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Monthly Archives: August 2016

EpiPen cost rises- What this means for Florida residents

EpiPen, the life-saving allergy product, is now a $1 billion a year business for Mylan, the drug company that is currently under fire for the startling surge in EpiPen pricing. In 2007, an EpiPen cost about $57, as of today the EpiPen costs over $600- although the injectable medicine costs less than $1 and has a shelf life of about 12 months.

If you’ve been stocking your home with EpiPens since around 2010, you would have noticed a change in your prescription. It was around that time that new guidelines from the FDA stated that patients who get the 0.3 mg dose of epinephrine in a single EpiPen should actually be prescribed two 0.3 mg doses.

People with costly health insurance pay about $30 for each EpiPen. Not everyone is as fortunate. Families with lower cost, high deductible plans are reportedly paying $150 to $400 for a single pack of EpiPen. And parents, who now see EpiPens as a necessity are fearing for their children’s lives when they can’t access the drug. Especially when the new normal established by public awareness campaigns is that people at risk for anaphylactic shock should have multiple EpiPens- at work, in the car, at home, at school, and on their person.

So what does this mean for those people at risk of an anaphylactic shock living in Florida?

In 2014, Governor Scott signed the Emergency Allergy Treatment Act (HB 1131) into law which helps to increase the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors. This law allows restaurants, theme parks, youth camps and sports leagues, and other businesses to have supplies of epinephrine auto-injectors. State Senator Aaron Bean of Jacksonville and State Representative Matt Hudson of Naples were the sponsors of this important legislation. This legislation not only offers protections for people who suffer from life-threatening allergies, but it also provides civil liability protections for health care providers, pharmacists and others who maintain and administer this emergency treatment.

In 2015, Mylan stated that in the state of Florida, 684 public, private and charter schools are participating in the EpiPen4Schools program. This program offers four free EpiPen or EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors to qualifying schools. There are 12 schools participating in Palm Beach County (three in Boca Raton, five in North Palm Beach, and one each in Boynton Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach).

Read more about the national controversy involving Mylan here

Victory tax and what that means for Olympians

2016 Rio Olympic Game Medals

Now that the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games are over, our winning Olympians might be surprised when they arrive back home in the United States. That’s because America’s Olympic medalists must pay state and federal taxes on the prize money they get for each win. This “victory tax” can be as high as 39.6% of their winnings and with the U.S. Olympic Committee awarding $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze, it’s almost like the real winner here seems to be the IRS.

You must be thinking by this point, for someone who has carried the flag for his or her country, is this just?

Is this reasonable?

Poor Phelps.

The truth is, most U.S. Olympic medalists won’t actually pay taxes on the winnings.

Here’s why.

Because the athlete is in “the business” of being an athlete. The related business expenses such as travel, equipment, and coaches are all deductible on a federal income tax return. If the athlete reports winnings and other sports related income on a Schedule C, then he or she could claim related deductions on the Schedule C. If it’s a business, those deductions wouldn’t be limited by income.

Okay, so what if the athlete’s participation in his or her sport is a hobby – as opposed to a business – then winnings are reported as “other income” on a federal form 1040. Deductions are then still allowed against winnings but only if the taxpayer (Olympian in this scenario) itemizes those winnings. If the Olympian does itemize his or her winnings, then deductions are treated as “miscellaneous itemized deductions” on Schedule A and are limited to the total of deductions in excess of 2% of AGI, or Adjusted Gross Income. This also means that deductions cannot exceed the amount of winnings or income.

But honestly, what athlete became an Olympian medalist by treating their sport as a hobby?

You can read more about Olympians and taxes here

Video Recording Police in Florida – Is it Legal?

recording police

Recording Police

While most people are quick to use their smartphones recording police and the actions of ordinary citizens, few Floridians know that in the Sunshine State, you may be breaking the law. The question is – Is it legal to film police?

Law on Filming Police

The recording of police falls into a legal gray area. When audio is involved, Florida law requires consent of the people being recorded wherever they have a reasonable expectation of privacy,” notes the Tampa Bay Times in a review of the issues involved.

“The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union firmly believes a police officer conducting public business in a public area cannot have such an expectation. But without a court ruling offering clear guidance, the organization says, investigators and judges decide on a case-by-case basis if recorders are invading officers’ privacy.”

The questions arise because Florida is one of nine states that require both parties to consent to a recording.

You can read the entire Tampa Bay Times story here.

If you have any questions concerning your legal rights in Florida or require legal counsel, contact the law firm of Haile Shaw & Pfaffenberger, P.A. We have 16 attorneys and a highly-skilled support staff located in North Palm Beach. Legal consultation locations also include Palm Beach, Wellington, Palm City, and Tampa.

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