Economy

A&A

AMEX Plans to Pursue Spin-Off of Financial Advisors

American Express Company this week announced plans to pursue a spin-off to shareholders of its American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) unit. Shareholders would receive 100 percent of the common shares of American Express Financial Corporation, through which the financial advisors business is conducted.
A&A

Marsh & McLennan Agrees to Apologize, Pay $850 Million

Marsh & McLennan Cos. has agreed to pay $850 million to settle civil fraud charges brought by New York state's attorney general and the state insurance department, the Wall Street Journal reported.The agreement also involves an apology to the clients of the New York City-based financial services company, which allegedly rigged bids for insurance contracts and directed business to insurance companies that paid lucrative “contingent commissions" to the Marsh Inc. insurance brokerage.
Tax

Treasury and IRS Announce Guidance On Like-Kind Home Exchanges

Last week the Treasury Department and the IRS published a revenue procedure providing guidance on a like-kind exchange of a home. The revenue procedure clarifies that a homeowner, who may exclude gain upon a sale or exchange of a home, also may benefit from a deferral of gain for a like-kind exchange with respect to the same property. Generally, a homeowner may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for certain joint returns) of gain upon the sale or exchange of a home.
Tax

Report Identifies Ways U.S. Could Raise More Tax Revenue

Think you are paying too much in taxes? A recent report found that the federal government could raise an additional $311 billion over the next decade if it eliminated the hundreds of ways people and companies use to avoid paying their taxes, the New York Times reported.The report, prepared by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan Congressional agency that estimates the cost of proposed tax laws, found that the system for taxing income earned overseas by U.S. companies is so fraught with problems, the country could save $55 billion by getting rid of the entire system.
Community News

Wal-Mart Ponders Expansion into Other Industries Such as Banking

Those who worry that Wal-Mart is taking over the world take note-soon the mega mart might be venturing into banking, dentistry and health care among other industries, CNN/Money reported.Already at the top of the retail heap, Wal-Mart is considering expansion into other markets over the next five to 10 years.
Education & Careers

Majority of Workers Believe Their Bosses Lack Integrity, Fairness

More than half of American workers question the basic morality of their organizations' top leaders and say thattheir managers do not treat them fairly, according to results of a just-released, representative, nationwide survey of 7,718 American workers aged 18 and over.Reacting to ongoing corporate scandals, accelerating outsourcing and continued downsizing, only 36 percent of workers said they believed top managers acted with honesty and integrity.
Community News

Study: Which Metropolitan Areas Are the Most 'Financially Fit?'

A new study by InCharge(R)Institute of America , a nonprofit organization specializing in personal finance education, research and credit counseling, ranks 314 U.S. metropolitan areas to determine which are leading the nation in personal "financial fitness." The study looks at how different population centers measure up in offering the economic climate and conditions that promote financial fitness for its citizens.The study was conducted in late 2004 and examined 314 metropolitan areas across the three population categories.

CalPERS Sets Up Pension Debate Information Center

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced this week a special Web resource on proposals to privatize State and public agency pensions. "The Pension Debate Information Center" is intended to educate CalPERS members on existing programs and possible changes. The proposals call for an end to the traditional defined benefit pensions for employees hired as of July 1, 2007. New employees would be placed in defined contribution plans that cap employer contributions and let employees invest in 401(k)-type pension funds.

Nearly Half of U.S. Workers Financially Ill-Prepared for Retirement

Nearly half (45 percent) of the U.S. workforce does not believe it will have enough money set aside for a comfortable retirement. This according to the latest national Hudson retirement survey, which also finds that three-fourths (74 percent) of U.S. workers plan to work at least part-time during their retirement years.
Technology

Tax Denial Movement Grows with Help of Internet

Those who deny the legitimacy of the U.S. tax code have yet to win a case in court, but the tax denial movement appears to be growing anyway.Numerous factors are at work, the New York Times reported. For one, even though the Internal Revenue Service has repeatedly said it is cracking down on tax deniers, it conducts a third fewer audits than it did 15 yeas ago. Internet technology quickly spreads the claims of tax deniers, who are held up as heroes by antigovernment organizations.
Tax

California to Offer Amnesty to Tax Cheats

When you are the state of California and you're $8.6 billion in debt, it's going to take a mighty big bake sale to close the gap.
A&A

Report: Large Federal Contractors Miscoded As Small Businesses

Some large federal contractors have been miscoded as small businesses, resulting in skewed procurement statistics according to a report issued recently by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The report found that in Fiscal Year 2002 $2 billion in federal contracts were miscoded as going to small rather than large businesses.“This report clearly shows that there are problems with the federal procurement system,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy.

Google Settles SEC Suit for Failing to Report $80M in Options

The Securities and Exchange Commission last week charged Google, Inc. with failing to register the issuance of option grants to employees or provide required financial information to the option recipients. According to the Commission, the Silicon Valley search engine technology company issued over $80 million in stock options to its employees in the two years preceding its IPO, yet failed to register the securities or make financial disclosures mandated by federal securities law. To settle the charges, Google and its General Counsel, David C.

Nortel Restates Earnings; Seeks Return of Executive Bonuses

If a company fails to meet its financial goals, should executives have to return their bonuses?This question is at the heart of a controversy surrounding several former top executives at Nortel Networks, with the company signaling it will take legal action to recoup the money if necessary, the New York Times reported.On Tuesday, the Toronto-based telecom company released its highly anticipated-and often delayed-financial restatements for 2001 to 2003, with an internal probe pointing to executive manipulation to ensure bonuses, the Times reported.In an unusual development, Nortel, the
A&A

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
Tax

Bush Appoints Panel to Overhaul Tax Code

President Bush is attempting to take a bipartisan path toward overhauling the U.S.
Tax

The Year Ahead, Revenue Growth and Managing Costs Top List of Concerns

What keeps financial executives up at night? Making sure their businesses are in the black. In a new nationwide survey, 34 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) said their company’s top priority for 2005 is growing revenue. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents said they anticipate employee healthcare plans to be the biggest cost increase over the next 12 months.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S.
Tax

IRS Tax Tip: Taxpayer Rights a Priority for IRS

The law requires the IRS to protect taxpayer rights, and in its day-to-day operations, the IRS and its employees make taxpayer rights a top priority. This includes explaining those rights to taxpayers, keeping taxpayer information private and confidential and being professional and courteous.Besides what is expected of IRS employees, taxpayers have many other rights. They have the right to have someone represent them before the IRS and to accompany them to any meeting with IRS employees.
Tax

LA Sues Travel Websites for Underpaying Hotel Taxes

Los Angeles leaders have accused Internet travel companies of costing the city millions of dollars a year by underpaying hotel taxes. AdvertisementAccountingWEB is pleased to bring you tools that can help systematize the accounting department of a small company, corporate business or a public accounting firm.
Community News

Talent Management Among Top Five Priorities in 2005

Providing rewards programs that attract, motivate and help retain employees has been ranked among the top five priorities for employers in 2005, according to a new survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP's Human Capital practice and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS).

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