News & Commentary

With the growth of the wine industry in Santa Barbara County, tasting rooms are the perfect vehicle for wineries to reach potential consumers.  The popularity of wine can be seen in the plethora of tasting rooms in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.  What was once an industrial section of Santa Barbara is now arguably one of the city’s most popular attractions.  So what exactly goes into opening a winery and tasting room?  More than you may think.

At the state level, a winery must comply with the requirements of the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (“ABC”), California Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”), and California State Board of Equalization (“BOE”).  At the federal level, compliance with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is required.  And let’s not forget that a winery must also comply with local county ordinances.  This article will provide you with an overview of the various permitting and licensing hoops you will have to jump through to get a traditional bricks-and-mortar winery and tasting room off the ground.

Read more: Opening A Winery and Tasting Room in Santa Barbara County →

There was a lot going on in February.

On February 5th I attended the Legal Aid Foundation’s luncheon, celebrating its 55th anniversary and the recent retirement of its Executive Director, Ellen Goodstein. I was staggered to learn the numbers of people served by Legal Aid, and the breadth of the services provided. It is easy to forget that almost 20% of our local citizens are living at or below the poverty line and that they, just as the rest of us, face the whole spectrum of legal issues. Legal Aid is doing a great job for that population, but the work is endless and as attorneys, we should do what we can to help the Legal Aid Foundation continue its mission.

On February 21 State Bar President Luis Rodriguez stopped in Santa Barbara for a luncheon organized by Judge Herman. President Rodriguez’ remarks covered a wide range of topics of interest to all California attorneys, not the least of which was court funding.

Read more: The SBCBA Had An Active February →

The year is well under way.

In late January we had our annual Bench and Bar Conference. Surprisingly, the UCLA con law professor and the NRA appellate attorney agreed on almost everything during what was to be the lunchtime debate. Equally surprising, especially to me as moderator, Representative Capps’ keynote address brought out a lively Second Amendment debate.

We’ve launched our new Legislative Liaison committee under the capable leadership of Angela Roach. I’ve spoken with Senator Jackson and Congresswoman Capps’ aides, and both welcome the opportunity to share ideas and developments with the SBCBA.

Read more: SBCBA Accomplishments Require Teamwork →

IRSThe United States Department of the Treasury will not do much in 2014, what with it being an election year and all. The year 2015, however, is a different story.  It is not too early to make some reasonable guesses as to what estates and estate planners can look forward to.  In fact, the 2014 General Explanations of the Administration's Fiscal Year 2014 (the Green Book) proposals that pertain to estate planning offer a view of what could potentially happen in 2015. Here are some bullets on a few of the key provisions of the Green Book proposals.

Read more: US Treasury Targets More Estate Taxes in 2015 →

In October 2008, Maureen Grattan, whom I barely knew, invited me to coffee.  She had been helping to coach Dos Pueblos High School’s Mock Trial team for a year and wondered, now that one of my sons had made the team, whether I might be interested in lending a hand.  I patiently explained that I was really much too busy (read “important”) for high school mock trial (read “kids pretending to be lawyers”).  Not wanting to be too harsh, I agreed to attend the next night’s practice.  Maury smiled; she knew the hook had been sunk.

Read more: Be Inspired, Coach A High School Mock Trial Team →

April 15 is coming soon.  As an entreprenuer you have some extra work to do.  The temptation is to get the returns done as quickly as possible.  Speed can lead to mistakes, however, and in the case of filing your tax returns, mistakes can lead to penalties and audits. Here is a quick summary of three of the most common tax mistakes entreprenuers make that may eventually end up on the desk of one of our certified tax law attorneys:

Read more: 3 Common Tax Mistakes Entreprenuers Make →

I am honored to be SBCBA President for the coming year. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with fellow officers, Matt Clarke, Naomi Dewey, Katy Graham and Donna Lewis, with our returning board members Angela Roach, Shelley Vail, James Sweeney, Mike Denver, Jim Griffith, Emily Allen, Lauren Wideman, and with our new board members Paula Waldman, Alan Morton, Nathan Rogers, and Claude Dorais.

In most ways I am fortunate to be following Donna Lewis in this position. I use the term “most ways” advisedly. On the one hand, due in no small part to Donna’s keen attention to detail throughout her decade of service as board member and officer, the SBCBA is thriving, even as other small bar associations are static or in decline.

Read more: SBCBA Serves All The Attorneys In Santa Barbara County →

No landlord wants them, but if you are a landlord for any period of time, you will probably have them: bad tenants.  You want them out. Sometimes you can get them to change their behavior by cajoling or threatening. Sometimes you can accept their bad behavior and wait until the end of their term. When it just isn't going to work, you need to report your bad tenants. Here's how...

Read more: The 4 Step Process To Report Bad Tenants →

On January 1, 2014, Logue Law merged with Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP one of the oldest and most respected legal firms in Santa Barbara. Please browse the Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP website to get a good sense of the breadth and depth of the newly combined firm.

Since 2005, Travis C. Logue has been the principal attorney at Logue Law, a boutique Santa Barbara law firm that focused on real estate transactions and litigation. Mr. Logue successfully represents clients in all types of commercial, agricultural, and residential real estate transactions, development, and disputes. He has experience in a wide range of complex civil litigation and business matters. Mr. Logue’s typical clientele are owners with a portfolio of real estate, purchasers of single family residences, real estate developers, landlords, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.  For more details about Travis C. Logue, visit his Attorney Profile.

Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP has been providing top quality representation of businesses and individuals since 1973. Our firm provides experienced, creative, results driven representation of clients in a broad range of specialized services including estate planning, corporate taxation, entity formation, mergers and acquisitions, business transactions, contracts, real estate transactions, insurance law, business and real estate litigation, personal injury litigation, will and trust contests and probate, and alternative dispute litigation.  

 

For More Info, Contact:
Travis C. Logue 
805.963-9721
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There is a global move afoot to increase personal income taxes and to generally tax capital at higher rates than labor.  Voices as loud as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and billionaire investor Bill Gross are increasingly making the case that we need to do something BIG to leave the recession behind. 

Mr. Gross, in his November article written for Pimco, asks the "Scrooge McDucks of the world" to embrace higher personal income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates than labor. As for the IMF, taxing the wealthy offers "significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs."  In other words, soaking the rich is the path of least resistance.

The frightening context for this is the IMF's expectation that in advanced economies the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product will reach a historic peak of 110% next year, 35 percentage points above its 2007 level...

Read more: Prepare, The Global Wealth Tax Is Coming →

As a landlord, you may or may not know how tenants are being counseled to get out of a lease.  Whether you are the owner or the property manager, getting into a landlord tenant dispute is never fun, so a little foreknowledge can be very productive.  This is an interesting article we came across that is written from the point of view of a tenant advocate. Tenants will typically be advised to do the following:

  • Give notice. Giving 30 days is typically required...
  • Have everything in writing, including numbers, dates, and other appropriate specifics...
  • Document apartment conditions upon move-in and move-out with photographs...
  • Have a copy of the lease you signed...
  • When you move out, walk through the place with management...
  • Don’t leave nasty voice mails...  

There are a number of legal reasons that a tenant can pretty easily abscond.  As a landlord, it would be good to know them...

Read more: For Landlords: How Your Tenant Will Be Legally Counseled To Break The Lease →

As Barbara Whelehan of Bankrate.com says though, "Don't get too excited."  

The contribution limits for  401(k), 403(b) and 457 workplace retirement plans remain unchanged at $17,500.  For those 50 and older, catch-up contribution limits are the same at $5,500 for those 50 and older, for a total possible contribution of $23,000.  This is the same as in 2013.  Individual Retirement Account contributions are also the same, at $5,500 plus $1,000 for 50 and older.  Nothing here to speak of really.  

There are, however, changes to the IRS cost of living adjustments in 2014...

Read more: The IRS Just Released Its Retirement Plan Limitations for 2014 →

Have you had your family "death dinner" yet? Sounds morbid, but it isn't. With America's baby boomers aging, the conversation about death should happen more frequently than it does. If you already have your living will, great, Pew Research Center says you are among about 30% of Americans that do. That leaves 70% without a living will, and without much control over how a death affects the remaining family members.  Want examples?

Read more: Death, Dying and Dinner Parties →

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Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP primarily serves individuals, families and businesses up and down California's Central Coast and North Los Angeles County, including many Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura County communities.

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