A&A news

A&A

As Stock-Option Rule Nears, Opponents Turn up Heat

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is soon expected to require companies to expense stock options like other forms of compensation, but opponents are fiercely lobbying Congress to block the new rule.The anticipation of FASB action, which could come this week, has "galvanized the effort" said Jeffrey Peck, a lobbyist and consultant to the International Employee Stock Options Coalition.
Community News

How do we Spread Flexibility in the Workplace?

Despite the desire by many attorneys at some time in their careers to have more flexibility in their working arrangements, particularly now that technology makes it so much easier, decision makers and even the candidates for flexibility themselves resist such arrangements. The deterrents to faster progress are perceived fears and uncalculated costs and benefits.
A&A

SEC Investigates Executive Compensation at Tyson Foods

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Tyson Foods Inc., looking into the compensation paid to the company’s officers, including Chief Executive Officer John H. Tyson, 50, grandson of the company’s founder.The world’s largest meat processor acknowledged that the SEC’s probe has shifted from informal to formal, Bloomberg reported.According to company filings with the SEC, Tyson received a 2003 salary of $993,590 plus a $2.5 million bonus and $325,286 in “other compensation.” He was elected chairman in 1998 and became chairman in 2000.
Community News

IMA Members Win Awards for Top CMA/CFM Scores

The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) is honoring 18 IMA Members with awards for their superior scores on the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified Financial Manager (CFM) examinations, during summer 2003.Those who have achieved IMA’s global CMA/CFM designations are among an elite group of distinguished managerial finance and accounting professionals who have advanced beyond the practical accounting skill set.
A&A

Treasury, IRS Caution Taxpayers about Frivolous Tax Refund Claims on Stock Options

Last week, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued a notice cautioning taxpayers against promoters who purport to offer ways in which the taxpayers can avoid income tax or alternative minimum tax (AMT) from the exercise of stock options.
A&A

IRS Says Credit-Counseling Firms May Face Prosecution

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson has threatened criminal prosecution and revocation of tax-exempt status for credit counseling companies that charge high fees and even fail to send money to the creditors of their debt-ridden customers.Everson told a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that his agency’s audits "may very well result in the lifting of some tax exemptions and, in fact, criminal referrals to the Department of Justice." Testifying before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's investigative panel, Everson said audits on one-third of the $1 billion nonprofit industry should be com
A&A

Homeowners Could See New Tax Break on PMI

Congress is considering a new tax deduction for homebuyers who could not afford a down payment amounting to 20 percent of the purchase price.Those homeowners have to pay private mortgage insurance, which banks and lenders charge when the down payment is below the 20 percent threshold. The Associated Press reported that under a tax plan before Congress, millions of lower-income homeowners would be able deduct that cost, which is significant in some cases.For example, the owner of a $160,000 house would pay $50 to $80 every month for private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI.
A&A

AOL Launches 'Bill Pay' Service, AOL Personal Users Take Note

America Online, Inc., (AOL) announced this week the launch of AOL(R) Bill Pay, a new service that helps AOL's community of users save time and money with a streamlined way to track and pay bills online as well as manage their personal finances. AOL Bill Pay is more than just a bill payment service; it is a life management tool, according to AOL releases, that interacts with AOL emails, alerts and calendar. For example, alerts can be set up to notify members of large transactions on their credit cards, which may be an early indicator of identity theft or fraud.
A&A

Top Secrets to Hiring the Best People for Your Firm

By Christopher KnightTo hire the best, you must be the best. What can you do today, to take another step closer to being the best? When possible, do a quick seven minute telephone interviews, and have some key qualifying questions ready, so that when you are in a real 'face to face' interview, you're already 50% closer to hiring a real candidate. Don't assume that you know what is important to your interviewee, because until you ask them what is important, you don't know. Always Be Recruiting!
A&A

FASB Establishes Small Business Advisory Committee

In an effort to increase involvement by the small business community in developing U.S. accounting standards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has established a Small Business Advisory Committee. Committee members will be a resource to the FASB in providing additional and ongoing input on accounting issues before the Board.
Community News

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Plans IPO

Cendant Corporation and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary, announced this week that Jackson Hewitt has filed a registration statement with the SEC for the sale by Cendant of 100% of its ownership interest in Jackson Hewitt in a planned initial public offering. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. are serving as joint book-running managers of the offering. The initial public offering is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2004.
Tax

Do You Have a Deductible Home Office? IRS Tax Tip

Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business.
Tax

Selling Your Home: IRS Tax Tip

If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.To be eligible for this exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale. The two years may consist of 24 full months or 730 days. Short absences, such as for a summer vacation, count as periods of use.
A&A

KPMG’s Independence Questioned by States in WorldCom Bankruptcy Proceedings

As WorldCom strives to emerge next month from bankruptcy-court protection, several states are questioning the independence of KPMG, the company’s auditor.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is claiming it was denied $89.9 million in tax revenue because of an aggressive KPMG-promoted tax strategy that helped WorldCom cut its state tax obligations by hundreds of millions of dollars in the years before its 2002 bankruptcy filing, the Wall Street Journal reported.Thirteen other states have joined the action led by Massachusetts Commissioner of Revenue Alan LeBovidge, who filed documents yest
A&A

Study says Organized NCAA Pools Could Save Firms Money

It’s that time of year again — time for basketball fans to put aside their work to study stats, ponder possibilities and start picking the teams they hope will end up in the Final Four.Are NCAA office pools a wasteful disruption or a pleasant diversion? A recent study suggests that March Madness may cost companies more than $1.5 billion in lost productivity.
A&A

Big Four Accounting Firms Express Their Support of the FASB to Congress

On Wednesday, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), along with the other "Big Four" accounting firms sent a joint letter to members of Congress regarding the independence of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
A&A

Martha’s Case Serves Up New Batch of Lessons

While plenty of Martha bashers are enjoying the idea of the style maven locked behind bars, there are those even among her detractors who can’t fathom how she is suddenly a convicted felon when those people who caused Enron’s downfall are still walking the streets. According to one pundit, they committed REAL crimes.
A&A

Don't Wait for Tax Time to Look at the Bottom Line

By C.J. Hayden, MCCA curious thing happens to entrepreneurs in the spring of every year. They wake up one day and realize they had better figure out how much money they made last year so they can pay their taxes. But wait, shouldn't a business owner already KNOW how much money he or she made last year, last quarter, or last month? If you don't keep track of how much money you're making, you have no idea whether your business is successful or not. You can't tell how well your marketing is working.
A&A

Franchise Tax Board Announces Latest Tax Shelter Crackdown; Targets Promoters

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced this week that it is sending another 10,000 notification letters to both the taxpayers who may have used illegal tax shelters and to the businesses that sell them. This latest effort is on top of the 18,000 letters already sent as part of a continuing effort to crackdown on this costly problem. California has obtained thousands of abusive tax shelter leads from the IRS, states, and other sources of information. These leads identify taxpayers, promoters, and tax schemes involved in sheltering income.
A&A

'How Do We Do That Around Here? A Question of Policies & Procedures'

By Kenneth M. McCall, MBA, MCPPut yourself in the position of a newly hired staff accountant in your firm. You’ve just completed the Human Resources orientation, received network login credentials from the computer department, and even had a little orientation training on the software that the firm uses for various job functions. Now it’s time to go to work!Will it be clear to you how the job functions of the firm are carried out? Whether you’re an auditor or assigned to the tax department, will it be clear to you how the firm expects you to do your job?

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