In a roomful of business leaders, Governor Jerry Brown recently released a jobs-tax package that, as described by the Governor’s office, expands a jobs-credit and reduces taxes for businesses investing in manufacturing. The jobs-tax package — a three-point jobs plan — would:
1. Expand the current jobs credit by increasing the credit from $3,000 to $4,000, increasing eligibility to employers with fewer than 50 employees, placing a sunset on the credit at the end of 2013, and preventing double-dipping with the Enterprise Zone credit;
2. Provide a sales-and-use-tax exemption (SUT) for purchases of manufacturing equipment. Specifically, the proposal would include an exemption for firms in the manufacturing; biopharmaceuticals; alternative energy production such as solar, wind and tidal; and software publishing industries; and
3. Implement a mandatory Single Sales Factor (SSF) Apportionment for all multistate businesses. Read the rest of this entry »
In March the SEC finished receiving comments on an alteration mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act that changes the calculation which determines whether an individual can be considered an “accredited investor.” The alteration, which already went into effect upon passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, excludes the net equity an investor may have in his/her home from the calculation of his/her net worth. This change is significant because there are a large number of relatively small financial institutions that are only allowed to engage accredited investors as clients, given those institutions do not comply with the plethora of filing/reporting requirements generally required for public offerings.
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Earlier this year, The Network reported on some changes made to the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) whistleblower provisions by the enactment of the Dodd-Frank bill. In recent months, the Administrative Review Board (ARB) – the appeals board for decision issued by Administrative Law Judges in the Department of Labor – has made monumental transformations to existing case law regarding whistleblower retaliation claims. The alterations the ARB has made are a clear departure from previous SOX whistleblower case law and revitalized whistleblowing as a public service deserving of protection.
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1514A, it is illegal for any public company subject to SOX to discharge employees, contractors, subcontractors or agents for informing certain entities about certain enumerated SOX violations. If an employee suspects that retaliatory acts were taken against them for their role in reporting a SOX violation, the employee must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 180 days of the retaliatory act – increased from 90 days by Section 922(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act. After OSHA conducts an investigation, it issues an initial decision. If either party disputes OSHA’s decision, that party may appeal to the Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges. There, the purported whistleblower must establish a prima facie case for SOX protection. In order to establish a prima facie case, the claimant must prove (1) he or she engaged in SOX protected activity, (2) the respondent took unfavorable employment actions against complainant, and (3) the protected activity was a contributing factor to the adverse action.
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The Senate and House of Representatives recently passed legislation that revamps patent law by updating the process for challenging patents and awarding a patent to the first inventor to file a specific claim.Of particular interest to our readers, the “American Invents Act” (S. 23 and H.R. 1249) creates a new post-grant review procedure that applies to all patents and a special one (section 18) that applies only to business method patents relating to financial services. Read the rest of this entry »