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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Developments Worldwide

Articles contributed by GRP Rainer LLP

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OLG Frankfurt – Misleading advertising by carrying over likes and reviews

February 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Franchisees need to be careful. If they change their franchise partner, they cannot simply carry over the likes and stars they have accumulated to the new company.

BFH – Claim for transfer of ownership in family home not exempt from inheritance tax

February 2019 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A ruling of the Bundesfinanzhof (BFH), Germany’s Federal Fiscal Court, illustrates the distinction made for the purposes of inheritance tax between a family home and the claim to transfer ownership in a family home (Az.: II R 14/16).

Purchasing cooperatives and antitrust law

February 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Purchasing cooperatives provide value to many retailers and traders. However, with these kinds of associations it is necessary to ensure that they do not violate antitrust or competition law.

Possibility of formal warnings in response to violations of the GDPR

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Whether a violation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) constitutes a violation of competition law and can therefore, as a matter of law, give rise to a formal written warning is still disputed.

BGH – Champagne must define the taste of a champagne sorbet

January 2019 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A champagne sorbet needs to actually taste like champagne; otherwise, this description cannot be used. That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in a ruling from July 19, 2018 (Az.: I ZR 268/14).

European Commission fines electronics manufacturers for e-commerce price manipulation

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The European Commission has imposed fines in separate rulings on four electronics manufacturers totaling 111 million euros in response to violations of EU competition law.

Legality of advertising with statements on the effects of medical treatments

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Advertisements featuring statements on the effects of medical treatments are only permissible if they are supported by sound scientific evidence. This was reaffirmed by the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.

ECJ – Distinctive character necessary for registration as EU trade mark

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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For a sign to be capable of being registered as an EU trade mark, it must be distinctive across the entire European Union. This was confirmed by the Court of Justice of European Union (ECJ) in a ruling from 25 July 2018.

BAG – Employers can claw back bonus payments

January 2019 - Employment . Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG), Germany’s Federal Labour Court, confirmed in a recent ruling that employers can claw back collectively agreed bonus payments from employees under certain circumstances.

M&A – Tighter rules for foreign investors entering German market

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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While corporate mergers and acquisitions boomed in 2018, investors from outside of the EU will now have a more difficult time joining or acquiring German businesses.

Illegal price-fixing in the stainless steel sector – Bundeskartellamt imposes fines

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has imposed fines totaling approx. 205 million euros on several companies and their responsible directors and officers in the stainless steel sector in response to illegal price-fixing arrangements.

OLG Frankfurt – Selective prohibition on sale of luxury items online allowed

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A supplier of luxury perfumes is allowed to prohibit its distribution partners from promoting and selling its products online via third party platforms. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.

FG Baden-Württemberg on a municipality’s input tax deductions

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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In a ruling from 18 October 2018, the Finanzgericht (FG) Baden-Württemberg, the Fiscal Court of Baden-Württemberg, held that whether a municipality is operating as a commercial entity and entitled to deduct input tax depends entirely on the type of activity and the particular circumstances of a given case (Az.: 1 K 1458/18). We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte can report that the lawsuit was filed by a climatic spa.

Antitrust violations – BGH bolsters the rights of aggrieved parties

January 2019 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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In a ruling from 12 June 2018, the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, has facilitated the enforcement of damages claims in response to violations of antitrust law with respect to the statute of limitations for claims (Az.: KZR 56/16).

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on authorized dealer’s entitlement to compensation

December 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Under certain circumstances, an authorized dealer may be entitled to claim compensation after termination of the contract with the company if the latter continues to be able to use its business contacts.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte: Criteria for assessing whether GmbH managing directors are subject to man

December 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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According to a decision of the Bundessozialgericht, Germany’s federal court of appeals for social security matters, GmbH managing directors are ordinarily deemed to be employees of the company and hence subject to mandatory social security contributions.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience in trade mark protection

December 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Plagiarism and counterfeit products cause immense economic damage within the European Union. This makes it all the more important for businesses to take consistent measures to protect their trade marks.

The transition from UG to GmbH does not establish a new company

December 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The costs associated with transitioning from an Unternehmergesellschaft (UG), a form of German private limited liability company also referred to colloquially as a “Mini-GmbH”, to a full GmbH cannot be passed on to the GmbH. The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Celle, Celle’s Higher Regional Court, ruled that the transition in no way represents the establishment of a new company.

D&O insurance policies need not cover illegal payments made following onset of insolvency

December 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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It is not necessary for a D&O insurance policy to cover payments made by the insured managing director after the onset of insolvency. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) DĂĽsseldorf, the Higher Regional Court of DĂĽsseldorf.

Managing director liable despite settlement clause in termination agreement

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A managing director may be liable towards the company despite a settlement clause in the termination agreement. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂĽnchen, the Higher Regional Court of Munich.

OLG Köln: Unfair advertising due to false statements about discount promotion

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Caution is in order if someone is offering discounts on “fast alles”, i.e. “almost everything”. Advertising featuring a discount promotion that excludes large sections of the product range from the discount is misleading and unfair. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Köln, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne.

BGH: Beer cannot be promoted as “bekömmlich”

November 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Beer cannot be promoted as “bekömmlich”, i.e.  “wholesome” or “agreeable” (in terms of its digestibility). That was the verdict of the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in a ruling from 17 May 2018 (Az.: I ZR 252/16). This description was said to be in violation of the Health Claims Regulation.

EGC: A word mark consisting of two letters can be registered as an EU trade mark

November 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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It is possible even for a word mark consisting solely of two letters to be registered as an EU trade mark. This was confirmed by the EGC in rulings from 24 April 2018 (Az.: T-207/17 and T-208/17).

Reclaiming advances on commission payments requires transparent presentation

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A company demanding that advances on commission payments be repaid by the commercial agent needs to be able to provide detailed reasoning in support of this action as well as present a complete calculation for the recovery of the sums in question.

OLG DĂĽsseldorf imposes large fine in response to vertical price fixing

November 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Düsseldorf, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, has imposed a fine of 30 million euros on a drugstore chain and in doing so significantly increased the fine set by the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

Unfair exploitation of a product’s reputation by imitating its well-known design

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A product’s good reputation can be deemed to have been unfairly exploited even if the presentation of the product has been imitated but the word mark has not been infringed. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt.

OLG München – Extraordinary termination of a commercial agency agreement

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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It is possible for a commercial agency agreement to be extraordinarily terminated for good cause if the relationship of trust between the parties has broken down. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) MĂĽnchen, the Higher Regional Court of Munich.

Bundeskartellamt imposes fines running into millions for illegal arrangements

November 2018 - Crime. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The Bundeskartallemt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, has imposed fines totaling approx. 23 million euros in response to the collective calculation of uniform price recommendations.

BVerfG – Proportionality in relation to allegations of delayed filing for insolvency

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Allegations of delayed filing for insolvency are easily made, yet the investigations need to maintain a sense of proportion. A home search can just as easily overshoot the mark.

ECJ – Commercial agents can claim compensation for termination during probationary period

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Even if a commercial agency agreement is terminated during the probationary period, the commercial agent may still be entitled to claim compensation or damages. That was the verdict of the ECJ.

OLG München – Commercial agent’s right to be issued with excerpt from the accounts

November 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The limitation period for a commercial agent’s right to be issued with an excerpt from the accounts normally begins at the close of the year in which he or she received a final commission settlement.

Removing the costs associated with forming a GmbH from its articles of association

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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According to a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Celle, the Higher Regional Court of Celle, the provisions in a GmbH’s articles of association concerning who bears the costs associated with forming the company must not be removed before a period of ten years has passed since the company was initially registered.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Report on mandatory social security contributions for managing directo

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Mandatory social security contributions for managing directors is a controversial topic that continues to rear its head and ought not to be underestimated, as businesses can potentially be faced with large back payments.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience drafting franchise agreements

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A franchise agreement sets out the basic principles governing the relationship between franchisee and franchisor. For this reason, it is of great importance to both parties.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Liability of managing directors for delay in filing for insolvency

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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If a company is faced with imminent insolvency or over-indebtedness, the managing director must file for insolvency. Failure to do so in due time may result in him or her being held personally liable.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Assessment of removing a shareholder-managing director for good cause

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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It is possible to remove a shareholder-managing director from their post if there is good cause justifying this action, but good cause must be present at the time of the resolution’s adoption.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Liability of managing directors in the event of competition violations

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A company’s legal infringements can also come back to haunt its managing director. That being said, the latter’s liability towards third parties is strictly limited.

Genesis Mining terminating unprofitable contracts

October 2018 - Finance . Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The price of Bitcoin has fallen sharply. This has put pressure on mining companies such as Genesis Mining, which is now seeking to terminate or upgrade contracts with its clients.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Assessment of shareholder’s right of access

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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The shareholders of a GmbH have extensive rights of access and inspection which go beyond the general meeting and that enable them to inform themselves about what is happening within the business. These shareholder rights cannot be restricted in the articles of association. And yet, we at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that even shareholders’ requests for information are subject to limitations in exceptional circumstances.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Assessment of claims for damages in response to kickbacks

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Corruption, attempted bribery and kickbacks are all commonplace in commercial life. Aggrieved parties can assert claims on account of damage caused by acts contrary to public policy.

OLG München – Managing directors liable if they exceed the scope of their discretionary powers

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A managing director who culpably breaches his or her duties may be liable to pay damages to the company. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) München, Munich’s Higher Regional Court.

ECJ on infringements of geographical indications

October 2018 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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According to a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) from 7 June 2018, an association with a protected indication is not by itself sufficient to infringe the registered geographical indication (Az.: C-44/17).

ECJ – Red shoe soles can be protected as trade marks

October 2018 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Red shoe soles can be protected as trade marks. That was the verdict of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in a ruling from 12 June 2018 (Az.: C-163/16). They do not fall within the ambit of the prohibition on registering shapes.

Bundeskartellamt imposes fines for illegal price-fixing agreements

October 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, has imposed fines totaling 13.2 million euros on two packaging firms due to illegal price-fixing agreements. The companies had been supplying a commercial chain.

LAG Köln – Managing directors cannot claim protection against unfair dismissal

October 2018 - Employment . Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A managing director cannot claim protection against unfair dismissal if he or she is under no power of direction when working. In that case, he or she is not to be classified as an employee according to a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Köln, Cologne’s Regional Labour Court.

BGH – Advertising featuring health claims

October 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Health claims in relation to foods and foodstuffs are only permitted if they do not violate the Health Claims Regulation. This was reaffirmed by the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court (Az.: I ZR 167/16).

BGH – Resale price maintenance is an unlawful restriction of competition

September 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Resale price maintenance restricts competition and therefore usually constitutes a violation of antitrust law. This was reaffirmed by the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in a ruling from October 17, 2017 (Az.: KZR 59/16).

OLG Karlsruhe – No blanket reimbursement of commercial agents’ “Stornoreserve”

September 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Following termination of a commercial agency agreement, companies cannot blanketly retain what is referred to in Germany as the “Stornoreserve” (or simply “cancellation reserves”), i.e. the amount withheld in the insurance sector from the commercial agent in case the policy he or she concluded is cancelled. That was the verdict of the Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe’s Higher Regional Court, in a judgment from September 13, 2017 (Az.: 15 U 7/17).

Post-contractual prohibition on competition and compensation for interim period

September 2018 - Employment . Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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A post-contractual prohibition on competition is a reciprocal agreement. If one party fails to perform the work or service as agreed, then the other side is entitled to rescind the agreement.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience in resolving shareholder disputes

September 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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If a dispute among shareholders cannot be resolved, it is in the interests of all parties involved to come to a solution that does not jeopardize the company’s existence.

GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte – Experience suggests planning for business succession early on

September 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Business succession is an issue that preys on the minds of many small and medium-sized enterprises and family-run businesses. Yet finding a suitable successor can prove challenging.

BGH – Managing directors acting as front men can also be held liable

September 2018 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Formal managing directors who are only appointed to act as front men are subject to criminal liability as well. This was reaffirmed by the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH), Germany’s Federal Supreme Court, in a ruling from October 13, 2016 (Az.: 3 StR 352/16).

CJEU – Selective prohibition on sale of luxury items

September 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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In a ruling from December 6, 2017, the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) held that a selective distribution system for luxury items does not constitute a violation of the prohibition on restrictive practices under EU law if certain conditions are fulfilled.

LAG DĂĽsseldorf: Dismissal with immediate effect valid in response to threat

July 2017 - Employment . Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Anyone who seriously threatens their employer or superior should expect to be dismissed with immediate effect. This was confirmed by a ruling of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) DĂĽsseldorf [Regional Labour Court of DĂĽsseldorf] from June 8, 2017 (Az.: 11 Sa 823/16).

Tax evasion: Only voluntary disclosure affords protection from severe penalties

April 2017 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by GRP Rainer LLP.

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Anyone who has been caught for tax evasion should expect to be faced with severe penalties. Voluntary disclosure is the only way of returning to a state of normal tax affairs and avoiding penalties.