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Our business blog focuses on issues affecting Virginia, D.C. and Maryland business owners. We provide timely insight and commentary on federal and state rules and how they affect you. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Freedom of speech has long applied beyond the spoken and written word. The Supreme Court has held that it applies to conduct, such as burning a flag, and it is currently considering whether it applies to the baking of wedding cakes in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

But what about internet search engine results or other automated online “speech”? What about speech created by Artificial Intelligence?

January 2, 2018
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Topics Taxes

Congress has passed tax reform and President Trump has signed the bill into law. Consequently, the tax code will be dramatically changed for many. Although there are many uncertainties in how the implementing regulations and rules will look, many businesses and certain industries will significantly benefit. There will be ample tax planning opportunities, and we have provided the major highlights to get you started. 

Specifically, we have organized the highlights into four groups. The first is for real estate businesses and is applicable to businesses generally. This section talks about the 20% deduction for pass-through businesses like partnership and S-corporations. The second group is geared toward all employers and contains a significant tax credit for paying employees on FMLA. The third group provides the relevant provisions applicable to tax-exempt organizations such as an excise tax to the entity on excessive compensation. Lastly, there is something for everyone as we pulled out highlights pertaining to almost all of us individually.

December 21, 2017
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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) provides safe harbors from copyright infringement liability for certain kinds of online service providers — for example, websites that allow users to post or store material on their systems. If a provider is in compliance with the statute, it will be shielded from liability for infringing materials posted by third parties on their site.

In order to qualify for safe harbor protections, providers must designate an agent to receive “take down” notifications of claimed copyright infringement. These websites also must post take down information on their websites (usually, in their Terms of Use) to take advantage of the safe harbors.

LLCs and Subchapter S Corporations share a number of characteristics. Chief among them is that each provides participants – shareholders in a corporation, members in an LLC – with insulation from personal liability while avoiding the “double taxation” associated with C-Corporation status.  Double taxation means that a C-Corporation pays taxes on profits and its shareholders pay taxes on distributions. However, Sub-S Corporations do not pay taxes at the corporate level.

July 2017
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Tags Taxes

Purchase price allocation and timing of payments are two of the issues to consider when structuring an asset sale or purchase of a business. The tax consequences can be enormous if assets aren’t allocated strategically.

Consider this scenario based on an actual client. John is an entrepreneur who starts a roofing company. John works very hard and builds up his business over the next seven years so that it is generating $500,000 per year. John is approached by a national roofing company that wants to purchase his business for $1,000,000, plus an earn out of $500,000 for the next 12 months and a promise that John will not compete with the sold business.

June 2017
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Topics Employment

Judge Liam O’Grady of the U.S. District Court, sitting in Alexandria, has found a non-competition agreement overbroad and unenforceable because its geographical component was defined by an irrelevant factor that resulted in a zone of prohibited competition that was indefinite in geographical range. The non-compete in NVR v. Nelson prevented the defendant / former employee from, among other things, providing competing services anywhere he had obtained Confidential Information during the 24 months immediately preceding his termination.