IF YOUR PROPERTY HAS A CONSERVATION EASEMENT, OR IF YOU THINK YOUR PROPERTY MIGHT HAVE A CONSERVATION EASEMENT AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS, READ MY REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE
I don’t think I ever posted here about my Real Estate Law Update for May. It’s about a situation in which property owners got into trouble for moving dirt and trees on their property. The got into trouble because those actions violated a conservation easement.
Don’t know what a conservation easement is? Then read the Update. You can see it in the same place where my newsletters are posted every month, in the publications section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
It’s not new, but it’s getting attention again: a proposed federal tax on every securities (stock and bond) transaction is being pushed by prominent members of Congress.
The proponents of this tax say it is intended to discourage high-frequency trading and won’t hurt the middle class. Since many, many middle class families have retirement accounts that are invested in stocks and bonds, either directly or through mutual funds, I have some questions:
Is the reinvestment of dividends inside retirement accounts going to be subject to the tax? If so, then middle class people are going to pay the tax.
Are transactions in U.S. Treasury securities going to be subject to the tax? If so, retirees who invest in those bonds will pay the tax. If not, that will skew the markets because Treasury securities will have a cost advantage.
I could think of more questions, but you get the idea. The simplistic notion that a tax on securities transactions will only hit fat cats and day traders is a lie, designed to gin up support for the tax among those who won’t think about how it will actually affect lots of people.
IT’S THE SLANTS ALL OVER AGAIN
This time it’s Justice Kagan repeating the free speech mantra: “The government may not discriminate against speech based on the ideas or opinions it conveys.” As the Supreme Court said two years ago in the case involving The Slants, trademarks can’t be denied based on “scandalous” content.
I’m continuing to follow the reporting in the Arizona Republic on an individual’s claim that he owns a parcel of land in downtown Tempe. I have written about it before. The story is interesting to me because it involves title to land, and because the individual's claim is based on adverse possession, a legal concept that I explained in my newsletter several years ago.
The Republic’s reporting has been pretty good, but they do seem to want to put the best face on it for the little guy who is battling city hall (and the state). No surprise there.
The war is just about over, however. The last pending case, which is the city’s action to eject the claimant from the property, was decided in the city’s favor in the Superior Court. The most recent report in the Republic says that the Court of Appeals has just affirmed that ruling. The claimant has one appeal left, to the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals also ruled that the city’s claim to ownership of the property is valid. The claimant admits that he has no recorded title to the land.
Stay tuned, but I don’t think this one will go more than one more round.
IT’S REALLY NO SURPRISE THAT THE TREASURY WON’T ALLOW “CONTRIBUTIONS” THAT GET STATE TAX CREDITS TO BE TREATED AS DEDUCTIBLE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
The Treasury has issued final regulations shutting down the so-called “workarounds" that would let taxpayers deduct as charitable contributions payments that are really in satisfaction of local tax obligations. It really isn’t a surprise, is it? It’s based on a longstanding, and simple, principle: If you get something in return for a donation, that donation doesn’t qualify for an income tax deduction.
Efforts by local governments to control the appearance of buildings are never going to stop, are they? The suggestion by a Philadelphia city council member that bay windows should be banned, as a way to preserve the traditional appearance of older neighborhoods, reminds me of a similar effort in Baltimore that I wrote about years ago. As I said then, it is “another example of a municipal government using zoning to control aesthetics, without even any pretense of any other objective (that is, other than a transparent invocation of the usual ‘property values’ ruse).”
There are, apparently, two National Doughnut Days. The more widely recognized one, according to an article I saw linked at Instapundit, is tomorrow, the first Friday in June.
Now for the next big question: is the correct spelling doughnut, or donut?
Here’s an update on a topic I touched on last summer: yes, fraudulent deeds are sometimes utilized by scammers to try to steal property, but if you have title insurance, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about it.
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.