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Month: December 2016

Losing the Home Office Space Means Losing the Tax Deduction, Too

Losing the Home Office Space Means Losing the Tax Deduction, Too

A recent article in Bloomberg reported that dedicated space for a home office is “less of a selling point” than it once was for home sellers. It’s appearing less often in real estate ads and marketing, and new-home developers are shifting toward open-floor plans containing flexible spaces, workspace nooks, and lots of handy electrical outlets. That’s all very well as a reflection of how modern connectivity allows many people to work from their sofa, in their pajamas, or at just…

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Keep Your Eyes on the Road: 2017 Brings New Cellphone Restrictions for California Drivers

Keep Your Eyes on the Road: 2017 Brings New Cellphone Restrictions for California Drivers

Existing California law restricts motorists from talking on a cellphone or texting while driving, except when using a device in voice-operated, hands-free mode. The current text messaging restriction applies to writing, sending, and reading texts on a cellphone or other wireless device while driving. The law doesn’t, however, address other uses of cellphones and wireless devices. So common smartphone and tablet features like internet browsers and GPS—which don’t involve text messaging—aren’t covered. (Cal. Veh. Code §§ 23123, 23123.5, 23124 (2016).) Realizing…

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Holiday Season Great for Home Deals—If You Can Cope With the Downsides

Holiday Season Great for Home Deals—If You Can Cope With the Downsides

A recent, informal survey by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA) asked its members—real estate brokerages that only represent home buyers—to report in on the challenges of shopping for a home during the holiday season. The responses are in most cases either entertaining—“Aftermath of a New Year’s Eve party including passed out guests complete with open and spilled adult beverages”—or daunting—“Sellers reluctant to show because house is a wreck or too much company in house” and “difficulties in…

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How Many Green Cards Were Misdelivered?!

How Many Green Cards Were Misdelivered?!

The title of the recent report from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General says it all: “Better Safeguards Are Needed in USCIS Green Card Issuance.” According to the OIG’s findings, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) “continues to struggle to ensure proper Green Card issuance.” Among other problems over the last three years, USCIS made mistakes on, or produced duplicate versions of, at least 19,000 cards. What’s more, the agency received over 200,000 reports from approved applicants saying that…

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