Administrative

Tax

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Partnership Transfers

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service last week issued proposed regulations providing guidance for determining when a transfer of consideration to a partnership by a partner and a transfer of consideration from that partnership to a different partner constitute a disguised sale of a partnership interest. These proposed regulations are intended to provide guidance regarding disguised sales of partnership interests.
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.
Tax

Treasury, IRS Clarify Employment Tax Treatments

The Treasury Department and the IRS on Tuesday, published two revenue rulings clarifying that payments by employers to employees made in connection with employment contracts are to be treated as wages for purposes of FICA, FUTA and Federal income tax withholding. The first ruling, Revenue Ruling 2004-109, clarifies that employment taxes must be paid – and income taxes withheld – on bonuses paid for signing of an employment contract.

NASD Bars Quattrone From Securities Industry

NASD's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) has permanently barred Frank Quattrone from working in the securities industry in any capacity for refusing to testify in an NASD investigation concerning his role in possible document destruction, obstruction of justice and other matters while at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). The NAC overruled an earlier NASD hearing panel decision to fine Frank Quattrone $30,000 and suspend him for one year.

U.S. Workers, Investors Largely Unaware of Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Eighty percent of U.S. workers and 76 percent of employed investors have never heard of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, according to a Hudson survey measuring its impact in the workplace. As the first compliance deadline approaches in December, only nine percent of workers say they have been asked to do something differently in their jobs as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Among working investors, defined as owning at least $5,000 in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, only seven percent indicated that Sarbanes-Oxley had increased their confidence as an investor.
Tax

Treasury, IRS Issue Indexed Amounts for Health Savings Accounts

On Monday, the Treasury Department and IRS issued new guidance on the maximum contribution levels for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and out-of-pocket spending limits for High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) that must be used in conjunction with HSAs. These amounts have been indexed for cost-of-living adjustments for 2005 and are included in Revenue Procedure 2004-71, which announces changes in several indexed amounts for purposes of the federal income tax. The minimum deductible required for HDHPs did not change.
Tax

Measure Allowing Examination of Tax Returns Holds Up Spending Bill

Congress applied the brakes to a $388 billion spending bill as Republican lawmakers scurried to repeal a measure that would allow the Appropriations committees to examine Americans' tax returns. The Washington Post reported that Republican lawmakers said they were surprised that the provision had been included in the bill - a massive omnibus spending package that allocates government funding for next year.The bill also includes the Bush administration's proposed changes in overtime rules, which critics say will deny an estimated 6 million workers overtime pay.

SOX Compliance Costs Average $16M Per Company

Survey of corporate boards released this week by RHR International and Directorship reveals annual Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs average $16 million--a jump of 77 percent from last year. Findings of the first annual Directorship/RHR International Board Survey also reveal that nearly half (47 percent) of companies surveyed do not have a CEO successor in place, although 61 percent expect that CEO leadership transition will go smoothly, according to the poll of almost 270 board directors at U.S. companies.
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.
Tax

IRS Implements New Program to Ensure High-Income Tax Compliance

The nation's highest income earners beware-the Internal Revenue Service has implemented a new program to assess whether high-income taxpayers are complying with federal income tax laws, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Community News

PricewaterhouseCoopers Revenues Rise to $17.6 Billion

PricewaterhouseCoopers announced today that aggregate global gross revenues of PricewaterhouseCoopers firms for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2004 rose to $17.6 billion, an increase of 4% in local currencies and just over 11% in US dollars from the previous year's $15.8 billion. Aggregate net revenues increased by nearly $2 billion to $16.3 billion, an increase of 6% in local currencies and just over 13% in US dollars.
Community News

PCAOB Releases Additional Guidance for Audits of Internal Control

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) this week released the third in a series of staff questions and answers to assist in the implementation of PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 2, regarding audits of public companies' internal control over financial reporting. The questions and answers, prepared by the PCAOB’s Office of the Chief Auditor, emphasize the flexibility provided by Auditing Standard No.
Tax

Suit Alleges IL Man Sold Bogus ‘Defense’ to Refusal to File Returns & Pay Taxes

The Justice Department on Wednesday asked a federal court in Chicago to stop William J. Benson, of South Holland, IL, from selling an allegedly fraudulent tax scheme and from unlawfully interfering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Tax

GAO: IRS' Tax Processing Performance has Generally Improved

Most taxpayers have their only contact with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the filing season, with tens of millions filing their returns, getting refunds, and seeking assistance by calling or visiting IRS’s offices or Web site.
Education & Careers

Accounting Grads Face Best Job Prospects in Years

College graduates with accounting degrees are entering the working world at a good time - recruiters are eager, jobs are plentiful and offers are attractive. Four in five employers called the job market for new grads good, very good or excellent, according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Last year, fewer than two in five described the job market that way, the Associated Press reported.Observers say graduates are facing the best prospects since the dot.com boom. The survey predicted college hiring will increase 13 percent over last year.
Technology

House Votes for 3-year Ban on Internet Access Taxes

Over the objections of some mayors and governors, the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to reinstate a moratorium on new state and local taxes on Internet access services. The new ban would expire Nov. 1, 2007 and is expanded to include high-speed wireless and DSL services. At least 19 states tax Internet access over digital subscriber lines.
Tax

IRS Receives Approval to Hire Private Debt Collectors

The Internal Revenue Service plans to hire private collectors to go after about $13 billion in unpaid taxes, a Republican House aide told Dow Jones Newswires. House and Senate negotiators on Friday gave the IRS the OK to hire private debt collectors, the aide was reported as saying. A measure that would block the private debt collection project was dropped from a year-end spending bill. U.S. Rep.
Tax

OSHA Orders Whistleblower Reinstated

Whistleblower David Windhauser, a controller for the Trane Corporation, must be reinstated and paid more than $105,000 in back wages, ruled the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA referred to the whistelblowing provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 when making its ruling that Windhauser's termination after he raised questions about the company's accounting practices to his supervisors, Business & Legal Reports (BLR.com) reported.Windhauser complained to OSHA's New York regional office after he was terminated. Patricia K.
Tax

$73 Million in Tax Refund Checks Go Undelivered

The Internal Revenue Service is looking for 87,485 taxpayers whose income tax refund checks could not be delivered. Checks totaling more than $73 million can be reissued as soon as taxpayers correct or update their addresses with the IRS. "If we owe you money, we'd like to get it to you," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "All you have to do is tell us where you are. Our Web site makes it easy for taxpayers to track their undelivered refund checks.""Where's My Refund?" on IRS.gov provides information about refunds and is available from the IRS home page.
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.

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