The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation-IRS

If you owe a debt to someone else and they cancel or forgive that debt, the canceled amount may be taxable.
The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualifies for the relief.

This provision applies to debt forgiven in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion does not apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.

More information, including detailed examples can be found in Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions, and Abandonments. Also see IRS news release IR-2008-17.

Click here for the most commonly asked questions and answers about The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and debt cancellation:

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New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment – Maps

For those interested in redistricting information, here is a link to the NYS Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment.  You will be able to see the proposed lines for all the NYS Assembly and Senators.  The Congressional lines have not been released as of yet.

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Woman Wins Divorce After Trial in No-Fault Dispute–NYLJ

Ruling after what was apparently the first trial of a contested no-fault divorce in New York, a Long Island judge has ended a 56-year marriage that he determined was “irretrievably broken.


Although the state’s 2010 no-fault divorce law was intended to reduce lengthy litigation, Acting Supreme Court Justice James F. Quinn in Suffolk County (See Profile)held in Sorrentino v. Sorrentino, 13315/11, that Gloria Sorrentino was not entitled to a divorce from Sebastian J. Sorrentino on her word alone.Read entire NYLJ article by Joel Stashenko here.

Genius launches world’s first battery-free wireless mouse

Genius has launched something slightly unconventional – a battery-less mouse. No, it doesn’t use some kind of wireless power transfer to charge the mouse, but it does have a capacitor in place of a battery. Capacitors can hold some charge and Genius has one, that can stay charged through a day of use.

It should be selling in the U.S soon at a price of $39.99
Battery Free Wireless Mouse

Battery Free Wireless Mouse

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Blacks Face Bias in Bankruptcy, Study Suggests – NYTimes.com

Read entire article here.

Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to wind up in the more onerous and costly form of consumer bankruptcy as they try to dig out from their debts, a new study has found.

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The disparity persisted even when the researchers adjusted for income, homeownership, assets and education. The evidence suggested that lawyers were disproportionately steering blacks into a process that was not as good for them financially, in part because of biases, whether conscious or unconscious.

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e-News for Tax Professionals

TaxImage by 401K via Flickr

 E-file Launches; Most Taxpayers Can File Immediately


The Internal Revenue Serviceopened the 2012 electronic tax return filing seasonwith a reminder to taxpayers that e-file remains the best way to get fast refunds and ensure accurate tax returns.

 

Get Ready for the Filing Season with this IRS Webinar


The Jan. 25 IRS Live broadcast, Getting Ready for Filing Season 2012 – Individuals and Businesses, will cover issues affecting the filing of 2011 individual and business tax returns including tax law updates, changes to forms, expiring credits and implementation of new tax legislation.

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App Store – New York State Bar Association Mobile Ethics App for NY Attorneys

Description

 

Searchable database of ethics opinions from the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics. Available for search by keyword, category or opinion number. Search more than 850 opinions on topics including various conflicts of interest, attorney advertising, standards for social media and social networking and more. Opinions are keyed to the New York Rules of Model Conduct and are available for sharing via social networks or email. Ethics opinions are available to all and are of particular interest to attorneys in New York State.

iPhone Screenshots

Fed. Dist. Court in NY Overturns Planning Board’s Denial of Cellular Tower Finding Board’s Reasons for Denial Meritless

 

REad Prof. Salkin’s complete article here:

Fed. Dist. Court in NY Overturns Planning Board’s Denial of Cellular Tower Finding Board’s Reasons for Denial Meritless.

Cellco Partnership v. Town of Colonie, 2011 WL 5975028 (U.S.D.C, N.D.N.Y. 11/28/2011)

 To disguise the cellular tower, the equipment was entirely enclosed by constructing a sixty foot bell-tower, resulting in a permanent physical improvement to the church.  Thus, the cellular tower would be camouflaged-wholly invisible to the public-and the tower would permanently enhance the church, even if the cellular operation ceased.

The opinion can be accessed at:http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-york/nyndce/1:2010cv00581/80878/27/0.pdf?1322573313

 

Is Too Much Plus a Minus for Google? « StevenLevy.com

 

Google's Server Error pageImage via Wikipedia

On Tuesday, Google announced something called Search, plus Your World (SPYW). It marked a startling transformation of the company’s flagship product, Google Search, into an amplifier of social content. Google’s critics–as well as some folks generally well intentioned towards Google–have complained that the social content it amplifies is primarily Google’s own product, Google+. 

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Sites for Sore Eyes: Beyond the Basics of Google | General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division

Jim Calloway is the director of the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program. He served as chair of the ABA TECHSHOW 2005. Calloway publishes the weblog, Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips, and was coauthor of the book Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour.

 

  • Google has features that are helpful for small firm lawyers.
  • You can use some of its existing features in creative ways to assist you in your legal research, for free.

As we all know by now, Google is more than just a website or a search engine. It is truly an information giant with the rather immodest goal of cataloging and making accessible all of the information in the world. Many lawyers use several of the numerous Google services every day. Some lawyers run their entire law firms using Google Apps for Business, which for a reasonable fee provides 24-hour support and increased email security. When I am working on a joint paper with out-of-state colleagues, we almost always use Google Docs so all of us can access the same document, knowing that it is the latest version. (It is a bit strange at first to see someone else live editing the same document at the same time you are writing or editing.)So this month, we’ll look at some Google tips that are useful for lawyers.

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