January 25, 2021
State and Local Tax Audit Lawyer Hanover, MD
Crepeau Mourges regularly advises Marylanders, District of Columbians, Pennsylvanians, and Floridians in audits involving a variety of taxes administered by state and local governments. We have experience with a broad array of taxes, from sales and use tax, income tax withholding unemployment insurance, admissions and amusement tax, a variety of excise taxes, inheritance/estate taxes, recordation/transfer taxes, corporate taxes, nonresident withholding taxes, and many more. In addition, we can provide thoughtful counsel regarding delinquent state and local tax filings and payments, related issues and disputes, relief from taxes and penalties, and planning for multistate issues. Regardless of the venue or the size of the client involved, we strive to ensure appropriate representation when outstanding taxes, state tax audits, or similar issues require a thoughtful resolution.
Individuals and businesses alike live in fear of tax audits. Hardworking, law-abiding people might picture a team of state or city tax agents and investigators looking through every bank receipt and financial record with a fine-toothed comb. They worry they could be penalized for even the smallest discrepancy. But often a state or local tax audit is not such a source of trepidation when the process and issues are placed in proper context and managed by an experienced professional. Let Crepeau Mourges put our many years of experience and commitment to work for you and we will endeavor to prepare you for success and the minimization of proposed taxes and penalties.
When you are notified of a state or local tax audit, you may not be sure what your next step should be. For most, this is when they need to contact a tax professional like those at Crepeau Mourges. We can help those facing an audit to prepare for an inspection of tax and financial documents and to be prepared to answer any questions that government officials might have. Don’t go it alone. Even though competent counsel may be expensive, the financial and non-financial costs frequently exceed legal fees. Crepeau Mourges prides itself on the ability to efficiently identify issues and potential areas of risk and will work to implement a strategy that minimizes the overall impact to an individual or business.
Crepeau Mourges has extensive experience appearing before the administrative agencies and state courts where we practice and we are well-versed in the procedures affecting state tax assessment and collection systems. We strive to stay current with changes impacting our clients and we understand the diverse and ever-changing tax laws and enforcement policies. Regardless of the issue our clients face, our background and experience in related areas helps us to get up-to-speed on the facts and law that will bear on strategy. On top of advocating for you based on our deep knowledge of the legal environment, Crepeau Mourges will work to ensure that your treated fairly, your opinions and concerns are heard, and that you understand the options and attendant benefits and consequences – no matter what issues you are facing.
January 8, 2021
Employment Litigation Lawyer Hanover, MD
Even the most well-meaning employer is bound to have conflicts with its employees. Some of these conflicts result from a bitter break-up, others stem from an honest misunderstanding regarding agreements between a business and its employees, and, unfortunately, others result from reckless or intentional wrongdoing by an employer. Whatever the nature of the issue, Crepeau Mourges is positioned to advise businesses and individuals of their options and, where necessary, to vindicate their rights in a court of law.
Wage and Hour Claims
In recent years, there has been a significant uptick in claims made under federal wage and hour laws and their state counterparts. Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay “time and a half” to any non-exempt employees when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Failure to comply with this federal law, the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (MWHL), and other related state wage and hour laws can result in double or treble damages payable to the employee for all underpayments from the last two or three years. Making matters worse for employers, plaintiffs’ attorneys are incentivized to fully vindicate their clients’ rights – and sometimes not come to a pre-litigation resolution – because employers are statutorily required to pay reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by damaged employees. As a result, a failure to pay an employee for overtime can result in a judgment or monetary settlement costing well in excess of any wage payments that would have been due. And, furthermore, for those employers that engaged in the systematic underpayment of a class of employees, they can expect to see a single plaintiff attempt to transform the matter into a consolidated case or a class action. If this procedure is successful, the case can quickly turn into a matter of life or death for an employer.
At Crepeau Mourges, we are experienced with the procedural framework of these types of matters, have experience in reviewing and analyzing payroll documentation, and have helped many employers resolve substantial potential liability through out-of-court negotiations or favorable in-court settlements. If your business receives a notice and demand or a confidential settlement communication from a prior or current worker, you should contact an attorney immediately to ensure that can resolve a matter before it quickly escalates. Contact Crepeau Mourges today to discuss your options.
Wage Payment Claims
Similar to wage and hour claims, there has been a significant recent uptick in claims related to violations of wage payment laws. Under the federal framework, as well as most related state laws, employers can be held responsible for damages if they fail to comply with minimum wage laws or do not promptly make payments that are due. Both minimum wage laws and wage and hour violations can occur where a non-exempt employee is wrongfully classified as an independent contractor. Similarly, where a worker is promised or expects to receive a bonus or other remuneration and an employer attempts to withhold payment as a set off for some other liability or for a host of other reasons, a wage payment claim – which requires that earnings and wages be paid promptly – can quickly arise. As in the context of wage and hour claims, if this action is systemic and willful, it can result in double or treble damages, the requirement to pay an employee’s attorneys’ fees, and can result in other individuals making similar claims under a class action lawsuit.
Crepeau Mourges understands the many regulatory requirements governing the classification of workers, their status as an exempt or non-exempt employee, and the penalties that can beset an employer with a claim of noncompliance. We can also help a business to position a contentious matter in such a way that liability is minimized. If you have a question regarding your potential exposure to a wage payment claim or related actions, or if you simply want to engage in a due diligence review of your current practices, your business should contact Crepeau Mourges today for a no-cost consultation.
Other Employment Litigation: Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, Enforcement of Non-Competes and Non-Solicitation Agreement, Defending Employee Benefits Claims, and More
Aside from the experience of Crepeau Mourges in matters involving wage litigation, our professionals also have experience advising and defending employers in a host of other actions involving their relationship with their workforce. In many of these cases, careful planning and advice can help to avoid or minimize unnecessary and expensive litigation. Proper documentation and substantiation are a must in order to avoid investigation and substantiation after-the-fact. The knowledge and experience of the attorneys at Crepeau Mourges have assisted employers to understand and defend their rights in the following types of matters:
- Defending against wrongful termination or discrimination claims
- Enforcement and/or drafting of non-compete agreements
- Enforcement and/or drafting of non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements
- Defending claims against the business and/or its fiduciaries regarding employee benefits
- Defending against claims related to alleged mis-classification of workers
If your business is concerned with potential liability or is facing imminent litigation in any of these matters, contact a professional at Crepeau Mourges to see how we can help you. We will aid you in defending against alleged employer violations, properly structure future agreements and future conduct to minimize potential exposure, and help you to plan for the continued success of your business.
Crepeau Mourges Can Help You Prepare for an Ever-Changing Workforce
These are but a few of the types of claims that may be brought by an employee against a business or its owners and operators. As the regulatory environment continues to change, more and more statutory causes of action have been created and/or strengthened. For instance, changing working conditions have created an environment where discrimination claims, based on disability, age, race, or other conditions, may be more commonplace and allow litigants to recover attorneys’ fees. Moreover, the shift to a more mobile economy with stay-at-home employees creates issues relating to the scope of an employment arrangement and when an employee may be considered working (and relatedly creating potential duties and liabilities to the employer). Many, if not most, management and human resources departments are ill-equipped to deftly adapt to these changes and to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
Accordingly, it is more important than ever to ensure that your business is reacting to these changing market conditions and is prepared to defend their position before a state agency or in a court of law. Call Crepeau Mourges today to consult about employment-related matters, to ensure that you are prepared to meet changing requirements, and to defend your business from employment-related claims.
January 8, 2021
Employment Tax Issues Lawyer Hanover, MD
Employment taxes imposed and collected by the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities differ from most other types of taxes. Also known as payroll taxes, there are frequently two components: (1) amounts owed by the employer and (2) amounts owed by the employee. While the amount owed by the employer is collected in a similar manner to other business taxes, the employee’s share is withheld from their wages by the employer. The employer collects that portion on behalf of the taxing authority and is required to pay it over on behalf of the employee. That portion – also known as a “trust fund tax” – does not belong to the employer but is instead temporarily held in trust for the taxing authority. Income tax withholding and one-half of Social Security and Medicare taxes are generally trust fund taxes. If an employer fails to timely pay employment taxes, there can be serious repercussions to owners or operators of the business, including criminal and civil penalties. If you or your business have failed to timely file or pay employment taxes, you should contact the professionals at Crepeau Mourges to evaluate your options.
Failure to Pay Trust Fund Taxes
For many labor-intensive businesses, employment taxes can be a significant expense. During tough times, some businesses look to these payments as a slush fund to pay other expenses; problems can quickly escalate out of control, particularly if business conditions deteriorate. Due to the size and speed of this increasing problem and since this money is held on behalf of the employee, the Internal Revenue Service considers this a significant problem worthy of significant enforcement efforts. On top of the manpower and technology used to quickly root out these problems, the Internal Revenue Service and state agencies are armed with significant ability to assess and collect the taxes and associated penalties.
The failure to promptly file and pay employment taxes can result in significant delinquencies. In addition, unlike other taxes, the Internal Revenue Service assesses an additional penalty for failure to deposit these taxes in a timely manner. Failure to deposit penalties apply at 2% of the tax for one day of lateness and can increase to 10% more deposits that are 15 days or more late. When the amounts escalate quickly, the taxing authorities will act quickly to protect its ability to collect by filing a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (“NFTL”). As a public filing, an NFTL can significantly impair the ability to obtain credit and can exacerbate mounting business problems. The Internal Revenue Service also acts quickly to identify assets to collect from and can levy on those assets. Many revenue officers are less likely to make collection accommodations related to these taxes – such as by releasing the NFTL or delaying levy action – as they often signal significant impairment of the ability to repay ongoing business expenses.
Trust Fund Recovery Penalty
On top of penalties and more aggressive tactics, employment taxes also have another distinguishing characteristic from most other taxes: a portion can be collected from individuals, not just from the business itself. In many situations, if there is a significant balance due, revenue officers will examine and try to assess the “trust fund recovery penalty” against those that are responsible. Anyone actively involved in the payroll process – whether an owner, corporate officer, bookkeeper, manager, or otherwise – can quickly become an alternative option to collect the “trust fund taxes” owed to the Internal Revenue Service. (Most state taxing authorities have analogous mechanisms to collect state-level trust fund taxes, which include withholding taxes and sales and use taxes.) If assessed with the trust fund recovery penalty, those individuals become jointly and severally liable for the entire amount assessed. Revenue officers will pursue collection from those individuals with the same vigor as used to collect from the business and can continue with collection action even if the business is dissolved.
If a business falls behind on its employment taxes and is contacted by a revenue officer, competent counsel should be contacted immediately. The professionals at Crepeau Mourges are focused, capable, and willing to help. We can advocate on behalf of the business and those involved in order to avoid assessment of the trust fund recovery penalty. If those affected have interests adverse to one another, we can adjust our strategy accordingly and can make a referral for other competent counsel. Frequently, our strategy will involve the demonstration of the operation of the business or that certain individuals did not have control over financial decisions. We have also avoided assessment of the penalty by showing that certain individuals are not a viable source of collection. If necessary, we can advise on how to structure future operations or tax payments to minimize collateral damage. These strategies can help to avoid further aggravating an already bad situation.
In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities have increased their scrutiny of worker classification issues. Whether done to avoid taxes or not, treating workers as independent contractors rather than as employees can substantially reduce taxes for businesses. If selected for an employment tax audit – either randomly or after receipt of a Form SS-8 (Determination of Worker Status) from a worker – any worker classification issues will likely be examined. Even if the employer has a sound basis for the classification, taxing authorities generally presume that an employment arrangement exists or will find enough factors of behavioral or financial “control” to warrant such a finding. Negative results can result in significant assessments, lead to parallel investigations by other taxing authorities for other taxes, and devastate a business.
Crepeau Mourges has significant experience handling worker classification issues. We are well-versed in the different tests applied by the various taxing authorities in this context – from the 20-factor test, to the “ABC” test, and other control tests. When issues are identified prior to audit, we can help to provide an understanding of the tests and employ a strategy to strengthen a defense in the event of an audit. We can also advise on the available compliance programs, such as the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program. If an audit is imminent, Crepeau Mourges will advocate on your behalf. Previously, we have successfully argued for complete relief pursuant to Section 530 and have obtained favorable resolution through the Classification Settlement Program. Our goal is to not only minimize the impact of the worker classification issue in the context of that particular audit, but also to minimize the impact on other potential audits or lawsuits.
Criminal Tax Representation
For those dealing with high-dollar employment tax delinquencies, where “pyramiding” of liabilities may have occurred, where workers are intentionally misclassified, or in similar circumstances, there is a realistic possibility of a criminal tax referral. Prosecutors have a number of criminal statutes at their disposal, from tax evasion, to failure to file, to failure to collect, and others. These crimes carry significant potential penalties and, since the tax loss generated in employment tax matters is typically high, outcomes frequently are worse than those in income taxes. Prosecutors highlight the large tax gap caused by these issues and the significant need for a general deterrent effect.
In these types of matters, it is imperative to have a seasoned veteran like those at Crepeau Mourges at your back. We have represented clients under criminal prosecution in employment tax matters and have achieved favorable results under the circumstances. As with other criminal tax defense, we will thoroughly investigate the facts, present viable defenses and mitigating facts, and advocate for the government to decline prosecution or agree to pursue less significant charges or penalties.
Get Help from a Payroll Tax Attorney
Employment tax problems should not be taken lightly. If you have such a problem, you should consult with a legal professional experienced in payroll tax matters. Penalties can increase for those who think going it alone and making costly missteps. If you own or operate business in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., or Florida and you have an employment tax issue, contact Crepeau Mourges to discuss how we can help. We will work tirelessly to reach an comprehensive solution that meets your satisfaction.
January 4, 2021
Property Tax Assessment Appeals Attorney Hanover, MD
Some of the most common ad valorem taxes imposed are real property taxes and personal property taxes. While not paid at the federal level, in nearly every state and local jurisdiction in the United States, a tax is charged to the owner or user of property based upon some valuation of that property. Although the rates may appear low, if applied to the fair market value of the property without reduction, these resulting taxes can be significant for both homeowners and businesses. For businesses owning significant personal property, failure to properly categorize, depreciate, and claim exemptions for this property can result in significant overpayment. Many taxpayers are not aware of available procedural rules limiting increases in assessed values and available exemptions. Worse yet, taxing authorities are quick to try to raise tax rates in times of budget shortfalls and use methodologies that can frequently result in overvaluation of real estate and personal property. Crepeau Mourges has the experience you need to ensure that you are minimizing the taxes related to owning real estate and personal property.
Common Issues for Real and Personal Property Taxes
Value-based taxes, such as real property taxes and personal property taxes, are one of the main ways that state and local governments raise revenue for needed government services. The framework of these taxes varies from place to place, but there are generally a few main factors involved: valuation, classification, available exemptions and phase-ins, and tax rates. Depending upon the location of the property, there may be a state tax, a county tax, or even a city or town tax. These taxes are sometimes expressed in percentage rates and, other times, are expressed as millage rates. Different jurisdictions impose different exemptions based on the type or use of property, the type of owner of the property, the maximum increase permitted from year-to-year, different rates of depreciation, and other factors. Furthermore, different jurisdictions have different methodologies for the valuation of real property and when new valuations can occur. Finally, depending upon the jurisdiction and type of property, tax assessments are subject to different administrative appeals and litigation paths at different time intervals. Crepeau Mourges is well-versed in the various statutory and administrative frameworks and has helped many property owners to qualify for exemptions and to minimize assessments by advocating in both administrative appeals and in litigation.
Example: Real Property Taxes in Maryland
In Maryland, real property tax rates range from just under one percent in some counties to over two percent in Baltimore City. (Personal property taxes are assessed at a different rate, typically much higher than real property taxes.) Assessments are typically made on a triennial basis and are subject to appeal when re-assessed, unless an in-cycle appeal is filed in the interim or a basis for re-assessment exists (e.g., recent sale, construction, or change in zoning). Assessments are typically made by mass appraisal and are made at fair market value. Fair market value is usually determined by examining recent comparable sales or by applying a capitalization rate to the income of a commercial property. Property owners must affirmatively raise and renew the application of exemptions, such as use by a government or non-profit entity or for other statutorily recognized reasons. To challenge an assessment, the owner of real property must appeal to the Supervisor of Assessments, then to the applicable Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, and then to the Maryland Tax Court.
How Our Focus and Experience Can Benefit You
While there are many issues that property owners face in this area, Crepeau Mourges is prepared to provide needed insight. We can help you to plan for and identify available exemptions and explain how additional taxes may phase in over time. We can explain the classification of real and personal property, how different rates may apply, and how depreciation and other techniques can be used to minimize annual taxes. Crepeau Mourges can explain the administrative options available in the event that a property tas assessment is made or if conditions warrant making an in-cycle appeal. Finally, if administrative appeals or litigation benefit a client from a cost-benefit perspective, we will zealously advocate by presenting evidence on valuation, the availability of exemptions, and by using expert witnesses to bolster your case.
The attorneys of Crepeau Mourges set themselves apart from others in this field by combining an advanced knowledge of real estate economics, the finer points of valuations and appraisals, and the ability to litigate vigorously for our clients. We have significantly reduced clients’ yearly taxes by planning, applying for, and preserving exemptions and by successfully litigating for the reduction in assessments. Call Crepeau Mourges today to find out more about how we can help you to minimize your tax exposure. Alternative fee arrangements, including flat fees and contingent fees, are available.
December 23, 2020
Tax Collections lawyer Hanover, MD
For individuals and businesses with significant and longstanding tax delinquencies, the threat of potential enforcement actions by the Internal Revenue Service or other taxing authorities can cause significant stress. If matters are left unresolved, threats can quickly turn into harmful collection actions like the filing of notice of tax liens, levies on bank accounts, garnishment of wages, and, for the worst offenders, foreclosures of liens on real estate. These actions can lead to the loss of customers, reductions in revenue, closure of a business, and significant individual financial and legal issues. But these problems do not have to go unresolved. Crepeau Mourges has the experience, skills, and focus to help resolve your lingering tax issues and put these issues in the past. We can deal with these tax agencies on your behalf and negotiate an Offer in Compromise, installment agreement, or other collection alternative to address these issues.
First Steps: Stopping Collection Activity
Oftentimes, the tax notices and collections are so overwhelming that a taxpayer does not know where to begin to solve the problems. Even if they want to address it, they do not know what taxes and penalties are owed, what tax returns have or have not been filed, and who to talk to. If you are dealing with a situation like this, Crepeau Mourges can quickly identify the issues, work to cease collection activity, and get you on the path to success.
Shortly after being engaged, we can contact the appropriate officials at the taxing authorities to obtain a full history of your tax accounts, any collection activity, and any other issues. Since all tax returns must be filed in order to obtain a collection alternative, we can obtain the necessary information to prepare accurate tax returns for you or work with your tax preparer. We will advise of your current and future obligations to ensure that the problem does not needlessly persist. Sometimes, this involves hiring an outside accountant, finding a payroll services provider, or setting up a system to make required withholding or estimated tax payments.
If collection action has not yet begun, we will explain the different paths to resolving a matter. This might involve making voluntary payments, waiting for future events to occur, or something else. If collection action has already begun, we can devise a strategy to temporarily halt this activity so collection alternatives may be considered. Frequently, we file requests for Collection Due Process (CDP) hearings and Collection Appeal Requests (CAP) in order to slow collection action. In other circumstances, we can quickly work with taxpayers to prepare requests for Offers in Compromise (OIC), installment agreements, and other related filings, which can also temporarily stop collection action and allow taxpayers to more effectively work to resolve delinquencies. Fortunately for those actively pursuing resolution, a collection alternative that is pending or finalized will generally terminate any future collection actions, such as levies and garnishments.
Review of Financial Information and Selection of Collection Alternative
Once collection action has ceased – at least on a temporary basis – the attorneys at Crepeau Mourges will work in an efficient manner to collection necessary financial information and help you to select the best strategy. The proper path will be guided by a host of considerations from the amount of tax due, the type of tax due, the status of applicable statutes of limitations, prior and potential collection actions, remaining options for administrative appeals, business circumstances and effects on credit, and, perhaps most importantly, your ability to effectively pay these delinquencies over different time horizons. In order to obtain a collection alternative, taxpayers must present detailed financial statements – e.g., on a Form 433-A, Form 433-B, or Form 433-F – in order for the taxing authority to make a determination of “reasonable collection potential.” Crepeau Mourges will explain what information the taxing authorities require, how collateral effects can be minimized, and can accurately present and substantiate this information.
In addition, we have significant experience in preparing these filings and can effectively maneuver administrative guidance to minimize your “reasonable collection potential” and allow the most affordable collection alternative. We are prepared to advocate on your behalf to defend these positions, whether before an offer examiner, revenue officer, settlement officer, or a government attorney. Once we have documented your collection potential, we work with you to determine eligibility for the various collection alternatives and explain how they can resolve your issues.
Offers in Compromise: A Great Option for Those Experiencing Financial Hardship
For those that qualify, an Offer in Compromise (OIC) can be a great tool to resolve a tax liability. As its name implies, this method allows for a debt to be compromised (or resolved) in exchange for payment of less than the full amount. Although an OIC can be pursued based on a doubt as to liability or based on exceptional circumstances, the most common Offer in Compromise is based upon a “Doubt as to Collectability.” Basically, the taxing authority is willing to accept less than the full balance due because there is some risk that it will not be collected in full if it is required to pursue administrative collection. This gives the taxpayer a clean slate and allows revenue officers to devote their limited resources elsewhere.
To qualify for an Offer in Compromise, a business or individual must be able to document that it cannot pay off the balance within the remaining collection statute of limitations. This determination is made by filing a complete and substantiated Form 433-A, Form 433-B, or other financial statements, as applicable. Taxing authorities will review the reported assets and net income to compute a reasonable collection potential. For the Internal Revenue Service, most of these determinations are made by Offer Examiners in centralized locations to maintain consistency. Assuming the reasonable collection potential is less than the remaining balance, the Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers to pursue a Lump Sum Offer or Periodic Payment Offer, which entail different timing and payment options.
Crepeau Mourges has negotiated many complex Offers in Compromise on behalf of its clients. We understand your business and personal finances and will employ a strategy that works for you. We also can effectively present, negotiate, and appeal calculations that determine your ability to pay. Given that the overall success rate for Offers in Compromise is less than 50% and success can save taxpayers significantly, it is often in taxpayers’ best interest to seek out a skilled professional like those at Crepeau Mourges to ensure they are making the most of available procedures.
Installment Agreements: Achieve Tax Compliance and Minimize Related Consequences
If a taxpayer is not eligible for an Offer in Compromise or it is otherwise not feasible, an installment agreement can provide a good solution. Unlike an OIC, taxpayers are typically eligible for installments agreements regardless of whether or not they can afford to pay the balance due within the statute of limitations. Furthermore, there are many different types of installment agreement available and they vary based upon the type of taxpayer, the amount of tax owed, the amount of financial information provided, and other factors. The attorneys at Crepeau Mourges have successfully negotiated hundreds of installment agreements, including partial payment installment agreements, Streamlined Installment Agreements, short- and long-term installment agreements, and many other varieties. If properly structured, an installment agreement can help to resolve outstanding obligations with little collateral consequence to the taxpayer.
Most installment agreements can be negotiated over-the-phone with representatives of the Internal Revenue Service referred to as the Automated Collection System (ACS). For relatively low balances due, ACS can determine an appropriate option based upon verbal collection information collected from a Form 433-F. Many types of installment agreements can be administered by ACS; however, the Internal Revenue Service frequently changes administrative options and requirements and their authority is subject to change at different numerical thresholds. Even when a matter can be resolved through ACS, Crepeau Mourges can help to negotiate beneficial terms of installment agreements, including monthly payments, terms, and other conditions (such as if a notice of lien will be filed).
When installment agreements cannot be negotiated over-the-phone – whether due to a substantial balance, compliance issues, a specific type of installment agreement, or prior assignment to a revenue officer – Crepeau Mourges can help to negotiate the best result for you. We frequently work with revenue officers and other collection representatives and achieve positive results for our clients. As with other collection alternatives, we use our advanced knowledge to present your financial situation in a light most favorable to you. This frequently will result in an acceptable resolution.
Crepeau Mourges Advocates for Your Best Outcome
That said, if a revenue officer is not following applicable guidance or is acting unreasonably, we will do what is necessary for you. Depending upon the circumstances, we can use administrative remedies like managerial conferences, Collection Due Process (CDP) hearings, Collection Appeals Requests (CAP), requests for assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service to ensure that procedures and collection standards are followed. Crepeau Mourges has utilized these policies in the past to achieve the best outcomes for its clients, which have included minimal monthly payments, partial payment installment agreements, avoidance of lien filings, and other favorable outcomes.
Call Crepeau Mourges today to see how we can help you to resolve your outstanding tax issues with a collection alternative. Aside from our experience with Offers in Compromise and installment agreements, we can work with you to request Currently Not Collectible (CNC) status, abate penalties, obtain innocent spouse relief, remove holds on licenses and passports, and more. We will hold collection representatives to account, ensure that your rights are preserved and maximized, and help you to move forward with your life.
December 23, 2020
Business Planning lawyer Hanover, MD
All businesses encounter situations that require legal counsel, no matter their size, type, or industry. While some of these legal needs are fundamental, such as the drafting of formation documents or the review of significant contractual issues, others are unexpected, like disagreements between owners and partners and changes to rules and regulations. Crepeau Mourges provides sophisticated legal advice to entrepreneurs and businesses with significant issues across many industries. We handle matters ranging from the simple to the complex and can advise on a transactional basis or act as outside counsel through the lifecycle of a business.
Business Formation: Start on the Right Path
For entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, we explain the critical issues and legal options. The attorneys at Crepeau Mourges have advised clients in the formation of a variety of legal entities, including:
- Non-profit corporations
- General partnerships
- Joint ventures
- Limited liability partnerships (LLP)
- Limited liability companies (LLC)
- Sole proprietorships
Each of these structures has advantages and disadvantages. Some are more appropriate for certain types of industries and professions. Further, depending on the goals of those involved, each has different implications on issues such as the operation of the business, methods for making significant decisions, effecting changes in ownership, the taxation of the business and its owners, and personal liability of owners and operators. With the experienced and dedicated legal counsel of Crepeau Mourges on your side, you will get your business up and running smoothly, quickly, and effectively.
Business Operations: Well-Drafted Agreements Bolster Success
After formation of a business, situations arise where legal counsel cannot or should not be avoided. Any time a business enters into an agreement or contract with a customer, vendor, or business partner, an important legal relationship is formed. If executed correctly, these agreements will control and become a foundation for important long-term relationships. If not, these agreements can become a source of dispute and can lead to costly litigation. It is paramount that these agreements are properly drafted to accomplish your goals and to protect you in the event of future disputes or changes in business relations. Whether your business is faced with a lawsuit relating to a contract or seeks to vindicate its contractual rights, Crepeau Mourges has the experience to get the results you expect and deserve.
- Partnership agreements
- Operating agreements
- Corporate governance documents
- Employment agreements and handbooks
- Non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-compete agreements
- Stock purchase agreements
- Shareholder agreements
- Buy-sell agreements
- Promissory notes and financing documents
- Service and consulting contracts
- Franchise agreements
- Assignment agreements
- Customer/sales contracts
- Business and asset sale agreements
- Business succession documentation
- License application and agreements
While proper drafting is important, an agreement is only effective if it can be enforced. Crepeau Mourges can protect your rights under these agreements. We are experienced in resolving contract disputes and litigating complex contractual issues. Whether your business is faced with lawsuit relating to a contract or seeks to vindicate its contractual rights, Crepeau Mourges has the experience to get the results you expect and deserve.
Business Regulation and Taxes: Understand and Minimize Your Exposure
Business owners know that tax planning is a key component for success. We frequently advise on and draft provisions in business agreements designed to minimize capital gains taxes, income taxes, employment taxes, sales and use taxes, recordation and transfer taxes, and a variety of other federal, state, and local taxes imposed on the value of business property and business transactions. Our advice is designed to avoid tax to the greatest extent possible, within the bounds of the applicable laws. We have assisted clients in preparing complex tax returns and disclosures designed to preserve these positions and minimize exposure to costly penalties. Where necessary, Crepeau Mourges will defend these positions in federal, state, and local tax controversies before the Internal Revenue Service and other enforcement agencies – from audit, to administrative appeal, and, if necessary, in litigation.
Unlike other firms offering business and tax advice, Crepeau Mourges also has significant experience in tax planning, tax controversies, and government audits and investigations. This unique background allows us to communicate critical provisions of important business and legal documents and to explain, from a practical standpoint, how they can be enforced by the federal, state, and local enforcement authorities, including the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Labor. After all, an expensive and complicated agreement designed to save significant taxes or fees is of little value if it cannot withstand scrutiny in an enforcement action. Highly regarded by others in the legal community, Crepeau Mourges has applied this knowledge in matters where we provide outside counsel, expert witness services, and litigation support services as well.
Need Business Advice? Call Crepeau Mourges Today!
If you face a challenging business situation or are planning for future successes of your business, your first call should be to the advisors at Crepeau Mourges. Our clients rely on us to advise during the entire lifecycle of their business – from formation to dissolution. We are here to devise sound business plans, draft necessary documents, and implement strategies. We will work to enforce and maintain the integrity of your business decisions and agreements against private litigants or government authorities.
Contact the advisors at Crepeau Mourges today for a consultation. We proudly represent business owners in planning and enforcement matters in Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and Florida. Crepeau Mourges represents clients with matters before the Internal Revenue Service across the country and around the world.
December 23, 2020
Business Litigation Lawyer Hanover, MD
Legal conflicts are expensive and can be destructive to the operations of a business. Whether a matter involves a dispute with the government, a competitor, a former partner, or an employee, the attorneys at Crepeau Mourges understand the importance of efficiently resolving disputes to minimize financial costs, a potential breakdown in relations between stakeholders, and disruption to the business. Our advice and strategy is built upon a strong understanding of the law, your business, and your goals. The reputation of Crepeau Mourges has been forged from our practical, comprehensive, and zealous representation of clients in high-stakes business matters.
At Crepeau Mourges, we are prepared to provide needed counsel to businesses, owners, and employees involved in these significant conflicts. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants in complex matters involving disputes between business competitors and partners, contract litigation and commercial tort claims, corporate dissolution matters, enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements with employees, wrongful termination and discrimination claims, wage claims, torts related to failure to exercise fiduciary duties and professional liability, franchise litigation, and disputes between owners, to name a few. We also focus on providing skilled defense for businesses and individuals faced with examinations or litigation against the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, United States Department of Labor, Securities and Exchange Commission, and related federal and state regulatory agencies.
Unlike some firms, we pride ourselves on our ability to understand your needs and work to achieve the best result from a holistic standpoint. In many cases, we can effectively manage a matter to avoid litigation altogether by working with opposing counsel and using alternative dispute resolution practices. We have a firm grounding in the many options available to resolve business disputes, and we draw on that background in forming a strategy. Even when litigation cannot be avoided – whether because of the high stakes, the parties’ hostility or for other reasons – Crepeau Mourges is focused on achieving a resolution that benefits you. Where the situation dictates, we will pursue all available legal and equitable relief, including injunctive relief. The attorneys of Crepeau Mourges also have significant experience in motions practice and trial strategies that have benefited clients in federal and state courts.
Whether you have received a legal complaint, formal demand, notice of investigation, or need advice regarding an ongoing business dispute, you should contact the advisors at Crepeau Mourges to discuss your options. We can put the issues in context and devise a strategy to achieve your goals and protect your financial future. Contact Crepeau Mourges today to see how our unique focus and experience can benefit you.
Managing Business Disputes
Our business litigation lawyer in Hanover, MD, knows that starting a business is rewarding, but it also can result in trials and tribulations if not adequately handled. When business owners do not take the proper steps to protect themselves, it’s possible to face business disputes that can profoundly impact the business’s health. Business owners are at risk for facing litigation that can drain a business’s finances and may take owners away from their primary business objectives. Our team at Crepeau Mourges has represented business owners who may find themselves managing litigation as a result of the following:
- Employment Discrimination
- Disputes Among Partners
- Civil Claims
- Infringement Upon Intellectual Property
- Breach of Contracts
- Tax Issues
- Shareholder Disputes
- Claims of Professional Negligence
Business owners should rely on the insight of experienced attorneys from the very start of forming their business to avoid legal entanglements. While a lawyer can help prevent issues down the road, they can also play a critical role in managing problems should they arise. With representation, business owners can have the protection they require when they need it the most.
Determining Whether to Move Forward with Litigation
It’s best to rely upon the experience of a Hanover, Maryland business litigation lawyer for guidance in how best to move forward when experiencing potential legal issues. Litigation can be both costly and time-consuming, and because of this, moving towards taking this step should be one of the last considerations. Before taking this route, it would be prudent to attempt to reach resolutions through negotiations. It may be possible to resolve problems before they become a more significant issue. At times, it may be necessary to move towards litigation in hopes that business owners and their opponents can reach an agreeable resolution for all parties. Knowing how to move forward can be complicated, and it will be necessary to weigh options carefully and have an understanding of the process ahead should litigation be the appropriate way to move forward:
Consultation with a Lawyer
Most business owners will already have retained the services of a lawyer but, if they have not, it’s essential to speak with a qualified business lawyer as quickly as possible. They will work closely with you to understand the details of the dispute to determine the best way to move forward. It’s best to prepare for the first meeting by bringing all documentation relevant to the case.
The Negotiation Process
As mentioned, before moving towards court proceedings, it’s best to attempt to negotiate a possible resolution- if at all possible. Not only does this save time for all parties involved, but it can also save substantial amounts of money. A lawyer will negotiate a potential resolution to avoid the issue escalating to litigation. In some situations, it may be possible to reach an agreement and avoid costly litigation down the road.
Proceeding with Trial
When negotiations and mediation efforts are fruitless, the case may proceed to trial. At this point, the outcome is no longer in the hands of the parties but the court. A judge or jury will hear evidence presented and arguments made by prospective lawyers and ultimately decide the outcome.
It’s Important Not to Delay
Owning a business can come with many rewards, but risks are also associated with this. Lawyers can assist in business planning to reduce problems from arising. However, despite this, it’s still possible to experience legal issues, and having a law firm like Crepeau Mourges is an investment worth making. Whether you are a business owner in the process of forming a business, currently running a business, or are facing legal issues working with a reputable law firm will be imperative. Don’t wait- schedule a consultation with a Hanover, MD, business litigation lawyer to learn more about our services.
December 22, 2020
Government Audits and Internal Investigations Attorneys Hanover, MD
Even for the most effectively run businesses, it is difficult to completely eliminate misconduct and fraud. In today’s political and social climate and with increased calls for information and transparency, the need for strong internal controls and reviews continually grows. But not even the most rigorous controls, extensive oversight, or strong management can prevent all unexpected problems – as can be seen from recent events. Crepeau Mourges understands this and can help your business prepare for the worst – whether through proactive investigation or through zealous advocacy in an investigation or litigation.
In recent years, small and large businesses have been targeted by both internal and external whistleblowers looking to cause problems, force business changes, or to receive a payout. Additional public disclosures from companies have given ammunition for investors and class action attorneys to initiate derivative actions against corporations for even the slightest misdeeds. Employee discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct have caused problems for board members – even when the issues were thought to have been thoroughly resolved. And finally, an increased call for oversight of certain industries and programs have resulted in expanding government investigations, large financial settlements, and, in some cases, even criminal litigation. Crepeau Mourges has wide-ranging experience handling pre-litigation internal investigations, representing clients in governmental audits, and adeptly representing clients faced with litigation.
If a business has discovered some level of wrongdoing, has been contacted by a government agency, has received notification of litigation, or is concerned with potential misconduct, the attorneys at Crepeau Mourges can provide value and limit the financial exposure of the business and its stakeholders. When a company does not properly conduct its affairs and fulfill its obligations to shareholders, the entity, its board members, officers, and other employees could face the following consequences:
- Civil and criminal liabilities, involving both financial penalties and incarceration, for specific acts and omissions under a host of regulatory frameworks
- Potential derivative suits claiming a breach of fiduciary duties by officers, directors, and employees seeking discharge of those individuals or significant financial consequences or restraints related to these individuals
- Increased public scrutiny resulting in loss in trust, goodwill, and value of the business
- Government investigations and litigation that can result in disclosure of confidential and proprietary information in the public sphere
- Potential for expensive and drawn-out litigation attracting negative publicity
- Remediation of perceived misconduct or wrongdoing requiring implementation of burdensome additional safeguards and internal controls
With early intervention, the attorneys at Crepeau Mourges can explain the legal environment, consider business conditions, and work with stakeholders to direct and advocate for a favorable resolution. The background and experience of Crepeau Mourges provides a unique ability to advise our clients and explain our comprehensive strategy. Unlike other firms, we have experience handling complicated forensic accounting engagements, providing litigation support to other advisors, and working with experts and consultants in administrative investigations and litigation. We have handled matters involving derivative litigation, matters involving resolution of improprieties through proactive voluntary disclosures and private settlements, matters involving forensic accounting to expose misconduct and mitigate corporate liability, and government audits conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and others.
Our focus in this area allows us to effectively conduct the extensive fact-finding involved – including selecting experts and conducting investigative interviews – and to ensure that all actions are appropriately documented. We understand the wide-ranging legal issues and business considerations and advise stakeholders on their legal responsibilities – all while working to maintain attorney-client privilege and confidentiality over business matters and property. Crepeau Mourges is prepared to protect and fight for you against claims by the government, whistleblowers, and other litigants. We are there for you until the end and will see that post-resolution requirements and other safeguards are properly implemented to avoid future problems. Call Crepeau Mourges today to discuss how we can help to manage these problems and ensure the future success of your business.