PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

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MKC

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PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:46 pm

This is not a joke post. I am currently in the process of filling out a bar application, and this is a complete pain in the ass. The character and fitness portion of the application requires disclosure of every year and jurisdiction where you did not file or timely pay taxes. This includes state and federal income taxes, as well as personal property taxes. When I was younger and dumber and poorer, I did not file taxes for several years, and tracking down this documentation is an utter shitshow.

If you owe taxes, or haven't filed, or didn't pay on time, straighten it out now, and keep all of the paperwork. If you screwed up in the past at some point, start tracking it down, because the bar is going to want to see records.

Also, protip, some states let you request a C&F determination during your first year of law school. It's cheaper, and you can get that shit out of the way early, especially if you're either older or have possible issues from your past. Good luck boys and girls.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby kellyfrost » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:54 pm

I'm assuming you have now filed and paid any taxes that you owed in those previous years, correct? If so, do you just contact the state and federal government for the necessary paperwork and proof, or is there more documentation that you must provide?

I'm just curious because the failure to file/pay taxes portion of the character and fitness requirements isn't one that is discussed very often on these boards. Any information you could provide could be useful to future bar exam takers.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby fliptrip » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:56 pm

Great PSA Martin. Thanks so much for sharing. I can't imagine the nightmare of digging up years of old tax records.

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MKC

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:01 pm

kellyfrost wrote:I'm assuming you have now filed and paid any taxes that you owed in those previous years, correct? If so, do you just contact the state and federal government for the necessary paperwork and proof, or is there more documentation that you must provide?

I'm just curious because the failure to file/pay taxes portion of the character and fitness requirements isn't one that is discussed very often on these boards. Any information you could provide could be useful to future bar exam takers.


My situation is especially problematic because the taxes in question are from 10-15 years ago. The IRS only keeps records for seven years, and states record keeping standards vary. So when the bar wants to know how much you owed in 2004, it's basically impossible to tell them other than ballpark guesses from memory. If the state has the records, they'll mail them to you for a nominal fee, which makes things easier.

According to the bar examiner's office ethics guy, as well as my professional responsibility professor, they're mainly looking to see that you pay your debts and haven't tried to get out of paying taxes. If you made $100k on a 1099 and never filed, for example, you'd have bigger problems than an employee who had taxes withheld and just didn't fill out the form.

What I'm doing right now in large part is taking what few records I retained from that period, and filling in the blanks from memory. I had no idea the reporting requirements on financial stuff were this comprehensive.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:03 pm

fliptrip wrote:Great PSA Martin. Thanks so much for sharing. I can't imagine the nightmare of digging up years of old tax records.


Oh, you didn't pay property taxes on time on your $1,500 car in 2002? We're going to need documentation on that.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby fliptrip » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:10 pm

^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.

Ugh...I feel for you.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:19 pm

fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.

Ugh...I feel for you.


Yeah. It's terrible. I thought I was done with this when I cleaned up the tax mess roughly a decade ago. Not so.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby JuliusCaesar » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:24 pm

.
Last edited by JuliusCaesar on Wed May 11, 2016 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ScottRiqui

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:40 pm

fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.


I applied to law school in 2013, and had to disclose a citation for "entering or remaining in a park after hours" - from 1989. Of course, no one has records from that far back, and I'm not even sure if it was a misdemeanor at the time; the statutes were re-written at some point and the offense now falls under a completely different part of the city ordinances. I figure if they want more detail than I gave them, they can do the research.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby fliptrip » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:43 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.


I applied to law school in 2013, and had to disclose a citation for "entering or remaining in a park after hours" - from 1989. Of course, no one has records from that far back, and I'm not even sure if it was a misdemeanor at the time; the statutes were re-written at some point and the offense now falls under a completely different part of the city ordinances. I figure if they want more detail than I gave them, they can do the research.


I cannot imagine the shit I'm going to have to unearth, especially the financial records. Am I going to have to disclose and explain why I didn't pay Columbia Records for those CDs I got from them back in 1997?

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:02 pm

Wtf state is that for, Merkin?

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby Iam3hunna » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:19 pm

fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.

Ugh...I feel for you.


K-JD FTW? :lol:

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby fliptrip » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:24 pm

Iam3hunna wrote:
fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.

Ugh...I feel for you.


K-JD FTW?


Fuck. Yes. I think every single damn day that I should have just gone to law school when I graduated college. Hard as it is to believe, I had a girlfriend in college who was pre-med. She was ADAMANT about going straight through and would tell me every day to just go to law school. Well, she's an orthopedist now and I am on TLS. Lesson as always, listen to the women in your life.

I guess I was in too much of a hurry to go be a thousandaire. Every day I commune in our wonderful TLS environs I think, hm, flipper, you're older than the most veteran of veteran posters...something went wrong. I am absolutely terrified about being the old fuck in the law school class in the fall, though at least I'm not a yelling and clouds, get off my lawn old.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:42 pm

fliptrip wrote:
Iam3hunna wrote:
fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.

Ugh...I feel for you.


K-JD FTW?


Fuck. Yes. I think every single damn day that I should have just gone to law school when I graduated college. Hard as it is to believe, I had a girlfriend in college who was pre-med. She was ADAMANT about going straight through and would tell me every day to just go to law school. Well, she's an orthopedist now and I am on TLS. Lesson as always, listen to the women in your life.

I guess I was in too much of a hurry to go be a thousandaire. Every day I commune in our wonderful TLS environs I think, hm, flipper, you're older than the most veteran of veteran posters...something went wrong. I am absolutely terrified about being the old fuck in the law school class in the fall, though at least I'm not a yelling and clouds, get off my lawn old.


Don't sweat it - I'm a 45-year old 2L, and no one in my class gives a fuck.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby sublime » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:43 pm

..

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby fliptrip » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:44 pm

Thanks dudes. I at least am about as mature as your typical 23 year old, so I feel better.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:47 pm

fliptrip wrote:Thanks dudes. I at least am about as mature as your typical 23 year old, so I feel better.


That'll help - my wife used to say that naval aviation is staffed entirely by 13-year old boys, and I could never come up with a decent counterargument.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:57 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.


I applied to law school in 2013, and had to disclose a citation for "entering or remaining in a park after hours" - from 1989. Of course, no one has records from that far back, and I'm not even sure if it was a misdemeanor at the time; the statutes were re-written at some point and the offense now falls under a completely different part of the city ordinances. I figure if they want more detail than I gave them, they can do the research.

Fortunately, no C&F examiner will care if you were cited for hanging out in a park after hours. But, as the OP learned, C&F examiners very much care if you haven't paid (or were very late paying) your taxes at some point.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby Iam3hunna » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:08 pm

fliptrip wrote:Thanks dudes. I at least am about as mature as your typical 23 year old, so I feel better.


As a young twenty-something myself, it is an honor to have you in our age group (even if you're only there in spirit).

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:08 pm

JuliusCaesar wrote:May I ask how the subject is stated by the question/application, etc.? For example I have looked at pdf versions of applications for admission to the bar for a few different states and have seen nothing like this(unless I simply overlooked it or am looking at the wrong thing). Is it a section, question, etc that simply broadly asks the question like they do for past criminal offenses or is it very specific? I don't have anything that I can think of that will be an issue, but I'd still like to grab any documentation necessary now if needed.


Have you ever failed to timely pay any personal taxes due, including but not limited to any federal or state income taxes; state, county, or municipal private property taxes; or real estate assessment taxes?

Yes
No

If yes, add Form 27.B. for each incident.


This is for Missouri. It's an all-inclusive, no statute of limitations, have you ever been late on or not paid your taxes question.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:11 pm

rpupkin wrote:
ScottRiqui wrote:
fliptrip wrote:^^^This makes me think of one major disadvantage of applying to law school as an older person. You've got a lot more life to account for and even normal folks have things that happen that are difficult to recall/explain 10 years later.


I applied to law school in 2013, and had to disclose a citation for "entering or remaining in a park after hours" - from 1989. Of course, no one has records from that far back, and I'm not even sure if it was a misdemeanor at the time; the statutes were re-written at some point and the offense now falls under a completely different part of the city ordinances. I figure if they want more detail than I gave them, they can do the research.

Fortunately, no C&F examiner will care if you were cited for hanging out in a park after hours. But, as the OP learned, C&F examiners very much care if you haven't paid (or were very late paying) your taxes at some point.


As I said, this stuff has long been taken care of, and the bar examiner's office and my ethics professor both assured me that this paperwork nightmare was unlikely to create any real problems with regard to getting through C&F. Trying to document all of it has still been a lot of work.
Last edited by MKC on Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:13 pm

In this same vein... I am looking over bar materials. IL bar has a section for parking violations... Thing is, I am almost positive I have an outstanding parking ticket from back in undergrad. Problem is... It was my parents car, and we have no idea what the license plate number is (only way to look it up on the town's website).. What to do, what to do..

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:27 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Fortunately, no C&F examiner will care if you were cited for hanging out in a park after hours. But, as the OP learned, C&F examiners very much care if you haven't paid (or were very late paying) your taxes at some point.


As I said, this stuff has long been taken care of, and the bar examiner's office and my ethics professor both assured me that this paperwork nightmare was unlikely to create any real problems with regard to getting through C&F. That being said, trying to document all of it has been a lot of work.

Yeah, sorry, I understood that you weren't actually in jeopardy of not getting through C&F. I was just agreeing with your point that tax records are something that C&F examiners really care about. A lot of the things folks worry about--like getting cited for having an open container or even drug possession--are generally not things that will hang up a C&F app. But anything in the vicinity of financial fraud--and tax stuff falls into that category--will get lots of attention.

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:39 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:In this same vein... I am looking over bar materials. IL bar has a section for parking violations... Thing is, I am almost positive I have an outstanding parking ticket from back in undergrad. Problem is... It was my parents car, and we have no idea what the license plate number is (only way to look it up on the town's website).. What to do, what to do..

If it wasn't your car, I think you're fine not listing anything. But if you really, really want to be honest, just do your best to remember the approximate date and location.

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MKC

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Re: PSA to all of you aspiring applicants: Pay your taxes. All of them.

Postby MKC » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:14 pm

Update: Bar application complete. Character and fitness portion, not including documentation: 38 pages.



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