I saw a news item from KOLD-TV about the Tucson City Council being urged to modify its development code to prohibit front-yard swimming pools. Why? Because construction of the required safety wall around a front-yard pool would allegedly cause the property to no longer qualify for the historic property tax break.
Why should anyone but the owner of the subject property care about that? Well apparently, if a large enough number of properties in a historically designated district no longer qualify, the district could lose the historic designation, which would mean that none of the properties in the district would qualify for the tax break.
I have not done the research to see if any of the above is true. But even assuming that it is true, I find these comments by a city council member, as quoted in the new item, to be illuminating, and not in a good way:
“We can’t allow something in the front yard that’s going to delist the property,” said Steve Kozachik, the city council member for Ward 6.
In other words, what you get to do on your property is subject to the better judgment of the city. Those comments are on a par with the comment I recently posted from the mayor of New York, who thinks that the government knows better than you do how your money should be spent.
Have you heard the advertising for Home Title Lock? If you listen to news radio, you will hear it. The advertising says that real estate title fraud is a significant risk for homeowners, and that you need their product to protect you from that type of fraud. Of course that’s what they say.
I think it is unlikely that Home Title Lock is something you really need. That’s my opinion because I think you probably have insurance already in place that protects you against the type of fraud that Home Title Lock says it will detect.
To find out why that’s my opinion, I encourage you to read my Real Estate Law Update for December. It was posted yesterday in the News & Events section of my law firm’s web site, deconcinimcdonald.com.
I am interested to hear if any of my readers have encountered real estate title fraud, and if you have any opinion on the subject.
JUST HOW FAR SHOULD GOVERNMENT BE ABLE TO GO IN TELLING ME WHAT I CAN, CANNOT, OR MUST DO ON MY PROPERTY?
I have seen this news item linked in at least two different places, so I don’t want to give it more attention than it deserves, but I think it’s worthy of notice and comment because it’s an apt illustration of a subject that I have repeatedly discussed in this space. The subject is the extent to which the concerns of other should control my use of my private property. This example goes much further than the land use planning issues that I have discussed here in the past, however, because the suggestion in this case would, if implemented, dictate that private property owners dedicate part of their property to residential use by others without compensation.
The example is just a suggestion by a narrow majority of a subcommittee in one city, so it’s far from a trend, but it does illustrate, to me anyway, that there is no reach too far for some people who believe that government should be able to dictate how private property owners can use their property.
THE DELAWARE COURTS HAVE NOT BACKED AWAY FROM THE RULE THAT A CORPORATION MUST PUT THE INTERESTS OF ITS SHAREHOLDERS ABOVE ALL OTHERS
A quote from an opinion by the Delaware Court of Chancery issued October 7, 2019:
“Delaware case law is clear that the board of directors of a for-profit corporation . . . must, within the limits of its legal discretion, treat stockholder welfare as the only end, considering other interests only to the extent that doing so is rationally related to stockholder welfare.”
Via Professor Bainbridge.
To try to make up for that, I’m suggesting that you take a look at the item about it posted today at tucson.com. It has a large number of interesting photos chronicling the history of the U.S.S. Arizona. It’s well worth looking at (and is not behind their usual paywall).
I don’t recall ever seeing anyone riding one of the e-scooters in Tucson, although I have seen them parked here and there. I suppose they really could be a menace, but except possibly on 4th Avenue, I don’t see how they could be prevalent enough to be as much of a problem as this news item suggests. Thank goodness our protectors on the city council have seen fit to allow the scooters to remain, at least for now.
To reach the status of one of the dumber tax ideas I have heard recently, the idea must be pretty dumb, but I think this one qualifies: take a sales tax that was enacted to protect an urban area’s water supply and divert it to pay for public transit instead. Huh?
If the tax is needed to protect the water supply, how could it possibly make any sense to divert it to pay for public transit?
On the other hand, if the objective for which the tax was levied has been accomplished, then how about repealing it? Why don’t politicians ever think of that?
In my latest Estate Planning Law Report, I discuss the new law that makes it possible to have an enforceable electronic will. I also make the case that although that law is now in place, it may be a while before you can actually take advantage of it. And I caution that the new law does not mean that an electronic copy of your existing will can now replace the physical, paper, original document.
Please read all about it in the news and events section of deconcinimcdonald.com and let me know what you think.
IRS: We’ll get your income tax liability figured correctly with no help from you. Trust us.
Me: Really? Thanks for the offer, but I think I have some information you don’t, and I’m just as likely to get it right as you are.
When I wrote yesterday about the senator who won’t give up on taxation of unrealized gains, I gave him a little too much credit when I said that he apparently figured out that it wouldn’t work on some types of assets (he calls them "nontradeable" assets). No, he’s come up with a Rube Goldberg type contrivance to penalize you for deferring the realization of gains on your "nontradeable" assets. By deferring the gains, what he means is, you didn’t sell the assets. He’s going to fix that (you) by going back and treating the gain as if it was realized in each year that you held the asset, apparently. He still doesn’t really explain how this is going to work.
Here’s the senator’s description of this latest brilliant idea:
Tax due on gain realized from non-tradeable property such as real estate, business interests or collectibles will be calculated at sale or transfer through a lookback charge. The lookback charge would tax accrued gain and minimize the benefit of deferring tax. Senator ***** is evaluating several possible methods of calculating a lookback charge, including an interest charge on deferred tax, a yield-based tax to eliminate the benefits of deferral or a surtax based on an asset’s holding period.
No, I’m not going to link to it. if you really want to read the whole thing, it’s not hard to find.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.