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Technology

GAO Report: IRS Has 'Material Weaknesses' in Security Controls

The Internal Revenue Service and other Department of Treasury agencies, continue to have "material weaknesses" in security controls designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their systems, a new General Accounting Office (GAO) report concludes.
Tax

KPMG’S Statement Regarding Hearing in the “U.S. Tax Shelter Industry”

KPMG LLP issued the following statement in regard to a hearing today of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, at which current and former KPMG partners testified on the subject of tax services formerly offered by the firm: At the invitation of the Subcommittee, KPMG partners and former partners participated in the hearing today examining the activities of accounting firms, banks, investment advisors and law firms in offering aggressive tax strategies to their clients in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Tax

IRS Issues New Guides For Charitable Organizations

The Internal Revenue Service has published two new brochures to help charities understand the tax laws conferring tax-exempt status.One brochure is designed to help prospective charities apply for tax exemption under the tax law.
Tax

Software Firms, California at Odds Over Free E-Filing Services

Companies that sell tax-preparation software are viewing California’s year-old, Internet-based tax system as an unfair threat to their business.Intuit Corp., which makes TurboTax and offers free e-filing of state tax returns in California, has said it would stop offering the free service if the state continues to provide a competing product.
Technology

IRS Zeros In On Executive Pay

As executive paychecks and perks have exploded, so have concerns about the taxes executives pay. That’s according to the Internal Revenue Service, which discussed its efforts to make sure executives are in compliance with tax laws on Thursday’s Tax Talk Today Internet broadcast. "Based on IRS experience, basic compliance laws have not been aggressively reviewed for years, and people may have forgotten some of the fundamentals.
Tax

KPMG'S Statement Before The Committee, November 18

Representatives of KPMG are here today at the Subcommittee's invitation to discuss the tax services offered to KPMG clients in the past. Our representatives are prepared to provide the Subcommittee information regarding these complex tax strategies. KPMG would like to take the opportunity to place this issue into an appropriately broader context. There are four main points the firm would like to call to your attention:The tax strategies being discussed today represent an earlier time at KPMG and a far different regulatory and marketplace environment.
Tax

Senate Probe Targets KPMG Tax Shelters, KPMG Responds

Accounting firm KPMG’s efforts to market four questionable tax products will be the focus of two days of Senate hearings this week. More below...Senate Probe Targets KPMG Tax Shelters, KPMG Responds KPMG'S Statement Before The Committee, November 18KPMG’S Statement Regarding Hearing on the “U.S. Tax Shelter Industry”More below...
Tax

Recruiting And Training Tax Preparers

By: Charles E. McCabeWhen I began my career in the tax business over 30 years ago, getting good tax preparers was not very difficult. My employer, H & R Block, Inc., had developed their income tax school a few years earlier as an ingenious method of recruiting and training tax preparers to support their rapid expansion. As a district manager and later a regional director, I was able to find plenty of good people who were willing to pay to take the Basic Income Tax course with no guarantee of employment.
Tax

IRS Fines Tax Preparers $2.4M, But Doesn’t Collect

The Internal Revenue Service has fined tax preparers over $2.4 million in the past two years, but has collected only a fraction of that amount, according to congressional auditors.The General Accounting Office (GAO) said IRS collected just $291,000, or 12 percent of the penalties due.
Tax

Tax Moves to Make in 2003, Courtesy of The IRS

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers they have less than eight weeks to make their final financial moves for the 2003 tax year.Taxpayers can take the first step toward advance tax planning by reviewing tax law changes featured on the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov. A little advance planning now could save taxpayers time — and perhaps even money — later.For many families, tax planning means locating the IRS notice for their Advance Child Tax Credit. For teachers, it means keeping those receipts for school supplies they purchase with their own money.
Practice Management

IRS Expands Locations For Convention Expense Deductions

According to CCH, the IRS has updated the list of countries and locations included in the "North American area" for the purposes of the Code Sec. 274(h) convention expense deduction. Expenditures related to meetings and conventions in these locations generally can be deducted just as if they were held in the U.S. Comment. In today's global business environment, conventions and meetings are frequently held outside of the U.S. The IRS traditionally has taken a hard line toward deducting foreign convention expenses. Code Sec.
Community News

KPMG Separates Legal Services, Discussing Formation of New Legal Group

KPMG announced this week that it will stop providing full-scope legal services, and that its associated legal network – KLegal International – is to be discontinued.Member firms of the KLegal International network are now discussing the formation of a new legal grouping that will be completely independent of KPMG, and which will work with KPMG member firms - where appropriate - on a non-exclusive basis. The announcement reflects changed market conditions, including the U.S.
Tax

IRS Launches Online Tools to Help Access Client Information

The Internal Revenue Service has launched the first of a suite of Internet-based business tools that give tax professionals and financial institutions easier access to client information.Known collectively as e-services, the suite of products provides tax professionals with new choices for working electronically with the IRS.
Practice Management

Federal Court Blocks Tax Avoidance Scheme

A federal court has temporarily stopped a Colorado couple from promoting their "expatriation/repatriation" tax avoidance scheme.Chief Judge Lewis T. Babcock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued a preliminary injunction barring the couple from selling advice that encouraged individuals to renounce their “United States citizenship” for “American citizenship” and stop paying federal income taxes. The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday estimated that Austin Gary Cooper and his wife, Martha E. Cooper, charged as many as 2,000 people for their advice.
Tax

Congress Aids Military With Tax Cuts

After Congress approved President Bush’s $87.5 billion spending package to pay for the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan, legislators took steps to take care of the people in uniform. The Senate, enhancing the House’s bill passed unanimously last week, doubled to $12,000 the death gratuity paid to families of soldiers killed while on active duty and eliminated all taxes on the benefit. "It's long overdue," Rep. Sam Johnson, R-TX, told the Associated Press.
Tax

Third Quarter Profits: Real Growth or More Shell Games?

Despite the ongoing scandals surrounding questionable accounting practices, companies are still looking for ways to paint a better picture of their financial condition, with fluctuating tax rates appearing to be their best bet. The Associated Press reported that Coca-Cola’s third quarter tax rate was 18.4 percent, down from the projected 24 percent. The company expects to end the year with a 22 percent rate.
Tax

IRS Reminds Some Refinancing Costs May Be Deductible

The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers who took advantage of this year’s low interest rates to refinance their mortgages that they may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans.Generally, taxpayers who itemize may deduct the “points” paid to obtain a home mortgage as interest.
Tax

Freddie Mac May Face $30 Million Tax Bill

Freddie Mac, the nation’s No. 2 mortgage finance company, has estimated it will owe as much as $30 million in back taxes, the Wall Street Journal reported.That figure is just a fraction of the $4.5 billion the company expects to report in income when it restates earnings. Freddie Mac board member George Gould said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) that the back taxes won’t materially affect earnings.
Tax

GAO Releases Study Showing Improvement in IRS Performance

During the tax filing season, millions of taxpayers file their returns and seek assistance by calling or visiting IRS’s offices or Web site. The Government Accounting Office was asked to assess IRS’s 2003 filing season performance in five areas: processing returns, refunds and remittances; electronic filing; telephone service; walk-in assistance, and Web site.
Tax

States Band Together on Tax Authority For Online Purchases

Dozens of states have joined together to persuade Congress to allow them to force out-of-state Web and catalog merchants to collect sales taxes on goods shipped into their states.Many catalog and online retailers believe they shouldn’t be forced to collect sales taxes, pointing to the complexity and variety of state and local tax laws, which number in the thousands. Thirty-four states responded by agreeing to adopt a highly uniform tax system to simplify management for remote vendors.For state and local governments, billions of dollars in taxes on Internet sales are at stake.

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