Winter 2018 Gavel Winter 2018 Gavel - Page 24

THE ABA WINS FOR LAWYERS ON TAX REFORM ABA Mid-Year Meeting in Vancouver Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted the mid-year meeting of the ABA on the first weekend in February. When the House of Delegates convened, a few items of interest to North Dakota lawyers were considered. D A N T R AY N O R ABA Delegate The American Bar Association (ABA) won hard-fought victories on key tax issues affecting the legal profession in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017,” the comprehensive tax reform legislation recently signed into law by President Donald J. Trump. While not all ABA recommendations were incorporated into the final legislation, these issues were favorable for lawyers and law firms: Mandatory Accrual Accounting for Law Firms. Fortunately, ABA-opposed mandatory accrual accounting proposals were not included in the final bill. Had these proposals been included, they would have required many law firms to switch from cash to accrual accounting and pay taxes on “phantom income” long before it is received from clients. Tax Relief for Pass-Through Entities. Individual owners of pass-through entities— including law firms and other professional service businesses, up to certain income thresholds, will be allowed to deduct 20 percent of the “qualified business income” they receive from the entity. The ABA worked to ensure law firms received the same benefits as other pass-through businesses. Student Loan Interest Tax Deduction. The existing deduction is retained in the final legislation, as requested by the ABA in a letter to House and Senate leaders. 24 THE GAVEL Resolution 105 – Lawyer Well-Being The ABA’s Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs documented a crisis of lawyer well-being. The research demonstrates alcohol use, substance use, and mental health disorders among law students and lawyers far exceed other professions and populations. Resolution 105 urges stakeholders to consider recommendations set out in the report The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well- Being. Uniform State Laws The ever-diligent National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws provided the ABA House with a number of revised drafts for approval. • The Uniform Unclaimed Property Act was revised to embrace new types of unclaimed property, such as gift cards. (Resolution 112A) • The Uniform Direct Trust Act was updated to allocate fiduciary responsibilities among multiple parties. The modern trend of trust administration is to divide the trustee’s various duties among multiple specialists. The new uniform act provides clear default rules to ensure beneficiaries remain protected and each party is responsible for its own actions. (Resolution 112B) • The Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Protective Arrangements Act was approved. The current outdated uniform law governing guardianships and conservatorships is updated by impleme ѥ)ЁɅѥ́ɕ)ѡāQɐ9ѥMյЁ)Յɑ͡Iͽѥ +QUɴAɕхЀܤ)ɽ٥́хѕ́ݥѠɅݽɬ)ȁх͡ɕе)ɕѥ̸͡QЁɕ٥ͥɕ)ȸIͽѥ+QUɴAɽѕѕMɥ́Ёɽ٥)ɕͥٔɅݽɬȁѡ)ɵѥɅѥɽѕѕ)͕ɥ́ѕ䁍(Iͽѥ+QUɴIձѥYՅ) ɕ ͕ͥ́Ёɕѕ́хѽ)Ʌݽɬȁɕձѥ)٥Յɕ䁉ͥ)ѥ٥丁QЁ͕́Ѽɕٔѡ)ѥɅ䁅ɕ́ɽ٥ɥ)ѼѠɕձѽ͕̰́ͥ)Ʌمѥɽѕ)յ́ݡ͔٥Յɕ̸(Iͽѥ)IͽѥL)QQɕѵЁA嵕)Qɕѱ͕qQ ́))Ёߊt́ѡхɕѵ)嵕́́İ)ѕȁѡЁє́ȁՍ)嵕̰Ёѡ͔ɕ٥)ѡ䁹ȁ́Ѽх́)иQ Mѥ1܁)Iͽѥɝхɽ٥ͥ)ѡЁ܁ѡՍѥ)嵕̸) 䁥]͡ѽ) 䁥́ѡɕ䁍ɕѡ)ɥ́ѽѡȁ́ѡ хє)́ɽɽ́ѡչѼх)ѡ́ͅѼ ɕ̸ )ݥхɥȰ)]͡ѽ ))ɅЁ ȁ ɕ)M 9́ѥѡ)Ʌ) ȁ ɕ5Ʉ85(āѼ)չȸQ́ɕȁѥ́)ٽɥє́ɽ͵ȁݕѕɸхѕ)ȁ́ɕᕐѵɔ)5ɬȁ́݅эȁɔ)ɵѥɽM 9٥ȁ)ܹ͉ɜ