.
Arson crimes at common law included only the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Many states have made dramatic modernizing changes eliminating the dwelling of another requirement, or changing the intent requirement. The changes are meant to bring Michigan in line with stricter federal arson punishments which carry a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison. Law enforcement hopes that higher penalties will serve as a deterrent.