Bramwell's Lunch Beat: What Company Pays the Most Taxes?
Why was this jobs report so bad? Blame health care, accountants, and, uh, the performing arts
Neil Irwin, Washington Post columnist and economics editor of Wonkblog, wrote  about which sectors and industries were the culprit of the lackluster December jobs report, which showed only 74,000 new jobs were added last month, according to the US Department of Labor Statistics . Analysts pointed to bad weather as the reason for the low gains in employment.
Irwin looked at the recent trend of each of the major categories of employment – their average number of jobs added in the two months preceding the December report. He then compared their December jobs added or lost to the recent trend. Irwin stated the answer “helps explain what was different this month compared to the recent past, when overall job creation was three times as fast.”
He found that the construction industry wasn’t the biggest loser. Surprisingly, it was the health care industry, followed by professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.
Companies paying the most (and least) taxes
Check out which ten companies pay the most in taxes and the ten companies that pay the least in this article  on 24/7WallSt.com.
To determine the list of companies, Alexander E.M. Hess and Michael B. Sauter selected businesses with the highest income tax expense and the lowest income tax expense in their most recent fiscal year.
“Income tax expense includes tax liabilities and assets that may be deferred the year they are reported,” the article stated. “Data on factors that affected tax expenses, as well as effective tax rates, are from tax disclosures in [US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)] filings. All data are for the most recent fiscal year reported by each company.”
So, what company pays the most taxes? Hint: I stopped at one of its gas stations to fill up my car this morning.
New regulations among SEC’s 2014 examination priorities
Journal of Accountancy Senior Editor Ken Tysiac highlighted  the 2014 examination priorities for the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which cover a range of issues at financial institutions.
Tax shock ahead for wealthy
Brian Faler of Politico wrote  on January 10 that Democrats have pushed through several new taxes on the well-to-do, making the top tax bite steeper than first advertised.
“By how much is a matter of opinion, but some experts say the true top rate is about 45 percent – 5 percentage points higher than the usual sticker price or higher still depending on what’s included in the mix,” the article stated.
For example, taxes on capital gains top out at 25 percent, once various surcharges are included – a sharp increase from 2012.
“The newest taxes, designed to help defray the cost of Obama’s 2010 health care law, didn’t begin taking effect until the 2013 tax year,” he wrote. “One requires individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples above $250,000 to pay an additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax, in addition to the program’s 2.9 percent payroll tax. That’s projected to raise $87 billion over a decade, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.”
CFP Board moving to shorter, computer-based exams
Andrew Coen of Financial Planning reported  on January 10 the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards is shortening its CFP certification exam and is transitioning to a computer-based platform.
Starting in November, the computer-based exam will be administered in one day with six hours of testing time instead of its current day-and-a-half format, which includes ten hours of testing time.
Despite the significantly shorter testing time, the exam is equally thorough and covers the same content, the article stated. In addition, the test will be shortened from the current 285 multiple-choice questions to 170.
Accountant launches fitness enterprise
Josh Pichler of the Cincinnati Enquirer had a Q&A  with accountant Brent Kruithof, a former PwC employee who recently started FLYUP Fitness. The company’s flagship prototype product, the FLYUP, is essentially two blocks with handles designed to deliver a total body workout on any surface, the article stated.
“Busy season for an accountant is crazy. It involves a lot of travel and being out of town, staying in hotels. I wanted to still stay fit and go to the gym, but I couldn’t really do that with my busy season,” Kruithof told Pichler. “So that’s what led me to develop a fitness product that would allow me to get in a good workout at home or a hotel room when I was on the road.”
A $100 worth of Litecoin a year ago is worth $30,000 today
By now, most of us have heard about the digital currency Bitcoin. But have you heard of Litecoin, one of the many alternative cryptocurrencies – or altcoins – that have sprung up in Bitcoin’s wake? Kashmir Hill of Forbes spoke  with Litecoin creator Charlie Lee about the cryptocurrency’s history.