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Class-Action Suit Against H&R Block to Proceed

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a class-action suit that accuses H&R Block, the nation's largest tax-preparation company, of charging as many as 17 million customers inflated interest on refund loans, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing news wires.The suit contends that H&R Block charged as much as 100 percent in interest on the refund loans and customers were not told that the company profited from the loans, which were advances on estimated tax refunds, the Chronicle reported.The high court this week let stand a lower court's decision that the case should go forward as a c

COSO to Help Small Businesses with Internal Controls

Small businesses are about to get help complying with the stringent new internal control requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) announced Monday that it will develop guidance that will help small firms follow the new rules without breaking their budgets, according to Dow Jones Newswires.The new guidance, which will be produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC, will be available online by June 30.
Community News

Best Software and Nextel Help Accountants Go Wireless

Best Software has announced a new partnership with Nextel Communications Inc. (NASDQ: NXTL), aimed at helping accountants across North America instantly contact their clients and access data, while on the go. Through this partnership, members of the Best Software Accountants Network (BSAN) will have access to the benefits of Nextel's products and services at their fingertips.

Industry Oversight Given to House Financial Services Committee

At a time when a new Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) stock option rule faces continued opposition, sole oversight over accounting, standard setting and electronic trading companies has been quietly given to the House Financial Services Committee, Dow Jones Newswires reported.The move by House Republicans ends a 2001 deal that called for shared oversight with the Energy and Commerce Committee.

U.S. Falls out of the Index of Economic Freedom's Top 10

For the first time ever, the U.S. does not rank among the world's 10 freest economies in the Index of Economic Freedom, published annually by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. The U.S.' score in the 2005 Index did not change from 2004. But improvements in the economies of Chile, Australia and Iceland enabled all three to surpass the U. S., leaving it in a tie for 12th with Switzerland and out of the top 10 for the first time in the 11-year history of the Index.

IRS Clarifies Section 409A, Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans

The Treasury Department and IRS issued on Wednesday clarifications to Notice 2005-1 which provides additional guidance regarding transition rules under section 409A for nonqualified deferred compensation plans. An advance version of Notice 2005-1 was released to the public on December 20, 2004. Two clarifications are being added to the transition rules in the notice. The revised notice, incorporating these two clarifications, will be included as scheduled in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2005-2, to be published on January 10, 2005.

The Value of Trust, A Clients Perspective

By, Joe Heller, The Strategy Samurai - One of the most challenging, if not the most difficult piece of the business development puzzle in a sale is - Trust. Trust today is truly the pivotal point of building a successful business relationship. Trust is rarely tied to a product or service but it is facilitated by the person interacting with the customer. Why is this important? Because everything depends on trust and in this day and age, trust is difficult to come by.

SBA Seeks Comments on Small Business Size Standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking comments from the general public on key issues relating to its small business size standards, the rules used by the SBA and other federal agencies to determine whether a business is small.

SBA Implements New Policy to Report on Small Business Federal Contracting

The U.S. Small Business Administration today implemented a new policy that enables the federal government to more accurately monitor contract awards when a small business is purchased or merged with a large business through the process of novation.The new policy requires a business to recertify itself as small for federal contracts transferred to it from another business if the contract is to continue being counted as a small business contract. It will also assist small businesses in obtaining contracts as federal agencies seek out new small businesses for contracting opportunities.

FEI Outlines Top Financial Reporting Challenges for 2005

Financial Executives International has identified the top 10 financial reporting challenges for 2005. These challenges will impact the way companies manage their businesses, report their financial results, and compensate their employees. The challenges include:Stock option expensing. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has mandated that all stock compensation be expensed beginning June 30, 2005 for most public companies. Smaller public companies and private firms have until the first annual reporting period after Dec.

Rothstein Kass Divests Investment Fund Business

Rothstein Kass, an international accounting and consulting firm with a specialization in the financial services industry and specifically alternative investments, announced today that it will divest its interests in RK Consulting, the Firm's investment fund administration affiliate. RK Consulting will be acquired by The BISYS Group, Inc. (NYSE: BSG), a leading provider of outsourcing solutions for the financial sector. The transaction, which is subject to usual and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the next several weeks.

Small Business Loan Programs Receive Significant Boost

President Bush signed legislation this month making more than $21 billion available to small businesses through the SBA’s two main loan programs. The legislation also reauthorizes the agency’s programs and provides a $580 million budget for fiscal year 2005.The SBA’s flagship 7(a) loan guarantee program was boosted to a $16 billion level, $3.5 billion above what the program provided last fiscal year, when a record $12.55 billion in financing was made to small business.

'Franchising is Small Business at Its Best', Tax Services Franchise Tops List

For the 26th year Entrepreneur magazine is pleased to announce the top franchise opportunities. The Top 10 franchises for 2005 are: Subway Curves The Quiznos Franchise Co. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service The UPS Store Sonic Drive-In Restaurants Jani-King 7-Eleven, Inc. Dunkin' Donuts RE/MAX Int'l, Inc. America has stepped up to the sandwich bar once again - Subway comes in at No. 1 for the 13th time in 18 years.

AICPA Issues Statement on Accounting for Real Estate Time-Sharing Transactions

The Accounting Standards Executive Committee (AcSEC) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has issued a Statement of Position (SOP) 04-2, Accounting for Real Estate Time-Sharing Transactions.AcSEC issued the SOP to address diversity in practice caused by a lack of guidance specific to real estate time-sharing transactions.

American Express Announces Card Issuing Alliance with Citibank

American Express announced late last week that it has reached an agreement for Citibank to issue credit cards in the United States that will be accepted on the American Express global merchant network.American Express anticipates that the new credit card products developed by Citibank will be available in late 2005.Citibank will be responsible for issuing the cards, managing the customer relationships, providing service, billing and credit management and designing the card product features.

FASB: Companies Must Expense Options

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on Thursday, published FASB Statement No. 123 (revised 2004), Share-Based Payment. Statement 123(R) will provide investors and other users of financial statements with more complete and neutral financial information by requiring that the compensation cost relating to share-based payment transactions be recognized in financial statements. That cost will be measured based on the fair value of the equity or liability instruments issued.

SEC's Chief Accountants Statement on FASB's Action

On Thursday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued its Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123 (revised 2004), Share-Based Payment (Statement 123R), which addresses the accounting for employee stock options. The Commission's Chief Accountant, Donald T. Nicolaisen, issued the following comments on Statement 123R:The issuance of Statement 123R represents another important improvement in US generally accepted accounting principles. It will result in more comparable information in financial statements provided to investors.

Tax Day Is Coming - Helpful Hints For Small Business Clients

Tax Day is fast approaching. CPAs with small business clients are often stressed understanding their client's various business expenditures during tax season. Small businesses rarely have the means to keep up strong accounting files.

New Law is the 'Sarbanes-Oxley' of the Human Resources Sector

A new provision passed in response to recent corporate scandals is likely to have an unintended -- and costly -- effect on consultants and employees ranging from staff members to top managers at all types of companies. The American Jobs Creation Act, which goes into affect Jan.


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