Publications

Hinckley Allen Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Newsletter
03/09/2017
Rebecca F. Alperin
Donna M. Niles
Tracy A. Vitols
Did You Know Small Employers Now Have a Useful Tool to Help Offset the Cost of Health Insurance?

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) made it unlawful for employers to offer a pre-tax stipend to be used for health insurance costs.  With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, and adoption of the “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement” (“QSEHRA”) this is no longer the case.  Qualified small employers now have a useful tool to help their employees pay for the cost of health insurance.A QSEHRA is a new type of Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) which provides for employer-funded benefits that can only be used to pay for medical care expenses of eligible employees and their covered family members after the…

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Hinckley Allen Construction & Public Contracts Alert
03/08/2017
Christopher W. Morog
Robert T. Ferguson, Jr.
False Claims Act Liability: Deviation from Project Specifications

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) closed out February 2017 by announcing substantial False Claims Act penalties against two contractors.   In addition to damages and civil penalties, the AGO barred the contractors from bidding on public projects in Massachusetts for 5 years and barred the contractors from accepting any public contracts for 1 year.March has started much like February ended.  On March 1, 2017, the AGO filed an “Assurance of Discontinuance” in Suffolk County Superior Court closing out a False Claims Act investigation of another Massachusetts contractor.  Much like a settlement agreement, the Assur…

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Trusts & Estates 2017 Tax Update

This article summarizes federal and state wealth transfer and income tax laws that could affect your estate planning and discusses strategies for tailoring your estate plan to maximize tax savings.Federal Estate and Gift Tax. The current federal estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer (GST) exemption amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. For 2017, the federal exemption amount is $5.49 million.State-Level Estate Tax. On the state level, we have not seen significant shifts in estate tax laws, although beginning in 2015, Rhode Island raised its estate tax exemption amount to $1.5 million, to be adjusted yearly for inflation.*New Y…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Ronald D. Ciotti
Understanding the Benefits and Risks to Owners and Developers Using Integrated Project Delivery and Other Collaborative Delivery Methods

Imagine your design team working seamlessly with your construction team through the design and construction phases of your project. Imagine minimizing or eliminating changes to the project budget and schedule.  Imagine no finger pointing amongst the design and construction teams when problems arise. Instead, imagine everyone working collaboratively to address problems quickly and efficiently while the project remains on track. A dream?  No, a growing reality.  Are you interested?An increasing number of private construction projects throughout the country are utilizing collaborative project delivery methods, such as Design Assist or some fo…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Jennifer V. Doran
Weighing the Benefits of Terminating a Lease Before Bankruptcy

Prominent retailers, including Sports Authority and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Other retailers likely will follow in 2017.  This article examines the benefits a landlord may realize by terminating a lease before a tenant files for bankruptcy.Once a tenant files for bankruptcy, a landlord cannot terminate a lease without approval of the Bankruptcy Court, and the Court is unlikely to grant such relief if the tenant continues to pay rent while determining its reorganization plan.  If, however, a landlord has cause to terminate a lease before the tenant files for bankruptcy, the landlord can recover the premises, ret…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Peggy A. Pappas
WARNING: High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) Ahead

High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) has been an increasingly popular and relevant topic in commercial real estate since the rule was set forth on January 1, 2015 (“Effective Date”) under the Basel III international banking standards. Existing loans as of the Effective Date are not “grandfathered” in, and are still subject to the HVCRE capital requirements imposed on banks. However, banks have differed in the interpretation and application of the HVCRE rules in regards to when the HVCRE capital requirements are triggered. Professionals in commercial real estate should carefully consider how HVCRE rules will impact their clie…

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Hinckley Allen Construction & Public Contracts Alert
03/01/2017
Christopher W. Morog
Robert T. Ferguson, Jr.
Front-Loaded and Inflated Pay Apps

On February 24, 2017, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) announced sweeping penalties against two contractors for violations of the Massachusetts False Claims Act.  According to the AGO, a General Contractor (GC) and its subcontractor (sub) knowingly submitted front-loaded and inflated payment applications on a public project in Somerville.  The AGO sued the GC and its president, as well as the sub and its manager.  The parties later entered consent judgments in Suffolk County Superior Court.  The contractors agreed to pay $420,000 in damages, including civil penalties of $110,000.  The AGO also barred the contract…

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Public Gaming Research International Magazine
03/01/2017
Mark Hichar
The Future of iGaming under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Does President Trump have the same Opinion of iGaming that he had in 2011? Should it be Regulated?

Hinckley Allen Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
01/27/2017
Rebecca F. Alperin
Donna M. Niles
Tracy A. Vitols
Did You Know? The Latest in ERISA & Employee Benefits

President Trump signs executive order aimed at minimizing burdens of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).President Trump’s executive order calls for federal agencies to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden,” on individuals or businesses. This reflects the President’s determination to eliminate the mandates that require individuals to carry health insurance, and for businesses with more than 50 employees to offer it. However, President Trump lacks the authority to eliminate those…

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2017 Real Estate Tax Abatement Process

With the New Year upon us, now is the time for property owners to review their real estate tax assessments to determine if a tax abatement or appeal is warranted. Hinckley Allen has successfully handled numerous tax abatements and tax appeals in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The tax abatement process varies from state to state but, in all instances, requires strict adherence to filing deadlines and procedures. Our experienced team works with clients to reduce their real estate taxes. We help identify which assessments are worth challenging and assist in all steps of the appeals process. Below summarizes some imm…

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Hinckley Allen Public Finance Alert
12/14/2016
Antonio D. Martini
IRS Releases Final Issue Price Regulations for Tax-Exempt Bonds

On December 8, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released Treasury Decision 9801, which sets forth final regulations providing a revamped definition of the “issue price” of tax-exempt bonds under the arbitrage bond rules of Section 148 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. These new regulations, which come after two rounds of proposed issue price regulations, in 2013 and 2015, represent a substantial departure from the issue price standard that has been in place since the early 1990s. The new definition of “issue price” will apply to tax-exempt bonds sold on or after June 7, 2017.The new regulations mark a…

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CONNstruction, Southern New England's Construction Journal
12/13/2016
Jared Cohane
Recovery: The Connecticut Contractor's Toolbox for Getting the Green

Hinckley Allen Trusts & Estates Newsletter
12/08/2016
Leon C. Boghossian III
Claire N. Carrabba
Robert B. Levine
Doris J. Licht
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What Changes Might We Expect with Trump Presidency?

As a result of the recent election, both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government will be under Republican control. President-elect Donald Trump and the House Republicans have formulated their own tax plans, and changes to the tax code are very likely. Although the specifics of what will happen are unknown at this time, here is some of what we may expect during the next couple of years.The current federal estate and gift tax structure provides that each individual can transfer up to a total of $5.45 million ($5.49 million in 2017) during life and at death. Each individual may also make gifts of up to $14,000 per person…

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Hinckley Allen Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Update
12/05/2016
Rebecca F. Alperin
Tracy A. Vitols
Donna M. Niles
2016 Year End Compliance Update - Are You Ready?

While there are no major legislative changes required for 2016, there are some important compliance deadlines that are rapidly approaching. Plan sponsors can use the chart below to stay on track and maintain compliance.We also note, for your reference, annual notifications that plan sponsors are required to distribute by December 1st of each year if they maintain a safe harbor plan, a plan with an auto-enrollment feature, or a plan that provides for a qualified default investment alternative.Automatic Enrollment Features: Provide an annual notice describing the enrollment features and automatic contributions to the Plan.Qualified Default I…

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LinkedIn Pulse
12/05/2016
Nathan R. Sabourin
From the Stage to the Court Room: My Non-Traditional Path to a Legal Career

There are a lot of skills we learn throughout our undergraduate and legal education – reading, persuasive writing, and research. While these are undoubtedly important lessons, there is an essential component missing from legal education: theater.Long before I came to work for Hinckley Allen, I was a student of theater. First, as a theater major at St. Lawrence University and then as a student at The New Actors Workshop, I learned the finer points of acting and improvisation (“improv”) from the three-headed monster that was Mike Nichols, George Morrison, and Paul Sills. While I couldn’t have foreseen the traditional path my career took…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
12/02/2016
Thomas Bhisitkul
Carving Out Rogue Tenants from Shopping Center Lease Exclusives

In shopping center leases, retail tenants often negotiate for exclusive use covenants—i.e., agreements by the landlord not to lease, or otherwise allow the occupancy of, other space in the remainder of the shopping center for uses that compete with the tenant. The exclusive use rights are integral to the retail tenant’s conduct of its business, and to the value of its leasehold, within the center. If, for instance, an electronics retailer commits to paying rent on a location for five (5) or ten (10) years (or longer), and to investing significant capital in planning, permitting and constructing a new store site, it needs to have assurance…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
12/02/2016
Jomarie T. Andrews
Approaches to Carve-Out Guarantees

Non-recourse commercial real estate loans and carve-out guarantees have changed considerably over the years. Non-recourse loans developed as a way for a real estate developer to promote a project, without personal liability, in a manner that tax benefits and deductions could be passed on to passive investors. In early non-recourse loans, carve-outs were limited to the basics: fraud, misrepresentation, misappropriation of insurance or condemnation proceeds.More recently, carve-outs have become more extensive, in response to lender’s concerns on delays in their ability to realize on collateral, or losses relating to “bad acts.” Carve-outs…

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Providence Business News
12/02/2016
Charles W. Normand
Health Care Changes Near

President-elect Donald J. Trump and congressional leaders have stated they will attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as "Obamacare." While the future of Obamacare is unclear, our health care system will continue to undergo profound change in the way health care is delivered and reimbursed.The federal Medicare and Medicaid programs continue to move the health system away from traditional fee-for-service payment models to alternative payment models. APMs focus on the quality of care provided and reward better-coordinated, more cost-effective care, and impose financial risks if providers do not meet quality …

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International Comparative Legal Guides
12/02/2016
Mark Hichar
3 Updates on Fantasy Sports Contests in the United States - Changes Over the Past Year and What May Be Ahead in the Future

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