A&A news

A&A

IRS Enforcing IRA Required Minimum Withdrawals

If you've hit your 70th birthday-or know someone who has-make sure you're taking the proper amount from your IRAs or risk a potential 50 percent tax on money that should have been withdrawn, the Wall Street Journal reported. The rules in question involve “required minimum distributions” from individual retirement accounts, which are required once the IRA's holder reaches the age of 70_. The amount that has to be withdrawn is based on life expectancy.
A&A

Pre-Tax Season Media Tip for Tax Practitioners

Before tax season snows you under, get the attention of your local media. They can keep you visible even when you're not.Do you have aggressive partners who want brand equity? Create a spreadsheet of these partners, their areas of service expertise and industry concentrations to send to key reporters. If you have media savvy partners who are willing to promptly return calls from a reporter on deadline, you might include the partner's cell phone number on the spreadsheet. If a partner is unable to return calls promptly, do not include that partner with your media relations efforts.
A&A

Online Survey Usage Increases Among Small Businesses

According to a recent survey conducted by Zoomerang, usage of online surveys among small businesses has surged 118% between 2001 and September 2004. Other highlights of the survey include:Faster and easier -- 69% of small businesses that have adopted online surveys are able to obtain results more quickly and easily. In addition, 65% have benefited from improved insights about their business; and 48% obtain higher-quality results than traditional research methods. "The feedback is instantaneous ...
A&A

FASB Issues Rule to Conform To International Standard

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued FASB Statement No. 151, Inventory Costs, an amendment of ARB No. 43, Chapter 4.
A&A

Google Shares Almost Double, Investors Cash In

Shares of Google have nearly doubled since its initial stock offering in August, and the Web search engine's backers and founders are making millions.The venture capital firm that backed Google in 1999 with less than $15 million distributed 5.4 million Google shares to about 200 investors in one of its funds last Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
A&A

IRS, Treasury Updating Non-Profit Pensions

The Treasury Department and IRS issued proposed regulations this week relating to retirement annuity contracts under section 403(b), which are generally available to employees of public schools and organizations exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3), along with related temporary regulations clarifying the application of employment taxes to section 403(b) contracts. "These regulations provide the first comprehensive guidance on section 403(b) arrangements in over 40 years," said Gregory Jenner, Treasury's Acting Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy.
A&A

FASB Delays Action on Rule

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has removed from this week's agenda a discussion on a new rule that finance companies have said might force them to write down a bigger portion of debt securities that are held for sale, Bloomberg reported. The rule is unlikely to be pushed forward until 2005, since the board that sets U.S.
A&A

CalPERS Backs Reform on Abusive Executive Compensation

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) board members this week approved a new executive compensation strategy linking CEO pay to long-term company performance, a centerpiece of California State Controller Steve Westly's reform proposals. "CalPERS has a special responsibility to look out for members and taxpayers, and our new strategy meets that test," Westly said.
A&A

New Report Outlines State of Small Business

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration today unveiled a major new federal government report, The Small Business Economy, 2004, which outlines the state of small business and its contributions to the economy. This latest in an annual series analyzes 2003 data. "In 2003, the overall economic indicators improved as the economy gained momentum," said Office of Advocacy Chief Economist Dr. Chad Moutray. "Small businesses led the way.
A&A

SEC Debates Whether Whopping Fines Hurt More than Help

Do huge corporate fines deter fraudulent behavior or harm the very shareholders they are intended to benefit?The five Securities and Exchange Commissioners are becoming more divided on the question, as the two Republican commissioners are frequently voting against huge fines imposed upon publicly traded companies for shaky accounting procedures, mismanagement and fraud. The Wall Street Journal gave these examples: Republicans Paul Atkins and Cynthia Glassman earlier this month voted against a $37 million fine against Wachovia Corp.
A&A

Couple Sues to Deduct Religious School Costs

A nonjury trial began last week in Los Angeles that could set precedent for how religious school expense deductions are allowed by the Internal Revenue Service.
A&A

SEC Considering Plan to Standardize Exchange Governance

The Securities and Exchange Commission's five commissioners agreed to float a plan released today that would require 10 U.S. stock markets to file quarterly reports with regulators, Bloomberg reported.The exchanges, which include the New York Stock Exchange, would also have to ensure that a majority of their directors are independent.
Tax

FASB Says Companies Should Book Tax Break as Deduction

Companies that benefit from a new tax break should book it as a “special deduction” against taxable income over time.That recommendation came from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Wednesday, and U.S. companies are likely to greet the news warmly because it means they won't take a one-time hit on earnings, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Companies will not need to immediately adjust their deferred income-tax balances based on the new, lower rate.The tax break is included in the “American Jobs Creation Act of 2004” that President Bush signed into law on Oct. 22.
A&A

Starting a Business? What Business Owners Should Know

Starting a business can be overwhelming enough trying to get up and running but when you think about all the tax requirements, your cup may runneth over. Here is what you must know in order to start your own business on the right foot and avoid paying penalties and interest which can cost more than paying an accountant to do things right the first time.WHAT FORM OF BUSINESS SHOULD YOU SET UP WHEN STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?There are several different options including a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S corporation or limited liability company.
A&A

Nurturing Your Own 'Green Grass', Six Ways to Reinvest in Your Current Clients

Imagine for a moment that your business is lackluster and your third-quarter sales numbers are not on track. What's that? You say you don't have to imagine? You're not alone. We may be on the cusp of a recovery, but many companies haven't yet gotten the memo. And if you're like many of your financially frustrated counterparts, your first instinct is to round up your sales team and send them prospecting for new leads. After all, your current client list isn't keeping you well-fed, so it's time to seek out greener pastures. Right?
A&A

2005 Toyota Prius Certified for Clean-Fuel Deduction, $2000 Deduction for 2004/2005

The Internal Revenue Service has certified the Toyota Prius for model year 2005 as being eligible for the clean-burning fuel deduction. The certification means taxpayers who purchase this vehicle new may claim a tax deduction of $2,000 on Form 1040.Federal tax law allows individuals to claim a deduction for the incremental cost of buying a motor vehicle that is propelled by a clean-burning fuel.
A&A

SEC Delays Plan to Oversee Bank Brokerages

The Securities and Exchange Commission has again delayed implementation of a plan that would give the commission oversight over brokerage services offered by banks-a move some banks say would force them out of business, Bloomberg News reported.Hearing the objections of banks, regulators and the Federal Reserve, the SEC delayed until March 31 the rule that exempts banks offering brokerage services from SEC oversight, Bloomberg reported.Banks have complained, saying the rule would be prohibitively expensive since each individual account would have to be scrutinized."The proposal would s
A&A

Navigating The Whitewater of Internal Politics

by Phyllis Weiss Haserot - Whether or not we like to acknowledge it, "politics" are a workplace fact of life for people at all levels and a possibility whenever more than one (or two) persons gather in a firm, team, group - whether temporarily or longer term.
A&A

Sarbanes-Oxley Remains a Force to Be Reckoned With in the Boardroom

Two years after the introduction of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, corporate reform continues to impact corporate directors, according to a recent study by Corporate Board Member magazine and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The third annual "What Directors Think" study measures the opinions of directors and CEOs of the top 2,000 publicly traded companies.
A&A

Divided SEC Votes to Begin Inspections of Hedge-Fund Operators

Large hedge-fund advisers will be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and undergo inspections starting in February 2006, the SEC decided Tuesday.The change was approved on a 3-2 vote and will only apply to hedge-fund operators who manage $30 million or more of assets, Dow Jones Newswires reported.SEC Chairman William Donaldson led the move for greater oversight of hedge funds. He said inspections would provide more information about the industry and prevent fraud. Failing to do so "would be a major dereliction" of the SEC's duty to investors, he said.

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