Imagine this scenario: you’re excited about your new job with a large payroll processing company, and as a part of the employment offer, you’re directed to a company website that contains the terms of a stock award program. You quickly skim through it, check the box indicating that you’ve read and accept the terms, and click submit. As you skimmed through it though, you missed that the terms included a non-solicitation clause that restricts you from soliciting clients and prospective clients for one year after you leave the company.

Are you bound by that non-solicitation clause buried in the terms of the stock award program?    Continue Reading Employment Law Update: Court Holds Internet-Based Noncompetition Agreement Enforceable

This information was posted and is current as of February 8, 2017 – as always, if you have questions about the current obligations of your business with respect to Sales and Use Tax or any other legal issue, please check with your attorney.

Attention software developers, graphic designers and data processing companies: as reported by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-2018 budget may significantly impact your business. While the proposal doesn’t raise broad taxes such as property tax and income tax, Governor Wolf proposed the elimination of a number of sales tax exemptions, including those on custom computer programming, design and data processing.

Under current Pennsylvania law, Sales and Use Tax applies to “sale at retail or use of computer hardware and canned software, as well as services thereto.” According to the same law, computer programming, computer integrated systems design, computer processing, data preparation or processing, information retrieval, computer facilities management and other computer-related services are not subject to Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax. Many of those terms are defined in the Pennsylvania Code section linked at the beginning of this paragraph. Continue Reading Pennsylvania Software Developers May Need to Start Collecting Sales Tax

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: I love Apple products. I mark my calendar for Apple keynotes  product announcements, and operating system release dates. I’m writing this post on an iPhone. Late last year, I took a big step in my relationship with Apple – I got an Apple Watch Series 2.

The original Apple Watch was released in April 2015, and I’ll admit, even as an Apple fan, I was skeptical. Overall, it appeared as though it just wasn’t ready for primetime. I convinced myself to wait and see what the next generation would bring.

When Apple announced the Series 2 and the third iteration of its operating system, watchOS 3, my primary concerns about the product were all addressed, as it featured improved battery life, better water resistance and a redesigned operating system.

Rather than write a review when I first got it, I waited for a few months to see how the Watch fit into my routine. Here are some thoughts, tips and tricks about how I use my Apple Watch during the workday. Continue Reading Connected: How I use the Apple Watch in my law practice

We’re trying something new on the Lancaster Law Blog – from time to time we’ll post roundups highlighting some of our content on a particular topic. In this inaugural roundup post, I’ll focus on a few issues that we’ve covered that apply to small businesses. If you have an idea for a roundup or just a topic you’d like to hear more about, feel free to contact us.

You’ve Formed a Business Entity – Now What? Silos and Piercing the Corporate Veil

Warning – this post is a unique blend of Lancaster County with a solid analogy between silos and the role of your business entity in protecting your personal assets. Learn more about what you need to do after creating your business to make sure you maintain the limited liability protection it was created for. Continue Reading Roundup: Legal Issues for Small Business

Last Thursday Matt Landis and I joined forces with Omega Systems to provide an update on managing cyber security to the Central PA Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. Here are a few of the latest cyber security threats:

  • Gmail phishing attack – A new evolution of the traditional phishing attack has recently been targeting Gmail users. Starting from a compromised Gmail account, the criminals send e-mails to their contacts, often with subject lines from real e-mails with that contact. When the user seeks to open the attachment in Gmail’s previewer, the user is prompted to confirm their credentials. DON’T DO IT. The convincing login box is actually a trap that will give the criminals access to your account. The criminals then quickly use your compromised account to continue the attack.

Continue Reading Keeping Up with New Cyber Security Threats

As income tax season is quickly ramping up, I am commonly asked by clients which parent can claim the children as dependents when they are separated from the other parent. And like any good lawyer, I often say it depends.

So what exactly does it depend on? According to the Internal Revenue Service, in order to claim a child as a dependent he or she must be a qualifying child. Assuming your children are qualifying children, only one exemption can be claimed per qualifying child. The IRS has determined that the “custodial parent” gets the to claim the exemption. The IRS has its own definition of “custodial parent.” According to their regulations, a custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of overnights in the calendar year. Continue Reading Tax season – Who Gets to Claim the Kids?

In a historic 2014 ruling, the U.S. District Court in Whitewood v. Wolf made same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania. This ruling, while finally allowing a sizable segment of the population the same legal freedoms heterosexual couples have always enjoyed created problems for some same-sex couples that had done their best to take care of one another in a pre-Whitewood world.

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, it was not uncommon for same-sex couples to go through an adult adoption. This was the only method available to them to create a legal family unit. By one partner adopting the other, couples were able to enjoy some of the protections and benefits only available to families. One of those benefits was a reduction of inheritance taxes. Prior to the Whitewood ruling, when one partner of a same-sex couple died, the other partner would have to pay 15% inheritance tax because the surviving partner was simply viewed as “other heir” under the tax code. Imagine paying 15% tax on assets you helped acquire during your relationship, while married heterosexual couples were taxed at 0% on the same inheritance. By adopting one’s partner, same-sex couples created a legally recognized family unit and reduced inheritance to the 4.5% of lineal heirs. While a vast improvement, the solution was far from perfect. Continue Reading Legalization of Same-sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Causing Adoption Reversals

Aaron Marines was a recent contributor to the January/February 2017 issue of Community Assets bi-monthly magazine for the Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley Chapter of Community Associations Institute.

“Associations are often faced with the question of whether they need to ignore their dog rules for an “emotional support animal.”  Many boards are surprised to learn that they DO NOT need to alter pet rules…”

If you are a member of Community Associations Institute, you can read the full article in print or online.  You may also wish to learn more about other issues relating to Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations by reviewing some of Aaron’s blog posts on the Lancaster Law Blog.

Aaron Marines is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University and practices in a variety of areas including Commercial and Residential Real EstateLand Use, Land Planning and Zoning matters.

Have you picked up a six-pack or refilled your growler lately?  As of this week you have a new option in Pennsylvania.  Act 166 was passed in the fall and went into effect on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.  It allows beer distributors to offer six-packs, individual bottles and cans, and even growlers for sale.

This legislation came in large part because the beer distributors were left out of much of the liquor reform that occurred earlier this summer with the passage of Act 39.  In that bill, which has generated much attention, restaurant licensees were given the ability to sell wine to-go, provided they obtain the appropriate permit, and breweries, distilleries, and wineries in PA were given the ability to sell other Pennsylvania-produced products, even if they had not manufactured it themselves.  Those were some rather sweeping changes to the Liquor Code that benefitted those industries but beer distributors were left out.

Opportunities for beer distributors came in Act 166, which they claim will better allow them to compete with the various bottle shops, grocery stores, and other establishments which sell smaller quantities of beer.  It was not that long ago that the PLCB changed its position and allowed beer distributors to sell 12-packs, but this legislation adds even more options for distributors and consumers.  Continue Reading More Liquor Code Changes – Six-Packs, Individual Bottles & Cans, Growlers now Available at PA Beer Distributors