Economy

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.

Fannie Mae Warns of Possible $9B Loss, KPMG Won't Sign Off

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced Tuesday that an unfavorable ruling on how it accounts for derivatives would mean a loss of $9 billion after taxes. The estimate is based on the derivatives' value as of Sept. 30, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A&A

New Report Outlines State of Small Business

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration today unveiled a major new federal government report, The Small Business Economy, 2004, which outlines the state of small business and its contributions to the economy. This latest in an annual series analyzes 2003 data. "In 2003, the overall economic indicators improved as the economy gained momentum," said Office of Advocacy Chief Economist Dr. Chad Moutray. "Small businesses led the way.
A&A

SEC Considering Plan to Standardize Exchange Governance

The Securities and Exchange Commission's five commissioners agreed to float a plan released today that would require 10 U.S. stock markets to file quarterly reports with regulators, Bloomberg reported.The exchanges, which include the New York Stock Exchange, would also have to ensure that a majority of their directors are independent.
Tax

Treasury, IRS Issue Proposed Regulations on Phased Retirement

The Treasury Department and IRS issued proposed regulations permitting private pension plans to begin pension payments to employees as part of a phased retirement program.
A&A

2005 Toyota Prius Certified for Clean-Fuel Deduction, $2000 Deduction for 2004/2005

The Internal Revenue Service has certified the Toyota Prius for model year 2005 as being eligible for the clean-burning fuel deduction. The certification means taxpayers who purchase this vehicle new may claim a tax deduction of $2,000 on Form 1040.Federal tax law allows individuals to claim a deduction for the incremental cost of buying a motor vehicle that is propelled by a clean-burning fuel.
Community News

2005 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide Now Available

Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase an average of 2.4 percent next year, according to the just-released 2005 Salary Guide from Robert Half International Inc. Internal auditors and professionals focused on Sarbanes-Oxley and other corporate governance-related initiatives will see the greatest demand for their services and, as a result, the biggest increases in base compensation, research shows. The 2005 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of the thousands of job orders managed by the company's U.S. offices.

AICPA Launches New Website '360 Degrees of Financial Literacy'

As part of its on-going efforts to improve the financial health of Americans across all life stages and socio-economic levels, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the CPA profession went live this week with its new consumer website.

CEOs Carry Twice the Burden of Reputation Recovery

The burden of responsibility for restoring a company's damaged reputation rests squarely on CEO shoulders, according to global communications consultancy Burson-Marsteller's recent CEO reputation study. When top executives were asked who was responsible for repairing company reputation, executives attributed 68 percent of the responsibility to the CEO and 32 percent to the board of directors.
Tax

Commercial Property Owners Among Winners in New Tax Law

President Bush has approved $136 billion in tax breaks for businesses, commercial property owners, farmers and others in a dramatic rewrite of corporate tax law.
Tax

Black & Decker Prevails in Tax-Shelter Suit

The Internal Revenue Service owes Black & Decker Corp.
Tax

IRS Announces Pension Plan Limitations for 2005

The Internal Revenue Service announced on Wednesday the cost of living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for Tax Year 2005.Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. It also requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases. Many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2005. For most of the limitations, the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.
Tax

Social Security Announces 2.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2005

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 52 million Americans will increase 2.7 percent in 2005, the Social Security Administration announced this week. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits increase automatically each year based on the rise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding period of the current year. This year's increase in the CPI-W was 2.7 percent.
A&A

Congress Redefines 'Gimme' for Golfers

Critics of the new tax bill have called it “a pile of pork,” pointing to the goodies handed out to businesses of all kinds, but one group that has escaped criticism are professional golfers.
Community News

Corporate Boards, Sr. Executives See Shortcomings in Monitoring & Reporting

According to a new survey conducted on behalf of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), only about one third (34 percent) of board members and top executives polled say their companies are proficient at monitoring critical non-financial indicators of corporate performance.The majority of board directors and senior executives surveyed for the study — called "In the Dark: What Boards and Executives Don’t Know about the Health of Their Businesses" — said that factors such as customer satisfaction, innovation, supplier relations and employee commitment are crit

Nordic Countries Lead the Way in Competitiveness Rankings, U.S. Remains Second

Finland remains the most competitive economy in the world and tops the rankings for the second consecutive year in The Global Competitiveness Report 2004-2005, released today by the World Economic Forum. The United States is in second position, followed by Sweden, Taiwan, Denmark and Norway, consecutively.
Tax

Tax Loophole with EU Closed by Controversial Bill

The Senate has taken action to finally close a loophole that has resulted in a tax dispute with the European Union in a bill that cleared the U.S. Senate Monday with a 69-17 vote. It is expected that President Bush will sign “The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004” into law, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Tax

Complete Analysis of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 Available

RIA, a Thomson business and the premier provider of technology and information to tax professionals in accounting firms, corporations, law firms and the public sector, announces the availability of RIA’s Complete Analysis of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 on Checkpoint, the integrated solution for online tax and accounting information.The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004, about to be signed into law, includes a number of tax breaks for individuals and their families, as well as business.

Newly Redesigned $50 Bill Arrives

Newly redesigned $50 notes arrive at banks beginning on Tuesday ready to make their way into circulation and consumer wallets. The $50 note includes enhanced security features, subtle background colors of blue and red, images of a waving American flag and a small metallic silver-blue star. The new design is part of the U.S. government's ongoing efforts to stay ahead of counterfeiting and protect the integrity of U.S. currency."The stability and integrity of U.S.

Consumers Don't Understand Their Credit Scores, Do You?

As companies and organizations increasingly utilize credit scores to evaluate individuals as prospective customers, employees or tenants, it is essential that consumers know their credit score, understand what it means, and learn how to raise it. But according to a new survey developed by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and Providian Financial, most Americans do not understand credit scores even when they think their knowledge of credit is good.

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