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Business Law Articles

Data security and the vulnerability of the company car

By now, you’ve probably heard the horror stories about hackable cars. The most publicized concern is that digitally connected cars are vulnerable to hackers who could disable the engine or even take control of the steering. But while this kind of physical threat grabs headlines, a different risk goes relatively unmentioned: data security. According to a recent post in the online publication Motherboard, our cars may be housing an alarming cache of unsecured data. Reportedly, a

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OSHA recordkeeping rule stalled

In May of 2016, OSHA enacted amendments to its recordkeeping regulation that would require establishments with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA 300 logs and 301 forms electronically. But now that change is in limbo. At the time the change was announced, OSHA said the forms would be published on its website, with employee names and other personal information redacted. According to the agency, “making injury information publicly available will ‘nudge’ employers to focus on

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Tax reform impacts pass-through entities

Previously, net taxable income from pass-through business entities such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, certain LLCs, and S corporations was passed through to owners and taxed at their standard rates. Now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates a 20 percent deduction for this business income. The proposals on pass-through business entities were a hot-topic among lower and middle market businesses and were closely watched during the final months of negotiation over the tax reform bill. The

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Businesses benefit under tax reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a bevy of tax breaks, and most business owners will come out ahead. However, some tax breaks were reduced or eliminated to make room for others. Here are some of the most significant changes for businesses:

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Internet contracts must be apparent to be enforceable

If you do business using the internet, you want to ensure your internet contracts are enforceable. To do that, terms need to be presented in such a way that users have reasonable knowledge of them. Your internet agreements may cover a range of terms including: allowable use of the site, privacy policies, subscriber agreements, terms of sale, and credit card agreements. These agreements can impact where a lawsuit is adjudicated and whether arbitration is mandatory, among

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Tax write-offs for government settlements restricted

Included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a provision that disallowed tax deductions for settlements between federal agencies and companies accused of wrongdoing. While previous tax law already barred deductions for criminal fines and penalties owed to the government, businesses could still deduct payments made to compensate victims or correct damages. The effect, critics said, is that taxpayers ended up subsidizing corporate misconduct.

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Can a business refuse service to same-sex couples?

After ruling in favor of a baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving a florist who made a similar denial. The court sent the florist’s case back to a lower court, directing it to revisit the decision in light of the ruling involving the cake, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. In ruling for the baker, Jack Phillips, the court held that Colorado

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Glitch in new tax law discouraging business investment

In June, a group of restaurants, retailers, and industry associations sent a letter to lawmakers asking them to correct a mistake in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The law inadvertently increased the tax burden on a category of business investment called Qualified Improvement Property (QIP). The new tax law included a provision known as “100 percent bonus depreciation,” which allows businesses to write off immediately the cost of short-lived investments. Due to an error,

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California’s new data privacy law and your business

In June, California passed a consumer privacy law that could affect many organizations conducting business in the state. The law, which has been likened to the European Union’s GDPR regulations, gives California consumers the right to know what personal information a business has collected about them, including where it was sourced from and how that information is being used. Consumers also have the right to opt out of having their information sold, the right to delete

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Sales tax to hit online retailers

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that online retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence. The decision came in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. and represents a victory for brick-and-mortar stores as well as states that claimed they were losing billions of dollars in revenue. The ruling effectively overturned a 1992 judgment in which the court ruled that states couldn’t require businesses

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