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February 25, 2020

In this issue:



   Hands Holding Calculator   

Important Agricultural Property Tax Exemptions and Incentives for 2020

James B. Doezema

Michigan has more than 60 million acres of land, and one out of every six acres is farmland. That’s 10 million acres of farmland property, according to Michigan’s Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD).

Owning such a large amount of land means that farmers are responsible for paying a significant portion of the state’s real property tax base...




Frequently Asked Question in Commercial Real Estate Law

Robert A. Hamor

1. Do I need title insurance?

While there is no legal requirement for title insurance, it is usually a best practice to get title insurance when you buy a property. The title company should conduct a title search to identify important information which is recorded in the property’s title history including who owns the property, what liens and encumbrances are on it, and if there are other recorded claimants.

Unfortunately, title insurance is not a silver bullet. There are many exceptions and the policy is often limited to what appears in the public record...

   Finance Attorney Rob Hamor

Robert A. Hamor





Act Fast: Only 14 Days to Appeal if Bankruptcy Court Lifts Stay

Patricia J. Scott

A party who believes that a bankruptcy court erred in either granting or denying relief from the automatic stay needs to act fast to appeal such a decision. 

In the recently decided case of Ritzen Group, Inc. v. Jackson Masonry, LLC, the U.S. Supreme Court held that: “[A]djudication of a motion for relief from the automatic stay forms a discrete procedural unit within the embracive bankruptcy case” which “yields a final, appealable order when the bankruptcy court unreservedly grants or denies relief.”

In other words, if a bankruptcy court definitively rules on a motion to lift the stay, a party has 14 days to appeal under Rule 8002 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure...

   Finance Attorney Patricia Scott

Patricia J. Scott




   Hand Holding Out Money   

IRC §108 - Income from Discharge of Indeptedness

Scott H. Hogan and Caroline N. Renner

Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code establishes that all income, from whatever source derived, is included in gross income.

If the income arises from a sale or exchange of property that is not a capital asset or property used in a trade or business then it is taxed as ordinary income. Section 61(a)(12) specifically includes income from discharge of indebtedness as gross income...




Cyber Insurance: Is it right for you?

Amanda J. Dernovshek and Taylor A. Gast

We are frequently asked about insurance policies that cover internet-based risks like those involving network security like data breaches and ransomware, as well as data privacy related risks like class action lawsuits for privacy violations and costs related to the increasingly complex landscape of privacy rules.

Several of our other articles have discussed ways to mitigate these risks through preparedness and prevention measures. However, many privacy and security risks arise from simple human error, which can never be eliminated entirely. Therefore, companies have increasingly mitigated these risks with cyber liability insurance (“cyber insurance”) in the past several years...




Genovich Published in ABI Journal

Foster Swift bankruptcy and municipal attorney, Laura J. Genovich, was recently published in the February 2020 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Journal. 

The article, titled Good News for Family Farmers: Congress Raised the Debt Ceiling in Chapter 12, discusses the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 which amends § 101(18) of the Bankruptcy Code to increase the maximum debt for a family farmer from approximately $4.4 million to $10 million; greatly expanding Chapter 12 eligibility...







Grand Rapids






St Joseph


Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC E-Newsletters are intended for general information for our clients and friends. This newsletter highlights specific areas of law and is not legal advice. The reader should consult an attorney to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

IRS Circular 230 Notice: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.

Copyright © 2020 Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC.

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