The Tax Man Cometh!! (Not Necessarily So) Eliminating Older Tax Debt in Bankruptcy

Often, I consult with individuals with tax debt, income tax debt owed to the IRS for past years, as much as 10 years in the past, and as recently as last year. Often, my clients are sustaining IRS agreements to pay back taxes in the tens of thousands, $20,000, $35,000, even $80,000. Are you, too? Do you owe the IRS? Is this making life too difficult financially? You probably want to know if this debt can be eliminated in a bankruptcy case. And, if so, you probably want to know how much can be eliminated. The answers depend upon several factors. But, yes, indeed, it is possible to discharge old tax debt in bankruptcy – old tax debt. And this debt is in addition to generally unsecured obligations such as credit card debt, medical debt, pay day loans, and so forth. If you need a fresh financial start from your debt burdens, understand that income taxes may be included therein. Bankruptcy allows the discharge of tax debt in certain circumstances. Of course, you cannot discharge … [Read more...]

IS MY INJURY SEVERE ENOUGH TO REPORT?

Always always always report your injury! No matter how minor. A lot of people think, "Let me see if it will get better." This is the wrong idea. I have had clients get a scratch, and think nothing of it, until they are in the hospital weeks later due to an uncontrollable infection requiring amputation of the affected body part! By law, you have THIRTY (30) days to report your injury to your employer from the date that you realized you sustained a work related injury. So the sooner the better, since one of the first issues that will arise is "What took you so long to report it?" If you do not report your injury to your employer within 30 days of knowing about it, you will be barred from filing a work comp case. There would be nothing an attorney could do to help you at this point. What and how should you go about reporting your injury? You must report it to someone that is higher-up than you. Not a co-worker. It must be a foreman, boss, supervisor and even HR. Keep proof of when … [Read more...]

EVERY YEAR ABOUT THIS TIME PEOPLE LOSE THEIR MINDS

Every year about this time people lose their minds. It is the holiday and holidays are special. Who better to spend them with than our children? I completely understand. This last weekend the phone rang off of the hook because “primary conservators” did not let the visiting parent have the child. Texas Family Code 153 contains the Texas Standard Possession Schedule. In my opinion the very most important sentence in it is the sentence near the beginning that reads THE PARENTS SHALL HAVE POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(REN) AT ALL TIMES MUTUALLY AGREED TO IN ADVANCE and failing Mutual agreement the following shall apply. In practice I always break that into two sentences. The first THE PARENTS SHALL HAVE POSSESSION OF THE CHILD(REN) AT ALL TIMES MUTUALLY AGREED TO IN ADVANCE. In the absence of mutual agreement the following shall apply: If the parents will just work together a bit and think of ensuring the child has the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with the other parent … [Read more...]

DACA and Trump

There are many questions related to the future of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) now that President-elect Trump is due to take office on January 20, 2017. HISTORY OF DACA: Since the initiation of DACA in 2012, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have reported the number of approved applications to be about 750,000 which include work authorization for those individuals. It has also been reported that about 525,000 renewal applications have been approved. FUTURE OF DACA: Although the future of DACA is uncertain at this point, it is still important to discuss your options with an immigration attorney. You should know the risks associated with applying depending if it is your first time or you need to renew. In addition it is important to review changes that have occurred since your last application, such as criminal arrests or convictions that could impact you. The best way you can prepare yourself is to know your rights. It is important to seek … [Read more...]

INSURANCE 101

Insurance in our society has become a necessary evil. I use the word necessary because the law requires individuals to maintain certain types of insurance, including automobile liability insurance and health insurance. I use the word evil because: (1) it can be very expensive and (2) insurance can be very complicated. This article is intended to give you a basic knowledge of insurance as it may apply to your personal injury case. 1. Automobile Liability Insurance: Every driver in the State of Texas is required to be covered by liability insurance. Liability insurance will pay any damages that are caused unintentionally by any person covered by the policy up to the stated policy limit. The minimum required policy limit in Texas is 30/60 or $30,000.00 per accident and $60,000.00 per occurrence. In other words, if one person's claim for injuries exceeds $30,000.00, the most the insurance company will pay that person is $30,000.00. If ten (10) people make claims for injuries arising … [Read more...]

What to do after you’ve planned your estate

Congratulations! You’ve taken the necessary steps to plan out your estate if or when the unthinkable happens. But, now that you have these documents, what do you do next? Storage: Place your newly executed documents in a location that will be accessible by a loved one. Then, let your executors and/or alternate executors know exactly where the documents are located, and how they can be accessed. While uploading these documents onto your computer and sharing them with those who need it is helpful, ultimately the original documents will be required in either Probate proceedings or by the hospital or your financial institution. Update Beneficiaries: Your will and/or trust will only help to an extent. For your loved ones to avoid the probate process wherever possible, you’ll need to contact your financial institutions and/or employers to make sure that in the event of your passing, your executor and/or beneficiaries will have access to your accounts. By failing to do this, you’re … [Read more...]

Choosing Between waiting for Disability or Food Stamps

Earlier this year, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the program that oversees Food Stamps, found that the economy is improving enough to stop extending the time low income people could receive food stamps. The work-for-food requirements were first enacted under the 1996 welfare reform law. It requires able-bodied adults aged 18 - 49 who have no children or other dependents in their home to work, volunteer, or attend education or job-training courses at least 80 hours a month to receive food aid. If they don't, their benefits are cut off after three months. This timeframe was waived due to the poor economy, but now that the unemployment rate is falling, the three month limit is being reinstated. This could affect nearly 1.1 million adults, some of which are applying for disability. Here is the catch: if you engage in “work activity” (education and volunteering could count) while applying for disability benefits, SSA may use this as evidence of your ability … [Read more...]

VA Benefits

This Veteran’s Day, we take a moment to honor those who have served our Country and who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. Here is a reminder to those people and their families of some of the benefits (some well known and some lesser known) available to those who have bravely served our Nation. 1. Most people are aware of service connected disability compensation. If you have a injury or disease that you can prove arose from or during your military service, you will be eligible for disability compensation through the Veteran’s Administration. The amount of money you receive monthly depends on the severity of your impairment. 2. Another benefit that many Veterans do not take advantage of is the VA Service Pension. It is a financially need based benefit. If you are: over 65; housebound; unable to take care of yourself; or have a disability impairment rating of 100%; this could prove to be an invaluable benefit. 3. There are also dependency and indemnity compensation benefits … [Read more...]

Are you eligible for mileage reimbursement for attending doctor’s appointments?

Going back and forth to your doctors' visit can take time and money for fuel. Especially when you have therapy, that meets 3, 4 sometimes 5 times a week! In some cases, Workers' Comp. will reimburse you for mileage for doctors visits that are further than 30 miles one way. Having said that, there is a catch. If the Insurance carrier can locate a facility that could have provided you the same treatment within that 30 miles, they do not have to pay you for the mileage. What this means is, people that live in rural areas would have a better chance of claiming mileage because there are not many doctors available to you so you have to drive pretty far in order to get to a doctor. If you live in big cities like Dallas or Fort Worth it's a little bit more difficult since most certainly there are doctors within 30 miles of your residence that "could have" provided you medical treatment. I say "could have," since "would they" is not the standard. You would need to file your request for … [Read more...]

Rear-End Collisions in Texas: Those Golden Years Have Gone!

The fact that an accident has occurred does not necessarily mean that someone was at fault. As the courts of this state have long recognized: “It is not that in any case negligence can be assumed from the mere fact of the accident and injury...”. Hous., E. & W. T. R. Co. v. Roach, 114 S.W. 418, 422 (1908). Despite this truism, in years past it was frequently presumed that liability was a “slam dunk” in cases involving rear-end collisions. This is, simply put, no longer true. Juries in most counties are becoming more and more forgiving of such accidents, resulting in findings of non-liability. And the law is on the juries’ side. As the Austin Court of Appeals noted in Stone v. Sulak, 994 S.W.2d 348, 351 (Tex.App.—Austin 1999, no pet): “Though a rear-end collision may be some evidence of negligence of the rear-ending driver, we find no cases holding that a rear-end collision shows the negligence of the rear-ending driver as a matter of law.” The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has … [Read more...]