Monday, October 31, 2011


So, let’s say you have bad credit and you want to repair it with a group that promises it will give anyone credit… for a price.  Now let’s say that that group gives you $300 in credit, but instantly charges a $29 finance charge, a $6.50 account maintenance fee and a $150 annual fee against the $300 credit limit.  Further, the agreement includes a clause that compels you to arbitrate any dispute you have with the credit card company.  Will a court allow you to sue the credit card company anyway, despite that provision?  That’s the issue in CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood which is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I write about court cases in the Northern District of California for my blog. One case that has been moving through the federal courts, and was recently argued at the U.S. Supreme Court involved the issue of which statute governs in a case like the one above.  As Judge Claudia Wilken explained at the trial court:
The CROA [Credit Repair Organizations Act] contains a non-waiver provision, which states:
Any waiver by any consumer of any protection provided by or any right [to sue] of the consumer under this subchapter— (1) shall be treated as void; and (2) may not be enforced by any Federal or State court or any other person.
15 U.S.C. § 1679f(a) (emphasis added).

This apparent clarity is muddled by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) which states that federal courts will stay cases where a party has a valid arbitration clause governing the situation until arbitration is complete. So, courts are split as to which statute governs.  Courts in Texas and Alabama found that Congress used CROA to counter the effect of the FAA, but courts in Michigan and Pennsylvania found that Congress intended FAA to apply.

At trial, Judge Wilken sided with Mr. Greenwood and denied CompuCredit’s motion to compel arbitration.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed and CompuCredit affirmed.  At oral argument it seemed like the Court seemed in favor of reversing the trial court.  Justice Kagan asked about the significance of Congress leaving out explicit language of enforcing the FAA, when courts have repeatedly decided that such language is mandatory. Michael McConnell, the attorney for CompuCredit, only used a fraction of his time, a general indication that there was not much disagreement with his position and the Court.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Global Tax Proposals On The Way

Along with loads of responses towards global economic crisis and climate changing implications, bulks of proposals for global taxes have also ushered in. Global taxes on banks as well as all financial institutions; tax on specific international monetary transactions as well as on carbon for energy usage are some of the major proposals. Owing to the unpleasant consequences of the Asian Financial Crisis, the G20 instructed the International Monetary Fund to give suggestions whether tax should be levied on financial institutions as well as financial transactions.

After discussions, it was inferred that the primary objectives of taxes on financial institutions as well as transactions will be to recuperate the monetary expenses in order to bring out banks from financial crisis and also create a fund to handle such critical situations in future. Another purpose was to restrict speculative activities witnessed in financial transactions.

On the other hand, the sole purpose of carbon taxes was to bring into consideration environmental destruction using various energy sources with huge carbon content as well as to finance energy sources that are renewable.

Now, there are certain aspects depending on which the global tax would require an agreement:
  • Purpose of the tax – Whether taxes will be levied on banks only or all on other financial institutions, and whether global taxes would be applicable solely on fossil fuels or on all energy sources?
  • Tax base to be defined – Should bank assets or liabilities be taxed? Now, if any one of the options is chosen, what should be excluded?
  • Tax collection format – What are the bodies to be provided statutory in order to obtain the global taxes?
If you wish, you can also attend online global tax seminars to have a better understanding of various tax implications.

I-9 Compliance Help – Avoiding the Liabilities with Law

The federal law in recent times has come up with stricter enforcement to The Immigration Reform and Control Act. This strict enforcement ensures that every United States based employer needs to carry out stricter employment eligibility check for each new employee to the organization. The employment eligibility check was always carried through a document referred to as I-9 Form, which now comes with changed policies. Since, mishandling not pertaining to the changed rules can affect your organization poorly, it is essential on your part to seek effective I-9 compliance help for being sure with the employment eligibility check at your organization.

Remember, that the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, and/or the Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practice of the Department of Justice can ask any U.S.A based organization to provide the I-9 forms of all employees at any time. Therefore, it is necessary that you run a scrutinized check frequently ensuring that all employees have duly filled and submitted i-9 forms. To carry out the service better, you can consult an attorney for I-9 compliance help to manage the check better. It must be ensured that the forms are error free attached with proper verification certificates.

The 1-9 form that comes categorized in three sections require the employee to attest work eligibility in U.S.A and a review of the employees document verifying his eligibility and identity in its first two sections. The third section is for employees with temporary eligibility. Employers must make it a point to maintain all the duly filed I-9 forms in proper condition for minimum three years since the employment or termination date. Any misgivings in the form or its maintenance can leads to legal proceedings with monetary fines against the employer. Therefore, prevention always stands to be an alternative to cure when it comes to I-9 compliance help.

Employers are always open to liabilities in association with form I-9 and little mistake on the side can lead to great concern. It is better to be late than never.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Essential Questions to ask before hiring a financial planner


Being buried deep in debt can be a most unpleasant situation for anyone. It may even come to a point when you will need professional help to get your finances back in order. However, making this decision is not as easy as it sounds. Hiring a financial planner means stretching your limited financial resources to the breaking point.
You have to make sure that the financial planner you hire will provide you with 100% honest services and excellent money management tips. Getting a financial advisor is no joke because it means investing lots of trust and confidence in someone who will help you run your financial affairs more smoothly.
Besides, financial advisors are called in not only to help people manage their debts, but also to prepare for the future, such as retirement. That means that you open up more than just your financial portfolio to your advisor—you also let him in on your family history, plans for the future and personal priorities.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Manage Your Finances in Recession: Tips to Survive

Often the focus of your finances is on what you can be doing to make them grow, make them stronger and make them work harder for you. However, in a recession, you also need to be aware of the external forces which can affect your financial stability and which are out of your control. Knowing that interest rates will be fluctuating, job security will be fragile and credit will be hard to get can help you manage your finances and make changes which are within your control, to survive. 

To manage your finances in a recession you need these tips: 

    * Clear high interest debts. In a recession your high interest debts should be your highest priority and you should focus on paying them off as soon as you can. Your high interest debts are taking a big chunk of your budget each and every month and if money became tighter or if you lost your job, you would struggle to meet those high interest payments.

    * Over pay your mortgage. The last thing you want to have to do in a recession is sell your house, firstly because you want to maintain some stability for your family, and secondly because house prices plummet in a recession and you won’t get anywhere near the true value of your home. Therefore, protect your most important asset by making over payments into your mortgage. You can set up a direct debit of a higher amount each month, or you can simply deposit extra amounts into your account as they come in from cash birthday gifts or a tax refund for example. Getting ahead on your mortgage also gives you room in case you can’t meet your repayments for a few months.

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