Category Archives:News

Video and Audio Recording

Increasingly homes have video and audio surveillance equipment. In the context of real estate buying and selling, is it legal for the seller to record the showing and what buyers and agents are saying about his property? In a more general setting, is it legal for one to videotape a meeting or record a conversation?

Ohio law addresses both audio and video recordings. Under Ohio law a seller is permitted to use surveillance equipment to video record on his property. However, there are some limitations on that. For example, a seller should not record in locations where there is an expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom.

Audio recordings have stricter requirements. Under Ohio law, in order to legally make an audio recording, at least one person being recorded must consent to the recording. So in a real estate context, in order to audio record conversations during a showing of a property, one of the individuals at the showing should consent to the recording. Since seller normally will not present during the showing, consent must be secured from buyer’s agent or the buyer.

In a general setting, if one is a party of a conversation, then audio recording is ok. If he/she is not a party, then consent must be secured from a party in the conversation.

Violations of the above law are a 4th degree felony under Ohio law.

Legal articles provided by Lei Jiang LLC are intended to provide broad, general information about the law and is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, please seek advice from an attorney.

If you have any criminal case, please contact us.

Lei Jiang LLC, 2019. All rights reserved.

2019 Tax Savings for Real Estate Investors (Part 2 of 2)

  1. New 20% Tax-Free Treatment
  2. Under the new tax reform, wholesalers, flippers, syndicators, real estate brokers, and real estate agents may all be eligible for a new 20% tax-free treatment. For example, if you have eligible taxable income of $1000, the first 20% of it ($200) may be completely tax-free.  You would only pay taxes on the remaining $800. This will be a big saving. Be sure to utilize it.  Details please see IRS Code Section 199A.

  3. Safe-Harbor Rules
  4. What hat about landlords and investors of short-term rentals? What about investors doing buy-rehab-rent-refinance? Those income potentially also have the ability to receive a 20% tax-free treatment. The IRS came out with some safe-harbor rules on what need to do in order to obtain that benefit.  Check out IRS Code for more information.

  5. Opportunity Zones
  6. Are you looking to sell your appreciated rental property but face capital gains taxes? Or are you looking to move money to real estate? Instead of paying taxes on the capital gains, you now have an “opportunity” with the brand-new Opportunity Zone laws to defer taxes on the gain.

    Re-invest your capital gains within 180 days of the sale into qualified Opportunity Zone funds to defer your taxes. After holding onto the Opportunity Zone asset for five years, part of your deferred gain may to be permanently tax-free. Moreover, if you hold your investment for more than 10 years, 100 percent of the post-acquisition gain on the Opportunity Zone property may be permanently tax-free.

    Please feel free to call us on whether a property is in an Opportunity Zone in Ohio. You should not miss this great opportunity.

  7. Paying Towards Retirement
  8. Before the end of the year, make sure you talk with us or your tax advisor on ways to pay towards your retirement rather than to pay the IRS. You may be able to contribute up to $56K to reduce your tax bill and have that money grow for you tax-deferred in real estate assets.  The best type of retirement account and the maximum amount you can contribute will depend on a few factors. Make sure to have a complete strategy before filing your taxes.

It is often said, it’s not just about how much money you make – it’s about how much of it you get to keep. Contact us for your real estate and wealth management questions.

Attorney Lei Jiang holds a US JD degree and studied LLM in US Taxation. She has been practicing real estate and business law since 2009 and since helped numerous real estate investors in all aspects of their ventures.  Call (440) 835-2271 for consultation.

Lei Jiang LLC 2019 . All rights reserved.

2019 Tax Savings for Real Estate Investors (Part 1 of 2)

New tax reforms changed real estate investors’ tax strategies in 2019. As a real estate attorney with extensive tax training, a broker, and an investor, I want to share some of the tax strategies you should know for 2019 tax.

  1.  Deductions
  2. Deductions are not only rental related expenses like interest, taxes, management fees, but also include many overlooked legitimate deductions that are not property specific. Examples of commonly missed deductions are business related car expenses, business travel costs, business meals, education expenses, membership costs, real estate books, and home office. These expenses can add up during year and can help you save big tax dollars.

  3. Deducting Interest Expenses
  4. Under the new tax reform, interest related to home equity line of credit (HELOC) on the primary homes are no longer deductible. However, if you took out a primary home HELOC and used that money for real estate investments, you can still deduct the interest against the rental income or flip income.  Make sure you inform your tax preparer/accountant about it.

  5.  Investment-Specific Interest and Taxes
  6. Tax reform also places a new limitation on how much can be deducted for property taxes and mortgage interest on our primary homes. But these limitations do not apply to real estate investments. Therefore, be sure to talk to your tax preparer about it. Whether you are a landlord or flipper, you can generally fully deduct the interest and taxes for your investment properties.

  7. Bonus Depreciation
  8. On the up side, tax reform provided us with 100 percent bonus depreciation in 2019.  So, if you are a real estate investor who is buying appliances, furniture, equipment, laptops, and other assets for your real estate business, you may be able to write off up to 100 percent of those costs immediately rather than depreciate them over many years. Moreover, bonus depreciation strategy can be used with or without a legal entity, and it can be used with new or used assets.

—To be continued.

Attorney Lei Jiang holds a US JD degree and studied LLM in US Taxation. She has been practicing real estate law since 2009 and helped real estate investors in all aspects of their ventures.  Call (440) 835-2271 for consultation.

Lei Jiang LLC, 2019. All rights reserved.

Five Straight Years as Super Lawyers Rising Star

Ms. Jiang is once again selected as Super Lawyers Rising Star for 2019, an honor reserved for only 2.5% of lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice in their early years.

Ms. Jiang was first selected to the Ohio Rising Starts in 2015. Since then, she has continued the pursuit of excellence in the legal profession and has been selected as Rising Star continuously since.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.

Ms. Jiang is admitted to practice law in Ohio, New York, Michigan and Illinois. Since 2009, she has focused her practice on several legal areas including corporate law, real estate, immigration, intellectual properties, and litigation. We congratulate Ms. Jiang for her excellent work in these ever changing legal fields.

A Complete Success in Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

On September 27, 2018, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio’s ruling on all aspects in Rui He, et al. v. Davor Rom, et al. Case No. 17-3411. This marked a complete victory for Plaintiffs in this case. Plaintiffs-Appellees were led by attorney Lei Jiang in this appeal.

The case was initially filed as a class action. It is related to real estate. Defendant-Appellant Davor Rom and his various companies sold over three hundred (300) distressed real estate properties as highly lucrative investment opportunities to foreign investors from six continents. It was a large-scale fraudulent scheme which harmed more than 140 investors.

Subsequent to Sixth Circuit decision, Defendants-Appellant filed en banc rehearing request. Defendants can also try to petition U.S. Supreme Court for hearing.

This is a very complex case involving a large amount of electronically stored information and international transactions, many parties, numerous linked parts, and intricate schemes. If your case is this complex and the stakes are this high, you certainly need a skilled litigation law firm to represent you. Please contact us.

Successful Criminal Defense in a Michigan State Court

On April 27, 2018, one of our cases was dismissed by 67th District Court, Case no. 17TA0776. Our client was charged with a felony crime. After good effort on part of the attorneys, we successfully got the case dismissed. The client is free of all charges.

Our client is exuberated over the result. It is especially important due to her immigration status. Thereafter, she gave our legal service a “5” star rating. To see other clients’ rating of us online, please go to https://www.avvo.com and find attorney Lei Jiang. More than 50 clients have rated legal service provided by our lead counsel, Ms. Lei Jiang, a five star service!

Whether it is a criminal or civil case, we handle your case with uttermost care and best effort. If you or your company need a competent law firm to handle disputes or litigation, please contact us.

 

A Possible Path for International Entrepreneurs

On December 14, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would take steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER) in accordance with a court decision on December 1, 2017.

IER was published during the Obama administration to provide an unlimited number of international entrepreneurs a new opportunity to apply for parole, enter the U.S. and use American investments to establish and grow start-up businesses.

Since this is parole, it is a discretionary grant made by the Secretary of Homeland Security and is granted only on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, the Trump administration has made it clear that parole should be used scarcely.

While DHS implements the IER, it is also proceeding with issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking to remove the IER.

Four straight years being rated by Super Lawyers

Ms. Jiang is once again selected to Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2018, an honor reserved for only 2.5% of lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice in their early years.

Ms. Jiang was first selected to the Ohio Rising Starts in 2015. Since then, she has continued the pursuit of excellence in the legal profession and has been selected as Rising Star continuously since.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less.

Since being admitted to the Ohio bar in 2009, Ms. Jiang has focused her practice on several legal areas such as corporate law, real estate, immigration, intellectual properties, and litigation. Passion has always been a key ingredient in Ms. Jiang’s practice. “It is hard work,” Ms. Jiang agrees, “but I love it because I can help, because it is rewarding, and it is also intellectual stimulating.” We hope Ms. Jiang continues this track of excellence and be a leader in these ever changing legal fields.

Changes to Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129 Petitions

On October 12, 2017, USCIS changed the direct filing addresses for certain petitioners of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. The changes are as follows:

Petitioners now file Form I-129 according to the state where the company or organization’s primary office is located. Previously, petitioners filed Form I-129 based on the beneficiary’s temporary employment or training location.

Petitioners located in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas now file Form I-129 at the California Service Center.

Starting November 11, 2017, USCIS may reject Form I-129s that are filed at the wrong service center.

Good Outcome in another Criminal Case

Our client, an International student, is satisfied with the outcome of his criminal case. The case, State of Ohio v. Chen, Case No. 17CRB00347, was prosecuted at the Oberlin Municipal Court. Our client was charged with two first-degree misdemeanors — assault and domestic violence. Such charges, if convicted, would result him to be immediately deported.

A unique fact in this case was that the client admitted the wrong and much more when he was confronted by the police officers. Thus, his admission was the most fatal fact in the case.  After motion to suppress and suppression hearing, the court ruled that his admission would not be excluded. The case was scheduled for the trial and we were prepared for going forward.

But in the final pretrial, the prosecution offered a charge that was much less in severity. The Client decided to take the plea bargain.  The reduced charge will not affect client’s visa and his stay in the United States. Thus a satisfactory result for the client.

Even though we were prepared for trial, the client must make all important decisions, such as taking or rejecting the plea bargain, as it was in this case.  Trial is risky. If defense wins, the client wins all, if defense loses, the consequence could be huge.

If you need a criminal defense attorney, please contact us. The initial consultation is free.