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Enron Suicide Overshadows Andersen's Finger-Pointing

J. Clifford Baxter, 43, a former Enron vice chairman, was found dead in his parked car last Friday morning, accompanied by a revolver and a suicide note. Although it is assumed that Mr. Baxter's death is a suicide, a final decision on the cause of death will be made after an autopsy is performed on Monday.Mr. Baxter was intimately aware of and disdainful of the questionable financial practices of the energy giant and resigned from the company last May. Mr.

AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 130

AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-Up - Issue 130January 25, 2002This News Wrap-Up Sponsored By:QuickBooks for the Web andAssociation of Government AccountantsNEWS FOR ACCOUNTINGWEB MEMBERS1.
Tax

IRS Auditor Arrested in $200,000 Bribery Case

On Thursday, authorities arrested Herbert Wein, 67, of New York, a veteran auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, after he accepted a $200,000 bribe from an attorney from the Wego Chemical and Mineral Corporation, a company that he was auditing.According to the New York Times report, Mr. Wein allegedly solicited the bribe initially back in November when he suggested to Stephen Gilbert, Wego Chemical's lawyer, that the company's tax liability could be reduced from $1.2 million to $15,000, in exchange for a $200,000 payment to Wein.Mr.

Intacct Appoints John Dillon to its Board of Directors

Intacct® Corporation, the leading provider of online professional accounting solutions, today announced the appointment of John Dillon to the company’s board of directors.A respected figure within the software and Internet industries, Dillon is the president and chief executive officer of diCarta®, a market-leading provider of enterprise contract management solutions. Before joining diCarta in November 2001, Dillon was the CEO of the widely recognized online sales force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider salesforce.com.
Tax

President Bush Signs Victims of Terrorism Bill

On Thursday, President Bush signed the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001 (H.R.2884), which provides tax relief to families of people killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, the anthrax mailings that occurred after September 11, and the Oklahoma City bombing.The bill provides relief on several levels:Income and payroll tax for victims is waived for the year of death and the preceding year. If the total waived income tax is not at least $10,000, a minimum benefit of $10,000 for the two years will apply.
Tax

EFTPS-Online: Pay Your Taxes Over The Internet

If you’re going to owe taxes when you file your federal tax return, consider paying over the Internet through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). EFTPS-OnLine is fast, easy, convenient, and secure. The government does not charge for this service. You can enroll in EFTPS-OnLine via an official government site on the Internet, using a user-friendly Web interface. After enrollment, you will receive a confirmation kit by mail with instructions for obtaining an Internet password. For added security, a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) will be mailed to you.

CPAs Face New CPE Rules Starting In 2002

A three-year initiative to transform the rules for continuing professional education (CPE) has culminated in the release of a new standard by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Pitt Gives Auditors A Lesson in 'SEC-Speak'

Speaking at a meeting of the Securities Regulation Institute, Harvey Pitt, Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), spelled out some of the details of his plan to reform the accounting profession.
Tax

IRS To Simplify Accounting For Intangibles

Tax practitioners are cheering the IRS plans to simplify the tax rules that apply to intangibles. In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-125638-01) released on January 17, 2002, the IRS announced its intent to propose new rules that would provide descriptions of the specific types of expenditures that must be capitalized, along with broad-based rules for exceptions.
Community News

Andersen's Duncan Won't Testify (Yet); Enron's Lay Resigns

Fired Andersen partner David Duncan, the lead auditor on the Enron engagement, is scheduled to testify today before the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Although Mr. Duncan has expressed a desire to cooperate with all Enron-related investigations, he has indicated he plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify unless he is given immunity.Representative Billy Tauzin, R-LA, chairman of the House committee, has asked the U.S. Justice Department to authorize immunity for Mr. Duncan, but as yet no agreement has been reached regarding this issue.
Tax

Faster Refunds Through Direct Deposit

Want a faster refund? The IRS says that more taxpayers are choosing direct deposit as the way to get their federal tax refunds. The payment is more secure - there is no check to get lost. And, it's more convenient - no special trip to the bank to deposit a check! To request direct deposit, follow the instructions for "Refund" on your tax return.Nearly 34 million people had their tax refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts during the 2001 filing season, a 15 percent increase from the year before.
Practice

Top Ten Steps To Effective Delegation

Executives and managers are often left feeling frustrated when their staff doesn't perform a task the way they expected. This can be eliminated by sharpening your communication and filling in the gaps that are often left open for interpretation. Here are some guidelines.Step 1. Know what the task is.Step 2. Have the end result/desired outcome you want to produce in mind.Step 3. Find the person you need to delegate to and give them the task.Step 4. Share with them the results you desire.Step 5. Ask and inform them why it's important.
Education & Careers

Plante & Moran Scores Big on Fortune's 'Best Companies' List

Leading the small group of CPA firms that made the latest annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list is Michigan-based Plante & Moran, once again breaking into the top ten on the prestigious list.

Bush Appoints Two SEC Commissioners, Calls For Reforms

President Bush has appointed two SEC Commissioners, one Republican and one Democrat. The newly-appointed Commissioners are Cynthia Glassman, a Republican and principal at Ernst & Young, and Isaac C. Hunt Jr., a Democrat who was appointed to the SEC by former President Clinton in 1996 and whose term recently expired. Both Commissioners were appointed by the President under special authority that allows him to do so without ratification by Congress while Congress is not in session.

Public Oversight Board Agrees To Close Its Doors

On January 20, 2002, the Public Oversight Board (POB), the independent body that oversees the self-regulatory function for auditors of companies registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), passed a resolution stating its intent to close its doors no later than March 31, 2002. Precipitated by remarks made just days earlier by SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt, the resolution removes any uncertainty about the Board's future.
Practice Management

SEC Releases MD&A Guidance for 2001 Reports

Responding to a petition by the Big Five accounting firms, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement entitled Commission Statement about Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.The SEC's statement contains suggested steps that public companies should take when preparing disclosures.
Tax

Where's My W-2? New Worry for Employees of Bankrupt Companies

With the IRS' January 31, 2002 W-2 mailing deadline fast approaching, W-2 forms will be arriving soon at the homes of millions of employees across the nation. For most, this form is the bedrock on which the 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ income tax form is completed.
Tax

Forms and Publications: How To Order

The Internal Revenue Service has many forms and free publications on a wide variety of topics to help you understand and meet tax filing requirements. These forms and publications are available on the Internet, on CD-ROM, through fax on demand, over the telephone, through the mail, at local IRS offices, at some banks, post offices and libraries, and even at some grocery stores, copycenters and office supply stores.If you know what form or publication you need, call the IRS toll-free order number at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
Education & Careers

Only Three More Paper & Pencil CPA Exams Left

Irvin Gleim, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and prolific CPA Review author, recently sat down with AccountingWEB to share his perspective on the coming changes in the CPA Exam.February 4, 2002 is the grade release date for the November 2001 exam. With that date coming up, it is a reminder that only three paper and pencil CPA exam opportunities are left before the conversion to a computerized exam. May 2003 will be the last CPA exam as we currently know it. Mr. Gleim encourages all current CPA candidates to finish up before November 2003.
Community News

E&Y and the Battle of Bull Run

Big Five firm Ernst & Young has been hit with a lawsuit by Bull Run Corp., a company that provides, among other things, marketing and event management services to universities, athletic conferences, associations, and corporations.The lawsuit alleges that E&Y failed to discover material errors in the accounting for prepaid expenses and receivables in its audit of Universal Sports America, Inc., a company that Bull Run acquired in late 1999.

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