WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service can use estimates
to make sure it is collecting enough taxes on cash restaurant tips,
the Supreme Court said Monday.
The court beefed up the IRS' power to calculate taxes that
businesses owe from employees' tips, a thorny task because often the
tips are cash and workers report their own earnings.
The ruling is a defeat for the estimated 200,000 restaurants with
tipped workers, and many other businesses whose employees receive
The court said the IRS can estimate the amount of cash tips given
to employees based on tips shown on credit card receipts. The
estimate is used to determine taxes.
Nationwide, employees reported collecting $14.3 billion in tips
in 1999, although the IRS suspects that amount could be higher and
has been working with restaurants to improve reporting.
The case is United States vs. Fior d'Italia, 01-463.
No reading of rights needed for public transport search
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police who
want to look for drugs or evidence of other crimes do not have to
first inform public transportation passengers of their legal rights.
The ruling gives police guidance on how to approach and search
passengers, a case with renewed interest as officers seek out
possible terrorists on public transportation.
Justices rejected arguments that passengers, confined to small
spaces, might feel coerced.
The court ruled 6-3 that officers in Tallahassee, Fla., were
within their rights as they questioned and searched two men aboard a
Greyhound bus in 1999.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the
passengers did not have to be told that they didn't have to
Three officers boarded the bus, bound from Fort Lauderdale to
Detroit. One officer introduced himself to Christopher Drayton and
Clifton Brown, and told them he was looking for illegal drugs and
weapons. He asked to pat down the men's baggy clothing. The men
agreed, and officers felt hard objects on the men's legs that turned
out to be packets of cocaine.
"It is beyond question that had this encounter occurred on the
street, it would be constitutional. The fact that an encounter takes
place on a bus does not on its own transform standard police
questioning of citizens into an illegal seizure," Kennedy wrote for
Drayton and Brown were convicted and sentenced on drug charges.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the cocaine should
not have been admitted as evidence, because the officers failed to
tell the men they were not required to cooperate. That court said
the encounter violated the Constitution's ban on unreasonable
searches and seizures.
Monday's ruling overturns that decision.
Court saves governments from some ADA lawsuits
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court barred Americans from
seeking damage awards from cities and government boards that refuse
to build wheelchair ramps and make other accommodations for the