Tax news January 2009

Tax

As the bailout goose lays her golden eggs, who is guarding the henhouse?

"A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you're talking about real money." That's a great line, attributed to the late Senator Everett Dirksen. But with the bailout of 2008 signed by President Bush and now the trillion dollar-plus rescue package that Democrats in Congress and Barack Obama are proposing, those billions are starting to look like chump change. It doesn't take a scholar to know... that's a lot of money. As a result, many financial professionals are bracing themselves for what history tells them will be the other fallout.
Tax

KPMG case study brings real-world forensic accounting to UNM

University of New Mexico students in Rutledge Professor of Accounting Richard G. Brody's forensic accounting class came face-to-face with the real world last night thanks to a case study presented by KPMG.The case is designed to provide an introduction to the forensic accounting process, challenging student teams to analyze evidence as part of an earnings management investigation.
Tax

What's in the bailout bill? A laundry list called tax relief

The bailout bill, officially titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a moving target which includes a long list of tax implications including nearly $275 billion in tax relief. A few days ago, the total was $825 billion and is now $819 billion. One key element is a proposed tax credit of $500 per taxpayer or $1,000 per couple, with phase-outs for couples earning $200,000 per year.While a recent Rasmussen poll says that 42 percent of Americans oppose the bailout, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B.
Tax

Georgia Southern students can concentrate their studies in fraud and forensic accounting

By Anne RosivachDemand for courses in fraud and forensic accounting has been strong and is growing at colleges and universities throughout the country. Georgia Southern University is no exception, and The College of Business Administration's Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business has taken the lead by offering two educational tracks in fraud and forensic accounting to students at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Tax

Auditors and airport screeners have similar blind spots

But terrorists don't pay the screenersBy Gary D. Zeune, CPAEven though the items and information are right in front of them, airport screeners miss banned items, according to a December 30, 2005, article in The Wall Street Journal. Auditors miss fraud for the same reasons screeners miss weapons. To test terrorism readiness, British authorities digitally inserted images of guns, knives and other banned objects into luggage. Initially the screeners' performance was mediocre. But with practice it improved dramatically.
Tax

Prevalence of corporate fraud and misconduct is high according to KPMG survey

KPMG's 2008-2009 Integrity Survey, the third in a periodic series that began in 2000, published by KPMG Forensic, concludes that little has changed in the frequency and pattern of corporate fraud and misconduct over the years. The survey found however, that "Ethics and compliance programs continue to have a favorable impact on employee perceptions across the board.
Tax

Post-Madoff, forensic accountants seeing increase in business

Investigators say that the number of people trying to pull off low-level Ponzi schemes is increasing so quickly that they are now calling them "mini-Madoffs."And forensic accountants believe their skills will be even more valuable in this climate, as jilted investors are asking tough questions about where their money went. Business owners and governments are also being cautious, watching their funds with more scrutiny than ever.
Tax

Letter to your client: Tax changes for your 2008 return

This is the time of year when accountants are making contat with their tax clients and when tax clients have lots of questions for their accountants. AccountingWEB staff writer Anne Rosivach has put together a sample letter that can be copied, edited if you wish, and sent to your clients to let them know about some of the many changes that they might encounter this spring in their 2008 tax returns.Dear Client,By now you should have received your Forms W2, 1099s, and broker's statements, and you may be getting ready to organize your tax records.
Tax

Look for changes on 2008 Form 1040

The IRS is mixing it up a little and keeping it fresh this year by adding some new lines and moving some items to different places. Here are the changes to the Form 1040. The only changes to the 2008 Form 1040 appear on page 2 of the form.
Tax

Changes in tax law affect education benefits for 2008

USA Funds, a national education loan guarantor, advises families that paid college expenses during 2008 that they may qualify for deductions or credits when they file their federal income tax returns."In recent years the U.S. Congress has enacted and extended measures to provide federal income tax benefits for families that pay tuition, fees and other higher education expenses," said Carl C. Dalstrom, USA Funds president and CEO.
Tax

Geithner sworn in as new Treasury Secretary

In a decisive vote of 60 to 34, members of the U.S. Senate chose to ignore disclosures that Timothy Geithner might have been guilty of cheating on his taxes for four years, and gave him the nod as the next Secretary of the Treasury.From 2001 to 2004, Geithner worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and received fees for services on which no Social Security and Medicare tax were withheld.
Tax

Did Obama's Treasury nominee, Tim Geithner, weave a tangled tax web?

Last November when then president-elect Barack Obama tapped Timothy Geithner to take the reins as Treasury Secretary, Geithner's confirmation seemed like a slam dunk. But that was before the Obama team started vetting the nominee to make sure there would be no surprises. Geithner has been hailed as a financial wizard after working in several Treasury positions under three different presidential administrations, nearly four years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and most recently, as president of the New York Federal Reserve Board.
Tax

IRS announces last minute address changes for filing tax returns

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that taxpayers in Delaware, Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island who file paper income tax returns will send them to different processing centers this year. Taxpayers in Delaware, New York, and Rhode Island will now send their tax returns to the IRS Kansas City Service Center in Kansas City, MO. Taxpayers in Illinois will now send their tax returns to the IRS Fresno Service Center, in Fresno, CA. The IRS continuously monitors work flow at its centers and makes appropriate adjustments by altering the volume of returns to be sent to each.
A&A

Ways and Means completes new tax plan

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have released a tax plan that they hope will provide additional economic stimulus to taxpayers who have yet to demonstrate the effectiveness of last year's stimulus package.
Tax

IRS reaches out to financially distressed taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service has kicked off the 2009 tax filing season by announcing a number of new steps to help financially distressed taxpayers maximize their refunds and speed payments while providing additional help to people struggling to meet their tax obligations.IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman encouraged taxpayers to take advantage of several new tax credits and deductions this filing season and announced a major enhancement to the Free File program that will allow nearly all taxpayers to e-file for free and accelerate their refunds."With so many people facing financial difficult
Tax

10 ways CPAs (and their assistants) recognize tax season

By Yvonne OlsonTax season already? Sometimes the obvious hits us between the eyes, but all too often it just sneaks up on us.
Tax

Treasury issues new executive compensation rules under TARP

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued interim final rules for reporting and recordkeeping requirements under the executive compensation standards of the Troubled Asset Relief Program's (TARP) Capital Purchase Program (CPP). The new rule requires the chief executive officer (CEO) to certify annually within 135 days after the financial institution's fiscal year end that the financial institution and its compensation committee have complied with these executive compensation standards.
Tax

10 things the IRS wants you to know about identity theft

The Internal Revenue Service fights a constant battle with identity thieves who take the name and logo of our tax service in vain. Here are some suggestions for avoiding identity theft scams, courtesy of the IRS:1. If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS which leads you to believe someone may have fraudulently used your Social Security Number, respond immediately to the name and address or phone number printed on the IRS notice. 2.
Tax

Amazon loses New York sales tax lawsuit

A New York state judge has dismissed Amazon.com's lawsuit alleging the online retail giant had no requirement to pay sales tax in the state due to a lack of physical presence.Last July, Amazon.com Inc.
Technology

IRS ready to open the gate for 2009 e-filing with new features

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the January 16 opening of an expanded IRS e-file program for 2008 federal tax returns, highlighted by new features that will allow expanded access to electronic filing and help people looking for faster refunds.IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman encouraged taxpayers to explore e-file this year as the best option to file accurate tax returns and get fast refunds during the current economic downturn.

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