Administrative

Tax

Tax Preparation Companies Competing for Business

In a practice that some accountants say cheapens the entire profession, tax preparers are going all out to make the most of the four-month tax season, relying on gimmicks of all kinds to lure customers.The Detroit News reported that Liberty Tax Service, one of the top three tax preparation firms in the country along with H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, are using people in Statue of Liberty and Uncle Sam costumes to hand out coupons.H&R Block has offered a "Double Your Refund" promotion that earned winner Kevin Robertson an $11,046 refund, twice with the commercial carpenter had expected.
Community News

PwC, Partners Hit with Class-Action Pension Suit

A former PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC employee has instigated a class-action suit against the Big Four firm claiming unfair pension practices, Pension and Investments reported.The company, as well as its partners who oversee the pension and retirement plans, face a class-action lawsuit that contends they used the pension plans as tax shelters for well-off partners to the detriment of regular employees and the public.Pension and Investments reported that PwC's cash balance plan, with $1.4 billion in assets at the end of June 2003, and a 401(k) plan, with $1.6 billion in assets for the fisca
Tax

IRS Announces the 2005 Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday unveiled its annual listing of notorious tax scams, the "Dirty Dozen," reminding taxpayers to be wary of schemes that promise to eliminate taxes or otherwise sound too good to be true.The "Dirty Dozen" for 2005 includes several new scams that either manipulate laws governing charitable groups, abuse credit counseling services or rely on refuted arguments to claim tax exemptions.
Tax

Tax Dodger Owes $210M, Largest Criminal Tax Case in US History

A Washington telecommunications executive faces a lengthy prison term if the government is successful in its attempts to prosecute him for failing to pay nearly $210 million in taxes, Dow Jones Newswires reported.In the largest individual criminal tax case in U.S. history, Walter Anderson, 51, was charged Wednesday on a 12-count sealed indictment handed down by a federal grand jury.The District of Columbia resident allegedly used numerous corporations to hide earnings totaling nearly $450 million, evading federal and District taxes.
Community News

Competition Begins Early for Plum Summer Internships

Another summer is just around the corner and the race is on among America's college students to land the best internships to jump-start their careers.With statistics showing the rate of hiring from internships on the rise, it has become ever more important for students to gain entry to corporate America before graduation to have a foot in the door later. The Wall Street Journal's Weekend Journal recently surveyed more than 150 companies in 10 different industries to identify internship trends.
Tax

More than a Thousand Whistleblower Cases Discarded in 2004

Washington, DC — The U.S. Special Counsel has dismissed more than 1,000 whistleblower cases in the past year, according to a letter from the Bush-appointed Special Counsel released last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Special Counsel appears to have taken action in very few, if any, of these cases and has yet to represent a single whistleblower in an employment case.In a letter dated February 14, 2005 and addressed to U.S.

New Tools, Strategies Used To Prosecute U.S. Corporate Crimes

By Christopher Wray, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of JusticeCorporate crimes injure investors, employees, and the capital markets that fund the needs of existing firms and promote new businesses.
Tax

Andersen Appeal to go Before Justices in April

According to The Houston Chronicle, the United States Supreme Court announced this week it will hear arguments April 27 on whether to overturn the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm for obstruction of justice in the shredding of Enron documents. The focus of the appeal will be on how the law was presented to the jury. A decision could come as early as June.Last month the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the company's June 2002 obstruction of justice conviction.
Community News

Nonprofit that Collapsed Amid Scandal Sues Accounting Firm

A San Francisco nonprofit that went out of business after failing to account for $19 million in donations is suing its auditor.The suit, filed by PipeVine's court-appointed receiver, seeks unspecified damages as a "result of the acts, omissions and breach of duty by defendant Grant Thornton,” according to the San Francisco Business Times.
Tax

Ryder Resolves 1998-2000 Tax Audit, Pays $175M to IRS

Ryder System, Inc., a global leader in transportation and supply chain management solutions, today announced it has resolved all issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) related to the 1998 to 2000 tax period. In connection with the resolution of this audit, the Company expects to pay approximately $175 million (after offsets of available federal net operating losses and alternative minimum tax carry-forwards) in February 2005, plus interest from December 31, 2004 to the date of payment.The amounts Ryder expects to pay are within the amounts previously accrued for the matters.
Tax

Settlement Offer Extended for Executive Stock Option Tax Scheme

The Internal Revenue Service announced a settlement initiative for executives and companies that participated in an abusive tax avoidance transaction involving the transfer of stock options or restricted stock to family controlled entities.Under this scheme, executives, often facilitated by their corporate employers, transferred stock options to family controlled partnerships and other related entities typically created for the sole purpose of receiving the options and avoiding taxes on compensation income normally taxed to the executive.
Technology

California Launches ReadyReturn Tax Program

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) last week announced the launch of ReadyReturn, a new pilot program that provides selected taxpayers with an already completed tax return. "For most people, filling out a tax return is about as fun as a trip to the dentist," said State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly. "With ReadyReturn, we've done the hard work for you." The FTB designed the program to ease the filing burden on taxpayers who file the simplest returns, such as those whose only source of income and tax payments are from wages and withholding.
Community News

CFOs Say, Cash is Still King When Rewarding Employees

Non-monetary incentives have gained popularity as a means of rewarding employees, but financial executives recently said that cash bonuses are still the preferred method for recognizing their teams' hard work. Forty-six percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) cited bonuses as the most effective way to acknowledge a job well done.The survey was developed by Accountemps and was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Tax

Audit: IRS Acted Properly In Probing Nonprofits

The Internal Revenue Service did nothing improper in investigating inappropriate political activity by certain charity groups, although timing the probes so close to the presidential election looked suspicious, a new report says.An external audit randomly selected 40 of the churches, civic groups or charities that were investigated and found that their activities could be characterized as favoring Republicans in 18 cases, Democrats in 12 cases and the Green Party in one case, the Associated Press reported.
Technology

Fraud Prevention Tops Corporate Boards' To-Do Lists

FIRSTGlobal Investigations, a division of BDO Seidman LLP, predicts that fraud prevention will top priority lists for many corporate boards in the coming year.Boards had to focus on complying with the internal control requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act last year, but putting training programs in place to prevent fraud should attract greater attention this year, the Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal reported.
Community News

Companies Pushing For Lower Audit Fees for 2005

U.S. public companies are looking for a price break from their auditors this year.The internal control requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act forced many companies to spend more than twice what they budgeted last year, so they're looking to pay far less this year, according to a study given to Reuters by CFO Executive Board, a division of Washington research group Corporate Executive Board Co.Section 404 of SOX requires that the companies' external auditors produce details of their internal controls and how those controls will combat fraud by next month.
Community News

U.S. Public Companies Changing Audit Firms at Record Pace

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 did not require public companies to regularly change audit firms, but it seems many of them are doing so anyway.The Wall Street Journal reported on a study released Wednesday by proxy-advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co. that showed more than 1,600 public companies left their audit firm last year, which represents a 78 percent increase over 2003.Over the two-year period, 2,514 companies switched audit firms, which is nearly a quarter of all U.S.
Technology

New Technology Gives E-Mailers Chance to Rethink Messages

Who hasn't hit send on an e-mail message and instantly wanted to get it back? Whether it contains inappropriate content or private company information, a new product aims to give users a second chance.Forbes reported that a new product from a company called InBoxer (formerly known as Audiotrieve) is on display at the Demo Conference in New York this week. The product, known as OutBoxer, scans outgoing e-mail messages looking for inappropriate content, unauthorized disclosure of information and tries to encourage senders to improve their messages before they actually send them.
Tax

Tax Code Overhaul May Include Hybrid System

A panel set up to recommend changes to the U.S. tax code is considering a hybrid income and consumption tax system, which is favored by the panel's vice chairman. "Going all-in-one in one direction or going to all-in-one in another direction ... is not, in my perspective, the best way to approach it," former U.S. Sen.
A&A

Majority of Executives Claim They Don't Deserve Customer Loyalty

Companies continue the downward trend of taking their customers for granted and the overall relationship between company and customer is getting worse, according to the 2004 annual survey and Customer Experience Management (CEM) report from Strativity Group, Inc. in cooperation with CustomerSat, Inc.

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