Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus

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Taxpayers take note of the June 30, 2015 deadline for the Fincen 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”)

If you have a financial interest in or signature authority over a foreign financial account, including a bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, trust, or other type of foreign financial account, exceeding certain thresholds, the Bank Secrecy Act may require you to report the account yearly to the Department of Treasury by electronically filing a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

United States persons are required to file an FBAR if:

1. the United States person had a financial interest in or signature authority over at least one financial account located outside of the United States; and

2. the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year reported.

United States persons include U.S. citizens; U.S. residents; entities, including but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies, created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States.

The FBAR is a calendar year report and must be filed on or before June 30 of the year following the calendar year being reported. Effective July 1, 2013, the FBAR must be filed electronically through FinCEN’s BSA E-Filing System.

NOTE: Taxpayers who perhaps have become fully compliant by entering into one of the IRS disclosure programs should make certain they continue their compliance by filing this form every year.

Consult a tax advisor with any questions or concerns on the Fincen 114 or FBAR.

Steve Dubner Thinks Like a Freak at Meritas Annual Meeting

Meritas, an established global alliance of independent, full-service law firms (of which NM&M is a part of), is currently holding its annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. Today, Steve Dubner, the economist, author, speaker and podcaster, told Meritas attorneys the value of collecting data, evaluating the data without preconceptions (have fun with that), and how to use that data and analysis in a useful way.  Steve’s insight and ability to explain complicated concepts is truly refreshing. Think Like a Freak!

Steve’s books include: Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics and Think Like a Freak.

Finally – Quantitative Easing In Europe: Will It Work?

The European Central Bank announced today an economic stimulus program designed to finally get the EU economy off its haunches. Will it work? The major stock markets were buoyed by Mario Draghi’s announcement on Thursday, with the DAX up 136, the FTSE100 up 69, the DOW up 260, NASDAQ up 83 and the S&P 500 up 31. However, the malaise in the EU is more broad-based than may be resolved by the adoption of a QE monetary policy intended to make credit more readily available. Significant unemployment exists in southern EU along with overspending. Of real interest is how long Germany and Greece at opposite ends of the EU economic spectrum, as well as those countries in between will be able to hold the course. How long will the populace in Italy, France, Spain, Greece and even Ireland support spending cuts and tax increases to eliminate their debt?

Draghi’s proposed stimulus program looks to buy bonds at the rate of 60 Billion Euros a month, up to an amount of 1.1 Trillion Euros. The announcement has already affected the value of the Dollar vs. the Euro, which had been in continuing slide for some time. The Dollar hit an eleven-year high against the Euro today. While the cheaper Euro will make European goods cheaper for Americans, it will likely have a continuing negative effect on US exports to the EU. Notwithstanding the impact on US exports, it seems that the markets welcomed Draghi’s action today with the hope that the EU members were finally able to come together to address their stagnating economy. Let’s hope that they can keep it together.

REWIND: International Business News #99

In this week’s REWIND of international business news,

  • Trademark owners and applicants will be happy to learn that the cost of filing or renewing a trademark application will be a little lower in 2015.  Scheduled to take effect on January 17, 2015, the USPTO has reduced the cost of applications by $50, meaning that the fee for an application will go from $325 per class to $275 per class. To take advantage of the reduced rate, an applicant must agree to file all documents electronically and permit email communications with the Trademark Office.  In addition the Trademark Office will reduce the fee for a TEAS application to renew a registration by $100, with the fee going from $400 to $300 per class.  The reduced charges are an effect of the American Invents Act, which seeks to stress efficiency in the USPTO and increase the usage of electronic filing and processing of trademark applications.
  • In what may become a more common occurrence, Coca-Cola has filed trademark applications to register two Twitter hashtags.  The applications, which are for the hashtags “#smilewithacoke” and “#cokecanpics,” were filed with the Trademark Office in December. Though Coke is not the first entity to seek registration of a hashtag, this appears to be it’s first foray into seeking protection for parts of its social media campaigns, and may signal a growing trend in intellectual property protection.
  • According to a notice issued by its Central Government, China is seeking to triple the number of filed patents by 2020.  To further  its goal, the country indicated it will strengthen its laws and policies to better protect intellectual property.  In addition, China will try to reduce the amount of time to review and process patent and trademark applications; the country hopes to reduce the time to review patent applications from 22.3 months to 20.2, and the time to review trademark applications from 10 months to 9 months by 2020.
  • The names of iconic hotels, such as the Ahwahnee Hotel, and other concession properties in Yosemite National Park face the possibility of being changed.  The contract between the National Park Service and Delaware North, the entity that has run the concession properties in Yosemite for over 20 years, is scheduled to expire this year.  The Park Service is currently soliciting bids from companies to act as the park’s concession operator; this may result in someone other than Delaware North acting in this capacity.  Delaware North has asserted that if that is the case,  any such new entity would have to pay them $51 million to acquire its “intangible assets,” which include the trademark registrations for all of the concession properties in Yosemite.  While it is not clear if Delaware North will truly be able to assert and enforce its ownership claims over the registered marks, there is a possibility the Park Service may change the names to avoid becoming embroiled in a legal dispute.

Happy Holidays from BWOB!

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year!


GERMANY CUTS ECONOMIC FORECASTS – The Ukraine Effect? German Recession Coming?

Germany has been the primary growth engine in the EU over the last few years, while the economies of Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, and so on have continued to languish.  Now, the just released economic forecast by the German government downgraded its earlier projections of 1.8% growth for 2014 to 1.2% – projections for 2015 hover around 1.3%.

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Melinda Fellner Bramwit to Present at “Tax Trends for 2014 & Beyond” Seminar

Please join Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A., Wiss & Company, LLP,and The Insurance & Investment Advisory Group, LLC (“IIAG“) on October 21, 2014 for a complimentary panel-style seminar on evolving tax trends. Designed for business owners, financial planners, accountants, human resource professionals, and others responsible for managing business operations, this program will offer practical information on the following topics: Use of IC-DISCS, Captive Insurance Companies, Cost Segregation Studies and other credits and deductions to maximize the value of your business.

Legal Issues With Formation & Tax Treatment -  Melinda Fellner Bramwit, Esq.,  Partner, Norris McLaughlin & Marcus

Compliance and Accounting  Issues – Christopher Colyer, CPA, MST, MBA, Tax Partner, Wiss & Company

Funding & Insurance Issues – Anthony M. Sardis, JD, LLM, IIAG

For more information and to register, click here

Norris McLaughlin & Marcus Recognized by Acquisition International

Acquisition International has selected Norris McLaughlin & Marcus as a recipient of one of its 2013 Legal Awards, the Executive Compensation Legal Practice of the Year – USA.

Acquisition International, 2013 Legal Awards, Executive Compensation Legal Practice of the Year - USA

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Meritas Wraps Up a Highly Successful Annual Meeting in Canada

Meritas closes its 2013 Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, with continued strong focus and business development relationships with its 180 member law firms located around the globe. Meritas’ 180 member law firms are now in 235 locations in 78 countries providing the support of more than 7,000 lawyers.

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Bob G.