Legislative update from the ISBA: Week of 1/23/17
Watch this seven-minute video update from Jim Carney, who leads the ISBA's legislative counsel team. He discusses the judicial budgeting process and legislation introduced thus far in this 2017 session.
Iowa's Court of Appeals celebrates its 40th anniversary
The Iowa Court of Appeals first heard oral arguments and issued opinions 40 years ago this month. It was created by the legislature to help ease the supreme court's docket, which was taking almost two years to complete.
The first oral arguments were presented to the court on Jan. 17, 1977. Its first set of opinions was filed Jan. 28. The initial panel, appointed by Governor Robert D. Ray, had five judges. It was expanded to six in 1983, then to its current structure of nine in 1999.
During its time, the court has had 29 judges, with former Chief Judge Rosemary Sackett maintaining the longest tenure, serving 28 years. The supreme court's website has released further information on the history of the Court of Appeals, including a complete list of past judges.
New ABA task force will consider due process rights in college sexual-misconduct cases
The ABA’s Criminal Justice Section has formed a task force to develop guidelines and best practices for the handling of sexual misconduct cases on college campuses.The guidelines are intended to ensure due process for both the victim and the accused, according to an ABA press release.
The ABA Task Force on College Due Process Rights and Victim Protections will be led by Andrew Boutros, co-chair of Seyfarth Shaw’s white collar, internal investigations and False Claims Act practice.
Standards for deciding sexual misconduct cases have been dividing victim advocates and defense lawyers. Some lawyers have complained that accused students can’t ask questions in hearings, and aren’t allowed to learn the names of their accusers.
Read more from the ABA.
IRS document provides updates, warnings for preparers
The IRS recently issued a document containing what it calls a wide range of hot topics for tax preparers. The document focuses on income credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). It also provides updated information on the paid preparer due diligence penalties, and warns about updating the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
Form 8867, “Paid Preparer’s Due Diligence Checklist,” now requires preparers to include the CTC and AOTC credits, as well as the EITC when filling out the form for each return. In previous years, the form covered only those returns claiming an EITC.
The penalty for failing to meet the due diligence by conducting interviews and asking adequate questions of the taxpayer for one or more of the income credits has now been increased to $510 per credit incorrectly submitted. The penalty is adjusted for inflation, but the IRS has already set the amount at $510 per credit for 2017 returns.
The IRS warns preparers that using an incorrect PTIN could lead to penalties and unnecessary contact with the IRS. The agency admonishes preparers to verify that they have entered the correct PTIN into their tax software for themselves and their employees, and to be sure to remove PTINs for non-returning employees.
A comprehensive look at these and other points can be found in this IRS document. The document contains numerous internal tabs for additional information.
Free webinar on retirement planning set for Feb. 1
The ABA Retirement Funds Program is hosting a free webinar on the challenges of managing retirement savings through life’s transitions on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at noon.
Among the topics covered in the hour-long webinar will be:
• Guiding principles for saving for retirement;
• Retirement planning tips and solutions for all of life’s stages from early working through retirement;
• The importance of starting to save early;
• Retirement planning options through transition.
To register for the free webinar, click here, then on the “Register Now” button.
SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
January 20, 2017
On January 20, 2107, the Iowa Supreme Court issued three opinions. In all three of the opinions entitled State of Iowa vs. Iowa District Court for Scott County, the State sought certiorari review of an order requiring restitution of law enforcement response costs following the defendant’s conviction for OWI. In all three opinions, the writ was annulled. Opinion No. 15-1255 is a published opinion; Opinion Nos. 15-2150 and 15-2151 are unpublished.
IN OTHER NEWS
Legislative action stagnates amid budget indecision
Republican lawmakers, riding high off of a decisive electoral victory, have been brought down to earth during the first two weeks of the legislative session as they grapple with the reality of the state's budget.
Des Moines Register
Time Machine: attorney Charley Wheeler
Among The Gazette’s archives are hundreds of negatives from the 1940s-60s, some marked with a minimal amount of information, but usually enough to send me on a fruitful search for the stories that go with them.
Cedar Rapids Gazette
Law doesn't bar Trump's son-in-law from serving as adviser, Justice Department legal opinion says
The federal anti-nepotism law doesn’t bar President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, from serving as a senior adviser in the White House, according to a legal opinion by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.
TIPS & TRICKS
20 legal marketing ideas for slow days
How to make your lawyer life more exciting
Three benefits of legal eBooks
Why lawyers shouldn't handle their own divorce cases
8 things every person should do before 8 A.M.
Litigation Attorney Goosmann Law Firm, Sioux City, IA
Goosmann Law Firm, Sioux City, IA
Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg & Helling PLC, Burlington, IA
Plaintiff Personal Injury Attorney
Hope Law Firm, PLC, West Des Moines, IA