Government

Tax

Dems Claim Hollow Victory on Tax Cut Bill

It was closer than initially expected, but the Senate approved a bill on July 25 to extend lower income tax rates for most Americans.
Tax

Estate Tax Relief Takes a Back Seat

With all the talk about income tax increases and cuts, you'd think there would be more discussion about a pending estate tax bombshell. But the prospect of higher estate taxes in 2013 doesn't appear to be a concern on the Hill.
Practice

Criminal Background Checks and Hiring Practices

Criminal background checks for job applicants have become standard operating procedure for many companies. However, companies that routinely conduct such background checks should look at their current policies and procedures.
A&A

CPAs Examine Impact of Health Care Decision

The Supreme Court ruled to uphold much of the PPACA, which puts in motion the expansion of the health care system, including the individual mandate requiring all U.S. citizens to maintain minimum health care coverage or pay a penalty.
Tax

Supreme Court Upholds Obama Health Care Law

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision this morning (June 28, 2012), upheld President Obama's health care law, declaring the individual mandate constitutional as a tax.
Practice

Potential of Disabled Worker Quotas on Federal Contractors

Companies with federal government contracts or subcontracts may soon risk losing their contracts if they do not meet quotas to hire more disabled workers.
Tax

Facebook's Saverin: Senators Propose Crackdown on 'Friends with Tax Benefits'

Two US Senators are feeling anything but friendly toward Eduardo Saverin, one of the cofounders of the social networking site Facebook. They have proposed new legislation, called the Ex-PATRIOT Act, which would impose a mandatory 30-percent capital gains tax rate for expatriates on all future investment gains.
A&A

New GASB User Guide Helps Taxpayers Understand School District Finances

How can taxpayers follow how their money is being spent on public education? What is the difference between a school district's budget and its financial statements? Answers to these questions, and many others, can be found in GASB's new user guide, What You Should Know about Your School District's Finances.
Tax

Study: Taxpayers Willing to Sacrifice to Reform Social Security

A new study ? "The Effect of Accounting Information on Taxpayers' Acceptance of Tax Reform" ? suggests that if taxpayers had a different understanding of the financial sustainability of Social Security, they might be more willing to make sacrifices to reform the system.
A&A

KPMG Survey: New Excise Tax Will Hit Medical Device Companies Hard

Financial executives in the medical device manufacturing industry predict that a new excise tax and the burden of its related compliance costs will have a negative impact on their company bottom lines, according to a survey conducted by KPMG LLP, the audit, tax, and advisory firm.
Tax

Study Finds the Odds Favor IRS in Supreme Court Tax Cases

The odds are stacked against corporations whose disputes with the IRS go all the way to the Supreme Court, according to a new study by Joshua Blank, faculty director of the graduate tax program at NYU law school, and Nancy Staudt, a tax scholar at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law.
A&A

GAO Find Weaknesses in SEC Information Systems Security Program

In a letter dated April 12 to SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, James Dalkin, GAO director of financial management and assurance, and Gregory Wilshusen, GAO director of information security issues, stated that "improvements were needed in the SEC's internal controls and accounting procedures."
Election 2012

Obama and Biden Release Tax Returns – Are They Fair?

The two top executives in the US government – President Obama and Vice President Biden – released their 2011 federal tax returns this past week. The Obama's return resulted in an effective tax rate slightly higher than 20 percent. For the Biden, the effective tax rate was more than 23 percent.
Tax

TIGTA Report: IRS Computer Security Center Effective, Could Be Better

The CSIRC, which is responsible for monitoring the IRS network for cyber attacks and computer vulnerabilities, "is effectively performing most of its responsibilities for preventing, detecting, and responding to computer security incidents," according to a new report publicly released by TIGTA.
Tax

Illinois Federal Court Shuts Down "Employee Benefit Plan" Tax Scheme

On March 6, the Justice Department announced that a federal court permanently barred Tracy L. Sunderlage, Linda Sunderlage, and four companies from operating an alleged scheme to help high-income individuals attempt to avoid income taxes by funneling money through purported employee benefit plans.
A&A

Update: Health Care Law under the Microscope

On March 30, the US Supreme Court held closed-door deliberations on President Obama's health care overhaul law. It is likely they cast their preliminary votes on how they will eventually rule. As the Supreme Court is known for keeping its secrets, no leaks are expected before formal opinions are written and announced from the bench. This is not expected until late June.
A&A

Credit Rating Should Be Improved, Not Discarded

Regulatory downgrading of the role of credit raters is misguided. Development of ethical and professional standards would make information needed by investors more useful and reliable. The culpability of credit rating agencies in contributing to the financial crisis has been debated, but without conclusive agreement.
Practice

Employers Paying the Penalty for Wage and Hour Violations

In prosecution of wage and hour violations, the stakes are getting personal. In several recent cases, the government has penalized company owners and officers for failing to pay overtime, imposing stiff fines and even imprisonment.
Tax

IRS Needs Better Oversight of Repayment by Tax Cheats

According to a new Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report - Procedures Are Needed to Improve the Accounting and Monitoring of Restitution Payments to Prevent Erroneous Refunds - the IRS should beef up its internal controls to make sure that those convicted of tax crimes pay up.
Practice

Treasury Proposes New Rules for Annuity Options in Retirement Plans

The U.S. Treasury and the IRS have proposed a package of regulations and rulings intended to encourage retirees to invest some proceeds of their retirement accounts in annuities. Retirees have shown no interest in this type of investment because they are reluctant to invest their entire retirement account in an annuity.

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