Posts by: admin

To see articles written by our attorneys on a range of topics, just use the links to the right.
Is Your Business in “Good Standing?” Are You Sure?!

Recently, many of our clients have discovered that their business entities—whether LLCs or corporations—are not in “good standing.” In fact, a few are facing forfeiture, a process by which the state terminates an entity’s existence. If that happens, essentially any limitation of liability under your entity’s charter or its LLC “shield” will cease to exist,…MORE

Author: Jeremy Hesselbein

Earned Sick and Safe Law Takes Effect on October 1 in Montgomery County

Last year, attorney Julian Haffner flagged the news about how a new paid sick leave law will affect all employers in Montgomery County, MDeffective October 1, 2016. You may follow the link to review a more-detailed summary of the law and its implications, published when the law was first adopted in 2015. Now that its enactment is…MORE

Author: admin

Court Finds Dancers are Employees, Not Independent Contractors

In May 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that two Maryland exotic dance clubs misclassified their dancers as independent contractors rather than employees. The dancers sued under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Maryland wage and hour laws for unpaid wages and liquidated damages. The Court found that the facts presented suggested that exotic dancers are employees. According to the…MORE

Author: admin

MD Business Owners: April 15th Is Personal Property Tax Day, Too!

A change in Maryland policy in 2016 may put you at risk of missing an important tax deadline. As you know, if you own a business in Maryland (whether it’s an LLC or a corporation) or your business is registered to conduct business in Maryland, you must file Personal Property Tax Returns each year with…MORE

Author: Jeremy Hesselbein

Avoid the Pitfalls of Teaming Agreements

Does your business ever join forces with others to go after government contracts? If you do, you should execute a teaming agreement to cover just how you will combine your resources. It’s a smart tactic for a smaller company that wants to obtain access to business that would otherwise be beyond its reach or capacity….MORE

Author: admin

The Top 5 Hot Topics in Employment Law for 2016

This year, employers will face a number of challenges when it comes to managing, monitoring and maintaining their workforces. From providing paid sick leave and equal opportunity under state and municipal laws, to extending equal rights and benefits to transgendered employees, complying with these new obligations may require a change in the way you operate…MORE

Author: admin

More White-Collar Workers May Qualify for Overtime Pay

Some 5,000,000 white-collar workers who are currently exempt from overtime compensation may soon be entitled to such pay. The effect on your payroll could be significant if changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are allowed to take effect, per a recent proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The impact will arise…MORE

Author: admin

A © Alone is the Wrong Way to Copyright Your Work

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re deal-focused. You’ve got your eye on the prize, and you can’t be bothered with unnecessary details. You are driven by the desire to get things done. So when you establish a relationship with a partner, a supplier, an employee, or a client, it’s easy enough to imagine you can skim over…MORE

Author: admin

Is a Contract Really Necessary?

You’re an entrepreneur. You’re deal-focused. You’ve got your eye on the prize, and you can’t be bothered with unnecessary details. You are driven by the desire to get things done. So when you establish a relationship with a partner, a supplier, an employee, or a client, it’s easy enough to imagine you can skim over…MORE

Author: admin

Maryland employers, get ready for the new Parental Leave Act!

As of October 1, 2014, if you have 15-49 employees in Maryland, your business needs to be prepared to provide parental leave to anyone who is eligible. Here are a few key facts to help you determine if you will be affected and how to comply. Am I subject to the Parental Leave Act (PLA)?…MORE

Author: admin

Top Five Employment Action Items for 2014

With Spring upon us, it is a great time to review your employment practices, ensure compliance with any new laws, and make updates to protect your business.  Here are a few easy steps to take: Hold your annual Sexual Harassment and Discrimination training. Your business’s best line of defense against sexual harassment or discrimination claims…MORE

Author: admin

Maryland and District of Columbia Employers Alert: New Legislation on Wages

On October 1, 2013, both Maryland and District of Columbia employees were given powerful tools to collect unpaid wages from their employers. These new remedies have the potential to cause significant problems for employers. If you are a business owner, it is imperative that you understand these new laws and take steps to minimize your…MORE

Author: admin

Why and How to Update Your Employment Manual

Your employment manual should be a living document that grows and changes as the company evolves. Both employees and management view the manual as a guide on how to resolve conflicts and problems that arise in the workplace. You need to be able to apply policies consistently to resolve employment issues and reduce the company’s…MORE

Author: admin

Monthly Tax Tip: Don’t Be Afraid of the IRS

Collection notices from the IRS are daunting, but addressing them quickly can prevent bank and wage attachments. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is designed to protect taxpayers. However, you must timely respond to the IRS to take advantage of these protections. If the IRS violates your rights, you may be entitled to recover damages from…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

The Nightmare of General Easements

Easements are interests in real estate which usually provide a benefit to owners of one parcel of land, while burdening another parcel of land over which the easement runs. Sometimes the creators and drafters of easements describe them generally and do not ever provide their specific locations, or even specify the full nature or extent…MORE

Author: Tracie L. Clabaugh

Terminating Your Employees: The Final Paycheck

When an employer terminates an employee, it can easily expose itself to liability by not issuing the final paycheck on time. Not surprisingly, this subject is heavily regulated by the states. Sometimes companies hold on to the last paycheck until all company property is returned. Employers should NOT do this because it is often prohibited…MORE

Author: admin

Real Property Taxes – APPEAL NOW!

Owners of both residential and commercial real property in Maryland recently received notices from the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (“SDAT”) indicating the newly assessed values of their real properties. These notices are generated by the SDAT every three years. For many, the assessed property values have increased since the last assessment date. Therefore,…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Corporate Compliance – Is Your Business Ready for 2013?

The New Year is typically a time of reflection and planning for individuals. It is also a great time for your business to catch its breath and do the same thing. Many companies use the beginning of a new year to audit legal issues and consider such items as: Are we in compliance with all…MORE

Author: admin

Lawyer-to-Lawyer: Beware of the Limited Liability Defaults

Effective October 1, 2012, amendments to the Maryland Limited Liability Act require that attorneys review and evaluate the impact of the LLC Act’s default rules on their clients. If the following topics are not addressed in the Operating Agreement then the LLC will require unanimous consent of its Members to take any of the following…MORE

Author: admin

Monthly Tax Tip: D.C. “Use” Tax and Hot Audit Topics

New D.C. Use Tax The District of Columbia is now attempting to make certain that every sale of goods is subject to tax in D.C., if not paid elsewhere. The “use tax” will now be enforced for D.C. businesses on purchases that are not otherwise subject to sales tax. All items purchased by a business…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Copyrights In Your Business

Most businesses do not realize that they use copyrighted work every day. Whether the business or someone else owns the copyright, these rights are common in the business place. If your employee designs marketing materials then your company owns the copyright to those materials. If those marketing materials contain a photograph from the internet, someone…MORE

Author: admin

Monthly Tax Tip: More Tax Planning Considerations

2012 will be coming to an end before you know it, along with the expiration of numerous tax savings provisions. It is important to review the current benefits under the tax code to maximize your savings. This Tax Tip provides guidance on what to expect in 2013 and what you might do about it in…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Business-Owner Beware: Adverse Provisions in Commercial Leases

A lease for the office building in which your business operates is essential. Unfortunately, these documents also tend to be very long and complex. The average commercial lease is 30 pages long, and filled with fine print which the typical business owner is not equipped to understand, much less negotiate. Unlike a landlord who drafts…MORE

Author: admin

Trade Name or Trademark?

Business owners and attorneys, alike, often confuse trade names with trademarks. Sometimes, they can be the same name but their legal significance is quite different. Trade Name Many businesses have a legal name but do not carry out business or hold themselves out to the public with that name. Instead, these businesses use their trade…MORE

Author: admin

Monthly Tax Tip: 2012 Tax Planning Considerations

With 2012 nearly half over, now is a perfect time to start tax planning for 2013. At the end of 2012, two very important acts from the “Bush-era” tax cuts expire: the Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”) and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (“JGTRRA”). It is…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Beware of the Form Contract (Part One): Business-to-Business Terms and Conditions

In an effort to promote commercial success, most businesses rely upon contracts, generally written by attorneys, which contain the business’ “standard terms.” Proprietors are often told that these contracts are not negotiable, and they frequently sign such agreements regardless of the incredibly burdensome provisions. However, most of these provisions can be mitigated, if not completely…MORE

Author: admin

Maryland Benefit Companies: For-Profit and For-Public Benefits

Do your shareholders want to protect the environment, improve human health, or promote the arts? AND make a profit? In the past, the laws and custom of the United States only supported one or the other. Businesses are either devoted to making money for their shareholders or helping the community. Recently, this has begun to…MORE

Author: admin

The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling on Outdoor Companies and Recreational Boaters

Federal courts have historically ruled on issues that affect land and river ownership, and often such decisions impact outdoor companies and recreation outdoor enthusiasts. On February 22, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a decision in PPL Montana, LLC v. Montana which could impact recreational kayak, canoe, and raft paddlers. The case addressed whether the State of Montana…MORE

Author: Adam Van Grack

Trademark Issues for Small Business: How to Protect Your Trademark

You own “Awesome Bagels” the best bagel place in the Washington Metro area. You have four locations in Gaithersburg, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring and Columbia Heights. Your stores have been reviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers as the “Best Breakfast Place,” “A Local Gem,” and “A Must Try.” Everyone talks about those “Awesome Bagels.” After…MORE

Author: admin

What is a Hot Issue in Employment Law? Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

Background We advised our readers a few months back about the IRS’s new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP). The VCSP offers employers that have misclassified their employees as independent contractors the opportunity to remedy their misclassifications and comply with the appropriate employment laws prospectively. The program began in September 2011 and, to date, a termination…MORE

Author: Lynn Perry Parker

Legal Concerns for Adventure Sports and Outdoor Organizations: Basic Questions

Organizations and businesses that operate adventure sports and/or outdoor activities confront special legal issues that their executives need to consider. This introductory article seeks to address those issues and provides basic guidance for assessing the need for legal advice specifically tailored to an outdoor/adventure organization. First Basic Issue: Waivers. Most organizations that allow participants to…MORE

Author: Adam Van Grack

Monthly Tax Tip: Worker Classification Disclosure

The IRS recently announced a new voluntary settlement program for employers that have misclassified their employees as independent contractors or other nonemployees. The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) offers employers a significantly reduced penalty framework, as well as audit protection for previous years, in exchange for agreeing to prospectively treat any and all misclassified workers…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Monthly Tax Tip: Innocent Spouse Relief

Individual taxpayers filing joint returns with their spouse have always been entitled to relief, individually, when a joint liability has accrued and the cause of the liability is the fault of the other spouse. This is based upon what is commonly known as innocent spouse relief. Regardless of whether the parties are still married and…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Minimum Wage Law Update – Tip Credit Regulation Change

Are you in compliance with the new minimum wage regulations applicable to tipped employees that took effect on May 5, 2011? Read on to find out. For purposes of this article, a tipped employee is one who customarily and regularly receives more than $30 per month in tips. Employers are permitted to take a tip…MORE

Author: Lynn Perry Parker

How to Recognize and Respond to Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing problem nationwide and its effect on victims can be devastating. Identity thieves often use a stolen identity to open accounts, including credit cards and utility accounts, to ruin one’s credit history. On occasion, identity thieves do not stop there. They may also use their victim’s tax-related information, causing significant problems…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Monthly Tax Tip: Payment of Payroll Taxes

Many businesses use a payroll service to file and remit their payroll tax payments. The use of a payroll service simplifies business’ payroll responsibilities because the business itself does not have to worry about the weekly or bi-weekly deposits or calculating employee withholdings. When using a payroll service, business owners need to be aware that…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

2011 Tax Law Changes in Maryland

Tax laws change all the time. Seven recent changes in the law are discussed below so that taxpayers are aware of the changes and have the opportunity to take full advantage of the law to maximize their deductions or to resolve outstanding issues with the IRS. Bonus Depreciation In an effort to assist business, the…MORE

Author: Robb A. Longman

Encroaching Branches or Falling Trees: Rights and Liabilities of Property Owners

Our area is graced with an abundance of mature trees, many of considerable size. The maturity of the tree canopy is part of what gives many local residential areas their character and contributes greatly to their livability and charm. The severe storms that have visited the region in recent years, however, also remind us of…MORE

Author: Beth Tomasello

Highlights of Small Business Jobs Act of 2010

The 2010 Small Business Jobs Act has been passed by the Senate on September 16, 2010 and the House on September 23, 2010 and is expected to be signed into law by the President shortly. The Act includes a wide-ranging assortment of tax breaks and incentives for small business, paid for with various revenue raisers….MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

Six Weeks Left for Tax Amnesty in D.C.!

Via recent legislation, and in an effort to raise revenues, the District of Columbia is offering tax amnesty for submissions made between August 2 and September 30, 2010. All civil penalties and collection fees will be waived upon payment of overdue DC taxes and interest. For taxpayers who are behind with their D.C. taxes and…MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

Employee Noncompete Agreements Unenforceable? Wrong!

Noncompete Agreements – Why Bother? So often we hear that noncompete agreements are not worth the paper they are written on. Whether that statement is true or not depends on what is written on the paper. Earlier this year, the United States District Court of Maryland unequivocally confirmed that employee noncompete agreements are enforceable in Maryland! TEK-systems, Inc….MORE

Author: Lynn Perry Parker

The Federal “HIRE” Act Gives Employers Substantial Incentives to Hire the Unemployed

The “Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act of 2010” (the HIRE Act, P.L. 111-147) can provide a substantial benefit for private-sector employers (including employers that are non-governmental nonprofit organizations) who are beginning to expand their businesses through the hiring of new employees. To provide employers with an incentive to hire unemployed individuals, the HIRE Act…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

Beware of Extending Credit Terms Far Beyond Your Custom and Trade

Notice of a client’s or customer’s bankruptcy filing can strike fear in the heart of the most experienced business person. Even after the initial shock has worn off, the same business person may be served with a frightening complaint in which the bankruptcy trustee is attempting to avoid a preferential transfer by the client, now…MORE

Author: Anne E. Braucher

Major Changes in Health Insurance Coverage

There are a number of important changes for both employers and individuals included in the new 2010 Health Care Act (as amended by the Health Care Reconciliation Act) that are effective immediately. These changes confer a real benefit on small businesses as well as individuals with young adult children. Individuals with children who have not…MORE

Author: admin

Repeal of the Federal Estate Tax Can Hurt Smaller Estates

Under the federal estate tax rules as they existed prior to January 1, 2010, the basis of property, whether real or personal, acquired from a decedent by reason of his or her death, was its fair market value on the date of death (or 6 months later, if the later if the alternate valuation date…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

2009 Year-End Tax Alert

Summary Despite the economy remaining largely in the doldrums, there were a variety of benefits which should not be overlooked by taxpayers who are able to take advantage of them. Keying on those which would have the most likely application for the small, medium and large local businesses which comprise the majority of the Firm’s…MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

Upcoming Tax Reprieve from Interest and Penalties in Virginia!

Following on the heels of the current tax amnesty program in the State of Maryland, and in its own effort to raise revenues, the Commonwealth of Virginia will be offering tax amnesty under its recently announced “Get Square VA” campaign for submissions made between October 7, 2009 and December 5, 2009. All civil penalties and…MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

Seven Weeks Left for Tax Amnesty in Maryland!

Via recent legislation, and in an effort to raise revenues, the State of Maryland is offering tax amnesty for submissions made between September 1 and October 30, 2009. All civil penalties and one-half of accrued interest will be waived. For taxpayers who are behind with their Maryland taxes, this is a no-brainer. Who is an eligible…MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

In a Divorce, A Beneficiary Designation Trumps the Divorce Agreement

The need for a divorced individual to look at all of his or her beneficiary designations on his or her retirement plans was made clear this week in a unanimous Supreme Court decision which upheld the beneficiary designation set forth in a retirement plan over the waiver of rights to the retirement plan under a…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

New Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations

The first material revisions to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), since the law was enacted fifteen years ago, will take effect January 16, 2009. The new regulations clarify many of the implementing terms that had caused confusion and costs to both employers and employees. The new regulations also add extensive employment protections…MORE

Author: Lynn Perry Parker

The Pension Act

Late on December 11, the Senate approved H.R. 7327, the “Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act” (the Pension Act) by unanimous consent. The bill was passed by the House on December 10 by unanimous consent, so the measure is cleared for the President’s signature. The Pension Act suspends the need to take required minimum distributions…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

The Medicare Part D Sign-Up Period for 2009 Ends as of December 31, 2008

The Medicare Part D sign-up period for prescription drug insurance coverage during 2009 runs from November 15, 2008 through December 31, 2008. Medicare Part D allows people 65 and older with no other prescription drug insurance and for younger people receiving Social Security benefits, to obtain drug coverage through numerous private health insurance plans. Each…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

Thoughts on the Federal Estate Tax – Part I

During all of the pre-election discussions about taxes, one type of tax has failed to generate much interest in the media: the federal estate tax. However, this is of intense interest to any number of people in this area. The federal estate tax is now an irrational amalgam of competing interests. Currently, each individual has…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

Brokerage Company Insurance under the Securities Investor Protection Corporation

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (hereinafter “SIPC”) insures investment accounts in the event of the failure of a brokerage firm that is covered by SIPC (the “covered brokerage firm”). Under SIPC, brokerage accounts in a covered brokerage firm are insured up to $500,000 per account. This may include $100,000 held in the account as cash….MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

Update on Money Market Guarantees

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Funds guarantees a $1.00 share price of participating money market fund, if those shares were held on close of business September 19, 2008. The guarantee is triggered if a participating fund liquidates its assets as a result of its net asset value falling below $.995…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

New FDIC Coverage Limitations

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, signed into law on October 3, 2008, has raised the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance limits on bank accounts in FDIC insured banks to $250,000 per covered account. This increase is effective for the period October 3, 2008 through December 31, 2009. As a general rule, an individual can have…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

The New Economic Stabilization Act

On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) (“EESA”). EESA provides a significant financial bailout to many financial institutions. However, it has also changed many different tax provisions. The following is a brief discussion of the highlights of the tax changes which may be of…MORE

Author: Lona L. Feldman

Employment Law Update in Maryland – Addendum

Maryland Developments Domestic Partner Benefits – Family Coverage Expansion Act The Maryland General Assembly enacted a law which requires insurers who issue health insurance in the State of Maryland to provide coverage for domestic partners and dependents of domestic partners. See 2007 Md. House Bill No. 1057 Full enrolled text – http://senate.state.md.us/2007RS/bills/hb/hb1057e.pdf  Effective June 1, 2007…MORE

Author: David W.Hotes

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)

Employment Law Bulletin Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) To many of you I sent this information regarding the USERRA after September 11, 2001. Now, with our country going to war with Iraq it is even more relevant and important to many people and employers. The USERRA protects employees who are in the…MORE

Author: Lynn Perry Parker