Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Happy Fed Day!

Fed decision day guide from tapering QE to employment thresholds
Aki Ito of Bloomberg broke down what to expect when the Federal Open Market Committee releases its statement today at 2:00 p.m. ET after a two-day meeting in Washington, DC. Ito noted the panel will also provide new economic forecasts, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m.

Tax cuts, tax reform to resurface in 2014 statehouses
In an article published on December 18 by Stateline, the news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts, Stephen Fehr wrote that at least four governors will push to revamp their states’ tax systems in 2014.

“In recent weeks, governors in Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon have said they intend to make significant changes to their state tax codes to make them fairer and to provide a more reliable source of long-term revenue to pay for services and programs,” Fehr noted. “The number could grow as other governors prepare their budget proposals for the coming fiscal year.”

For example, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman will ask lawmakers to approve a tax package that would reduce or abolish the state income tax and raise sales taxes. Earlier this year, he took a similar proposal off the table after state lawmakers said they wanted more time to evaluate the plan, Fehr wrote.

IRS vendor owed $525 million in back taxes
Back in October, a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that hundreds of IRS contractor employees owed $5.4 million in tax debts.

In a new report publicly released on December 17, TIGTA found that the IRS has been doing business with nearly 1,200 vendors that owe back taxes, including one unnamed contractor that owed a whopping $525 million, according to an Associated Press article.

Stephen Ohlemacher reported that 1,168 IRS vendors owed back taxes totaling $589 million as of July 2012, and only fifty of those vendors were in a payment plan to pay off their debt.

TIGTA is prohibited by law from revealing the name of any delinquent vendors, including the one that owed $525 million, the article noted. Most of the back taxes, including the largest amount, were delinquent for less than a year.

SEC sanctions total a record $3.4 billion in FY 2013
A record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions were filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in fiscal year (FY) 2013, the Journal of Accountancy reported on December 17.

This year’s total was up 10 percent over FY 2012 and 22 percent higher than in FY 2011, when the SEC filed the most enforcement actions in agency history. The SEC filed 686 enforcement actions in FY 2013, which was less than the 734 enforcement actions in FY 2012 and the 735 in FY 2011. The SEC’s fiscal year ends on September 30.

Ten Cloud computing predictions for 2014
Bernard Golden of looked into his crystal ball and offered his ten predictions for the Cloud computing industry over the next twelve months. His list is broken into two sections: five end-user predictions and five vendor/Cloud provider prognostications.

“I do this because too many predictions focus on the vendor side of things,” he wrote. “From my perspective, the effect of Cloud computing on users is just as important and worthy of attention.”

IRS names new members of Electronic Tax Admin Advisory Committee
The IRS on December 17 selected three new members and a chairperson for its Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC), according to an article by CPA Practice Advisor.

The ETAAC provides an organized forum for discussion of electronic tax administration issues and supports the goal of increasing electronic transactions between tax professionals and the IRS, the article noted.

The new members are:

  • James Buttonow, CPA, vice president of product development for Beyond415 software products
  • Everard Lee Davenport, principal of Davenport Consulting
  • Troy Thibideau, executive vice president of marketing and client operations for Convey Compliance Systems Inc.

The new chairperson is Cyrus Daftary, partner with Burt, Staples & Maner LLP, who will serve for 2013-2014.

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Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.
Oct 30
Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links. For the uninitiated, workbook links allow you to connect one Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to other spreadsheets, Word documents, databases, and even web pages.