Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: Ban on Internet Taxes Part of Deal to Avoid Shutdown

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Jason Bramwell
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AccountingWEB
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IG: IRS paid $6 billion in bogus child tax credits
The IRS paid at least $6 billion in child tax credits in 2013 to people who weren't eligible to receive them, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in a report on Tuesday. Payments went to families that mistakenly claimed the tax credit or claimed the wrong amount, as well as taxpayers who committed fraud, wrote Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press.

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Spending bill to extend ban on Internet taxes
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) claimed victory on Tuesday, saying a spending package to keep the government funded would extend a moratorium on Internet access taxes, wrote Bernie Becker of The Hill. The $1.1 trillion funding deal, which was reached by congressional leaders on Tuesday evening, would extend the ban on Internet taxes for a year. Wyden, who has pushed for a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, said on Tuesday he would ramp up those efforts in January.

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‘Cromnibus’ highlights: IRS cuts; no raise for Biden; break on school lunches
The government funding bill, dubbed the “Cromnibus,” would make a $345.6 million cut to the IRS budget and provided no funding for the International Monetary Fund, wrote Siobhan Hughes of the Wall Street Journal. Banks, however, won a measure easing restrictions on their derivative-trading activities.

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SEC outlines priorities for Division of Corporate Finance
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday highlighted some of the areas it will be combing over when companies file their annual reports. Among the hot topics this reporting period: foreign taxes, business segments, goodwill, and internal controls, wrote Noelle Knox, editor of the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal. The agency will be paying close attention to disclosures multinational companies make in the “Management Discussion and Analysis” portion of their 10K filings, particularly on how they explain their international taxes.

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IASB pledges to maintain ‘strong’ bilateral relationship with FASB
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has pledged to maintain its bilateral relationship with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), despite attempts to converge US and international accounting standards having largely failed, wrote Richard Crump of Accountancy Age. IASB Vice Chairman Ian Mackintosh said on Tuesday that the bilateral relationship between the FASB and IASB “needs to remain strong” and that the similarities between IFRS and US GAAP are bigger than the differences.

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ARCP REIT fundraising tumbles after accounting errors
Fundraising plummeted last month at Nicholas Schorsch’s nontraded real estate investment trusts following the disclosure of accounting mistakes at American Realty Capital Properties Inc. (ARCP), where he’s chairman, wrote Brian Louis and Prashant Gopal of Bloomberg. Equity raised from investors at ARCP’s Cole Capital unit fell to $19.7 million, down 81 percent from October.

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Tim Hortons shareholders vote to sell company to Burger King
Tim Hortons Inc. shareholders approved the sale of the doughnut chain to Burger King Worldwide Inc. for about $11 billion, paving the way for the creation of the world’s third-largest fast-food company, wrote Craig Giammona of Bloomberg. The new combined business will be called Restaurant Brands International. The takeover, which is expected to close later this week, will shift Miami-based Burger King Worldwide’s headquarters to Canada in a so-called tax inversion.

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UK ‘Google tax’ will target inter-company payments
A new 25 percent British tax on companies that shift profits out of the country and into tax havens will target inter-company fees for services like use of intellectual property, according to a Treasury document seen by Reuters. Companies will also be required to report their potential liability to the new tax, which the note said will sit outside the existing corporate tax system, wrote Tom Bergin and William James of Reuters. The tax would be effective April 1, 2015.

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CFOs’ economic optimism stable despite global uncertainty
According to the results of a new fall CFO survey from Chicago-based accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP, 47 percent of finance executives expect the economy to improve, down just 4 percent from six months ago. Sixty percent of companies with more than $5 billion in annual revenue are considering a merger or acquisition in the next 12 months. Ninety-one percent of respondents expect their company’s hiring to increase or remain the same in the next six months.

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CFOs rate US economy at highest level since recession
CFOs believe the US economy is at its highest level since the 2008 recession and anticipate growth in their sales, workforce, and companies in 2015, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 CFO Outlook survey results released on Monday. On a 100-point index, with zero being extremely weak and 100 being extremely strong, CFOs give the economy an average score of 59, up from the 53 reported in the 2014 CFO Outlook and the highest level since the recession in 2008.

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WeiserMazars and Mazars Group launch global human rights survey
New York-based accounting firm WeiserMazars LLP and the Mazars Group, along with the Economist Intelligence Unit and an international alliance of governments and businesses, are launching a global human rights survey. The survey will investigate whether businesses have made a formal commitment to respect human rights, how they approach implementation of that commitment, and the extent to which the environment in which businesses operate helps or hinders their ability to respect human rights.

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IMA appointed to International Integrated Reporting Council
The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has been named a full voting member of the International Integrated Reporting Council, a global coalition that shares a common goal of realizing the benefits of integrated strategic thinking, improving external disclosures, and enhancing the value of corporate reporting. The IMA is one of only three US-based associations to achieve this honor.

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PCAOB announces 15 new and reappointed Standing Advisory Group members
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) on Monday announced 15 new and reappointed members to its Standing Advisory Group (SAG), bringing the total membership to 42. These members will serve three-year terms, beginning in January 2015. The SAG advises the PCAOB on the development of auditing and related professional practice standards.

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