Jacksonville Commercial Harbor to be Florida’s Biggest

The Port of Jacksonville aims to increase the number of containers it handles by 25 percent by 2012, and challenge Miami as Florida’s top port, despite forecasts of a slowdown in international trade growth.

More customers will move their cargo through Jacksonville instead of other Southeast ports, such as Savannah, Ga., as Jacksonville gains new shipping services, thus creating more competitive prices. The port’s container handling is above pre-recession levels, largely because it added new shipping services during the international trade slump.

The port’s earlier expectation of increased Asian trade creating a $1.8 billion annual economic impact and more than 11,000 direct and indirect jobs has been pushed back at least two years by the recession, said Roy Schleicher, the authority’s chief commercial officer. TraPac Inc.’s terminal isn’t operating at full capacity and Hanjin Shipping Company Ltd.’s terminal is expected to open two years later than expected, in early 2014.

Railroad companies have fared well through the recession and trucking companies are righting themselves as demand meets capacity, leaving warehouse operators as the most vulnerable to the delayed trade projections.

Within two years, the Jacksonville port should be up to 1 million TEUs and competing with Miami as the state’s top container port.

There is also untapped potential in Europe. The Jacksonville operations of Bacardi USA, Premier Beverage and Southern Wine and Spirits, along with Mercedes Benz USA and BMW of North America LLC, import from Europe.

The port’s robust service to the Caribbean and Latin America can also be leveraged to enhance its ability to work as a hub for goods going to or coming from Europe and Asia. Schleicher remains confident that the port’s logistic advantages — proximity to major highways and rail lines — and its access to a growing Southeast market will allow it to tap the nation’s appetite for imports.

Read more: Jacksonville port takes aim to be Florida’s biggest in 2012 – Jacksonville Business Journal

Only Forming a Florida Corporation or LLC will not Shield its Owners from Tax Liability

Most small business owners form what are called “pass-through” entities. Two examples of a “pass-through” entity are S-corporations and Limited Liability Companies. A pass-through entity means that, for tax purposes, the income of the business passes through to the business owners, and the business owners are taxed themselves.

As a general rule, forming a Florida corporation or LLC does not provide liability protection to its business owners for tax liabilities. This rule was made clear in the case of Littriello v. United States, 484 F.3d 372 (6th Cir. 2007). In this case, Plaintiff Littriello challenged the validity of the Treasury Department’s “check-the-box” regulations, 26 C.F.R. §§ 301.7701-1 to 301.7701-3. Littriello had incorporated several separate LLC’s, and he was the sole owner of each LLC. The operations of the LLC resulted in unpaid federal employment taxes totaling $1,077,000. Of course, the Internal Revenue Service brought actions against Littriello personally for these unpaid taxes. One of Littriello’s arguments to the Court was that the IRS had disregarded the separate existence of an LLC under state law. In their seven page opinion, the Court discussed the history of the “check-the-box” regulations and the difference between pass-through taxation and corporate taxation. After an extensive analysis, the Court found that the IRS may seek unpaid employment taxes from the sole owner of an LLC.

USCIS To Issue Redesigned Green Card

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced recently that it has redesigned the Permanent Resident Card – commonly known as the “Green Card” – to incorporate several major new security features.

The Green Card redesign is the latest advance in USCIS’s ongoing efforts to deter immigration fraud.

State-of-the-art technology incorporated into the new card prevents counterfeiting, obstructs tampering, and facilitates quick and accurate authentication.

The enhanced features will better serve law enforcement, employers, and immigrants, all of whom look to the Green Card as definitive proof of authorization to live and work in the United States.

Among the benefits of the redesign:

  • Secure optical media will store biometrics for rapid and reliable identification of the card holder.
  • Holographic images
  • Laser engraved fingerprints
  • High resolution micro-images will make the card nearly impossible to reproduce until a few years later.
  • Tighter integration of the card design with personalized elements will make it difficult to alter the card if stolen.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) capability will allow Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry to read the card from a distance and compare it immediately to file data.

In keeping with the Permanent Resident Card’s nickname, it will now be colored green for easy recognition.

new green card

Deportation for Tax Fraud

Filing a false tax return in violation of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 7206 can result in deportation of a resident alien, i.e. a green card holder, according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kawashima v. Holder (9th Cir. 2010). In a long running case Mr. Kawashima pled guilty to subscribing to a false tax return in violation of IRC Section 7206(1). His wife pled guilty to aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return in violation of IRC Section 7206(2).

Generally green card holders can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony.” Tax fraud in violation of IRC section 7201 is specifically defined by the immigration laws as an aggravated felony. Aggravated felonies also include any offence that involves fraud or deceit which exceed a loss to the victim of more than $10,000. The Kawashimas argued that since filing a false return (tax fraud) was specifically defined as an aggravated felony Congress meant to exclude all other tax crimes including filing a false tax return. The 9th Circuit disagreed, holding that under the plain language of the statute not only was tax evasion a removable offense, but so was filing a false tax return.

This is just another reminder that tax convictions can send you back where you came from…