MY TAX LAW SPECIAL REPORT FOR JANUARY IS ABOUT WHEN TO FILE YOUR FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN THIS YEAR
This is one of those years, which seem to happen with increasing frequency, that the filing deadline is not April 15. Read all about it in my Tax Law Special Report, now posted, as my newsletter is every month, in the publications section at deconcinimcdonald.com.
Here’s another angle on the quest for a self-driving car: a computer guy devised the software and used commercially available hardware to make an ordinary car self-driving.
It’s gonna happen. Soon, I hope. The momentum is building.
I admit up front that I know almost nothing about the substantive law that’s invoked in the harebrained lawsuit filed against the Air Force last week in federal court in Tucson. The lawsuit is founded on the claim that airport noise can detract from children’s mental development and education, and therefore the environmental review that was done in conjunction with a plan for more “visiting” aircraft to use Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was inadequate. For all I know, it may technically have some merit.
That doesn’t mean the lawsuit isn’t harebrained. I’d like to introduce the people behind the lawsuit to all the pillars of society produced by Robison Elementary School and Mansfeld Junior High School (not to mention Tucson High). We all grew up under the D-M flight path. The people behind this lawsuit apparently think our development must have been retarded as a result. I beg to differ, as would, I am certain, every one of my classmates.
Perhaps the people behind this lawsuit should ask the mayor of Tucson if he thinks their action is in the “public interest.” I don't think he would concur.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE CONTROVERSY OVER TRADEMARKS THAT ARE “DISPARAGING,” THIS WILL BE OF INTEREST
Even if you have not been following the controversy over “disparaging” trademarks, this post at Popehat might still be of interest to you if you ever studied the First Amendment (as I did). A federal court of appeals ruled, in what seems to me to be a plainly correct decision, that the federal law that prohibits “disparaging” trademarks is inconsistent with the First Amendment.
I’m not sure what to make of the news that the United States Department of Transportation is proposing to get involved in the development of self-driving car technology. The author of the linked article obviously has an opinion.
I guess I have to at least tentatively agree that if the choice is between privately developed mobile technology and government-controlled fixed technology, which is what it sounds like, I’m going to favor the former over the latter.
The “death-proof car.” Yes, it involves autonomy.
BUT WHAT ABOUT “QWERTY123456”
This list of the worst passwords of 2015 was amusing. My family is always warning me that my passwords aren’t very good. The problem is that I hate passwords. I hate having to manage them. I know there are various utilities to make it easier, but those have their own requirements and complexities. I can’t wait for the day when everything has biometric identification.
Anyway, I got a chuckle out of the password that is, according to the list, the fourth-worst of 2015 (after the obvious “1234556” and “password” and the slightly less obvious “12345678”): “qwerty” – you know, the name of the keyboard. I suppose those are all pretty easy to guess. I don’t think you could use them for most web sites anymore anyway, because you almost always have to include a numeral and a special character. Perhaps “qwerty123456?”
PETA has apparently vowed to appeal the ruling by a U. S. District Court judge, discussed in my post a couple of weeks ago, that a monkey can't own a copyright. Lowering the Bar has the story.
REPORTS OF THE DEATH OF THE BIG BOX STORE ARE PERHAPS EXAGGERATED, OR AT LEAST PREMATURE?
I don’t care what happens to Walmart. Really, I don’t. As someone who is interested in land use law, however, I can’t help commenting on the recent announcement that Walmart is closing 154 stores in the United States.
The announcement seems to me to be a lot less significant that it was made to sound. According to news accounts, out of the 154 stores to be closed, 102 are Walmart Express stores. Those stores apparently represent a fairly recent foray by Walmart into opening smaller stores in urban areas. Another 23 of the stores slated for closure are Neighborhood Market stores, which is also a more recent, smaller format than the typical Walmart.
Only 12 of the stores slated for closure are “supercenters,” and 4 are Sam’s Club stores. I don’t know how many “supercenters” there are, but I doubt that 12 is a significant percentage.
In other words, it looks like Walmart expanded those new, smaller formats too fast and is now pulling back. It doesn’t mean that the big box store is dead.
Via The Federalist.
IRS TO IMPOSE REPORTING REQUIREMENT FOR ALL-CASH PURCHASES OF MILLION-DOLLAR + HOMES IN MIAMI AND NEW YOK CITY
It’s not entirely unexpected that the IRS would want to try to find out where the money is really coming from when a partnership, limited liability company, or trust pays more than a million dollars in cash for a house in Miami, or more than $3 million in New York City. The announcement by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) of a requirement that title companies identify the natural persons behind such transactions is therefore not exactly a bombshell.
It does make me wonder, however, if the IRS is really just not trying all that hard to track down that information for itself, or if the disclosure rules are substantially different in states other than Arizona. In Arizona, there are disclosure requirements for trusts, and public records filings for partnerships and limited liability companies, that make it pretty easy to find out, at least in most cases, who the real people are behind those big house purchases. The newspaper in Phoenix publishes a regular column on big-dollar home transactions that includes the names of the real people even when they use trusts or business entities, which tells me that the reporter who writes that column knows how to look up that information. Doesn’t the IRS?
Via TaxProf Blog.
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.