John D. Teter Law Offices



1361 South Winchester Boulevard, Suite 113
San Jose, CA 95128

Recent Blog Posts

IRS Warns of "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams

 Posted on August 04, 2016 in IRS Scams

Each year, IRS puts out a series of press releases warning taxpayers of twelve schemes they call the "Dirty Dozen." The items on the list can change from year to year, and several typically have to do with taxpayers attempts to game the system by understating income, overstating deductions, engaging in "tax shelter" transactions, and so forth.

But for the past several years, the top three items on the list have been identity theft, phone scams, and phishing schemes - situations in which ordinary people are vulnerable simply because they are trying to comply with the tax laws.

Each year IRS identifies literally millions of returns in which a thief has used someone else's Social Security number to claim refunds. While the agency says it is making progress in detecting and preventing identity theft, "criminals continue to look for increasingly sophisticated ways to breach the tax system," including phishing and phone scams.

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What is Business Law

 Posted on July 28, 2016 in Small Business Taxes

The term business law can be misunderstood. It leaves the impression that you could do a search in your local statutes and find a code with that term. If you did this, you'd be looking for a long time because there is no such thing as one body of business law. Instead, the term refers to the laws that apply to business. Notice the plural use of the word (laws).

Business law includes, in part, the following:

  • Contract Law
  • Partnership Law
  • Corporate Law (forming corporations)
  • Securities Law
  • Employment Law
  • Tax Law
  • Tort Law
  • Agency Law
  • Criminal Law (white-collar crime)
  • International Law
  • Construction Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Human Rights Law

What laws apply to your business will depend on the type of business you own. Some of these areas of the law can be complex and difficult to parse through. As a result, many owners and managers leap headlong into their activities without realizing that they are exposing themselves and the business to potential liability.

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Hire an Attorney Experienced in Wills & Trusts if You've Been Appointed Executor

 Posted on July 21, 2016 in Taxation Law

If you've been appointed the executor of an estate, you may wonder exactly what that means, how much responsibility you really have and if you have to accept your appointment. Well, you can refuse the appointment, but before you do that, stop and think about why you may have been appointed to begin with. The deceased obviously trusted you enough to handle his affairs, so consider taking on this role, even if you think it'll be overwhelming.

Some of the biggest reasons people decide to decline to be the executor include:

  • Residing in another state and worrying about traveling to the location the will is to be probated.
  • Feeling the job is too complicated.
  • Believing there's nothing in the estate that's worth pursuing.
  • No desire to act as the estate representative.

A Big Responsibility

The role of executor is a big responsibility, there's no doubt. You have to locate all of the assets, notify the beneficiaries named in the will, pay bills and estate taxes, and distribute the assets. Depending on the size of the estate, this could be a lengthy process.

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Estate Planning Includes Protection of Your Identifying Information

 Posted on July 14, 2016 in Taxation Law

In a time where technology makes our lives so much easier, it also makes it easier for identity thieves to steal our identity. So, we know that we all need to take necessary precautions to make sure we are not subjecting ourselves to this breach. But what about when you pass away? Even after our death, it's still possible for thieves to breach certain information. Here are some tips on to follow when you're considering estate planning to ensure you're protected, even after death:

Executor's Duties

When your named executor is getting ready to probate your will, he has many duties before him. Specifically, he's in charge of gathering your assets and paying bills.

Account Closures

One important part of his job is to close all of your bank accounts. Any money remaining in those accounts are transferred to a newly-established estate account. If your executor fails to close one of the accounts, that account can fall through the cracks and into the wrong hands. Make sure you list all of the accounts you have and attach that listing to your will, so your executor is able to close each of these accounts.

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Estate Planning: Why You Should Consider a Video Will

 Posted on July 08, 2016 in Taxation Law

When you think about writing up your will, you might think about printing out an official-looking document. In fact, you might have even seen online templates that allowed you to type up and print out your will yourself. Although you will still want to have a printed document with your final wishes printed on it, however, you may want to consider making a video will as well. As the name suggests, this simply refers to making a video of yourself reading your will and talking about your wishes. These are a couple of reasons why this can be a good idea.

Help Prevent Tampering

One thing that you have to worry about is someone tampering with your will before or after you pass away to try to make changes to it. Even though you might not want to think about someone in your family doing something like this, you should know that disputes among family members can become brutal when it comes to things like wills. With a video will, this is not something that you have to worry about.

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 Posted on June 30, 2016 in Taxation Law

Privacy and the sharing of personal information have many concerned when being contacted by a caller stating that they represent the IRS. Per John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement: "We are evaluating our contacts with taxpayers, outside of the examination context, to determine whether they present risks with respect to phone scams and other such threats."

The new changes will mitigate any risk taxpayers may take when providing personal information over the phone. Deputy Commissioner Dalrymple, stated the policy change clearly in his memo, dated May 20, 2016, "Effective immediately, all initial contacts with taxpayers to commence and examination must be made by mail, instead of the telephone, using the appropriate initial contact letters."

Implementing written correspondence as the initial contact in case examination will establish the validity of the communication received by the taxpayer. The Deputy Commissioner elaborates on the new policy change throughout the memo, indicating the following:"Employees will use the appropriate initial contact letters listed in the Internal Revenue Manual ( IRM ) to notify a taxpayer when a return is selected for examination, and will not make initial contact by telephone."

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Our Estate Planning/ Wills & Trusts Attorney Explains Intestate

 Posted on June 23, 2016 in Taxation Law

You may have heard of the term "intestate" as some point in your adult life, but never quite knew what it meant. Many times, you'll hear someone say "he died intestate", which means the person passed away without a will. And while this may not seem like a big deal, dying intestate mean the family of the deceased is left with a huge problem on their hands. This is why is so very important to consider estate planning/ wills & trusts early on.

Asset Distribution

When someone dies without a will, the distribution of that person's assets is left to the court. A family member (or close friend, for that matter), can apply to become the estate administrator. The administrator works in the same capacity as an executor would: he gathers the assets, pays the bills and distributes the assets to heirs.

Where the Problem Lies

If you think what we just explained sounds like an easy process, it's not as cut and dry as you think. The administrator must also provide the court with a family tree of sorts, which would rank the descendants of the deceased. This is how the court will divide the assets. The deceased's spouse and children would be considered first in line.

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Real Estate Law: Landlords Can't Refuse To Rent To Criminals

 Posted on June 16, 2016 in Taxation Law

On April 4, 2016, at the National Low Income Housing Coalition Policy Forum, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro announced, "HUD will use the full force of the law to protect the fair housing rights of folks who've been arrested or who're returning to their communities after serving time in jail or prison."

Roughly 100 million adults in the United States have a criminal record. That is about a third of the population and Castro identifies Black and Latinos being arrested at disproportionately higher levels as unfair. He cites statistics that while drug use is consistent across the population, brown and black people are more likely to be arrested for drug violations. This is a new interpretation of real estate law.

Castro believes many landlords instantly and without thought refuse to rent to criminals and those with an arrest record, no matter how long ago the conviction, and disproportionately affecting millions of people of color without good cause. The Federal government seeks to end this practice.

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Learn About the Different Types of Trusts When Implemting Your Estate Planning/ Wills & Trusts

 Posted on June 09, 2016 in Taxation Law

If you're considering estate planning/ wills & trusts, you may want to consider the different types of trusts available for estate planning purposes. There are constructive trusts, charitable trusts, asset protection trusts and revocable and irrevocable trusts. Your financial situation, along with a host of other circumstances, will dictate the best trust for you.

Irrevocable and Revocable Trust

A revocable trust is a trust that can be nullified or altered during the course of the trust maker's life. This trust is established to allow the trust maker to add property title to the trust and naming himself as the trustee. The trust maker can remove the property from the trust whenever he chooses.

An irrovocable trust is one that can't be nullified or changed after the trust is established. Also, the trust maker must appoint someone as trustee.

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New IRS Policy: Initial Taxpayer Contact Must be Via Mail

 Posted on June 01, 2016 in Taxation Law

The IRS has implemented a new policy relating to the means its agents must use to initiate contact with taxpayers. Effective immediately, when an IRS agent contacts you for the first time, that contact must be via a mailed notice.

Although a follow-up contact may be made by telephone (but not any sooner than 14 days after the initial letter is sent), it is required that any taxpayer selected for an examination (also known as an audit) be notified of this fact via mailed letter.

This action has been taken by the IRS, at least in part, due to the proliferation of telephone scams wherein scammers pretending to be IRS agents contact unsuspecting taxpayers and attempt to obtain personal information, financial information, and even payments.

If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, and you have not received a written communication from them before this, you should not provide them with any personal information. Instead, you should contact the IRS directly and inquire as to whether they are attempting to contact you, and if not, report the scammers.

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