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AICPA Offers Members Professional and Commercial Benefits

Membership in professional associations, both national and a state organizations, brings a host of benefits to the CPA, according to The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA or the Institute), the premier accounting professional association in the US, with links to state societies, counts 345,000 CPAs as members.
Community News

Katrina Victims Get More Time to Get Direct Deposit

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday announced the activation of accelerated direct deposit enrollment procedures for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check recipients displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

CORRECTION: Tax Court Make Decisions For and Against Taxpayers

The prospect of delaying tax collections by using frivolous court cases is not a good tactic. The U.S. Tax Court levied penalties totaling $117,500 from 2004 up to now. The Seattle Times reports that taxpayer penalties since 2001 now total $378,900. Tax court cases are sometimes appealed to higher courts but even federal appeals courts have upheld earlier Tax Court decisions and imposed steep penalties.

Unemployment Insurance Celebrates 70 Years of Assistance

Created by the law that created the Social Security system, Unemployment Insurance is celebrating an anniversary. The Social Security Act of 1935 set up the federal-state partnership for the unemployment insurance (UI) program and Michigan was the first state to adopt their own UI law.“Citizens really need this program. There are thousands and thousands of workers all across the nation that depend on this program,” said Ron Macksoud, a public information specialist of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations speaking with the Auburn Plainsman.

DoD Employees Asked to Access Pay Documents Online

A new policy issued last week by the Department of Defense (DoD) asks servicemembers, government civilians and retirees to obtain need pay documents from an online web site the American Forces Information Service.

Hurricane's Harm to Crops Could Influence Farm Subsidies Debate

Farmers across the country are racing against time to save at least part of a devastating harvest season.In the gulf states that were directly impacted by the fury of Hurricane Katrina, farmers are rushing to save dying cattle, restore electricity and find scarce, and expensive, diesel fuel. Farmers in the breadbasket states need to move their corn, soybeans and wheat to export markets, but the just-opened Port of New Orleans is a transportation bottleneck. The American Farm Bureau Federation predicts $2 billion in damage to farmers nationwide, the New York Times reported.
Education & Careers

Massive Unemployment and Relief in the Wake of Katrina

Forecasts by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are putting unemployment at 400,000 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The CBO released a report on the nation’s worst natural disaster and its economic impact last week. Although Katrina caused a “significant but not overwhelming"impact to our economy, recession is not expected as a result of the storm. Estimates of pre-Katrina payroll job growth were set at between 600,000 and 800,000 and those numbers will be be reduced by the 400,000 in the final quarter of the year.

Accounting Software Aids Nations’ Stability and Financial Accountability

Not every financial-accountability software solution can claim to change how countries work. The Government Accountability Solutions from FreeBalance can. And it is finding a niche in developing countries as well as those undergoing reconstruction or restructuring.“What we do is combine multiple bank accounts in one, automate it and divide (fiscal) responsibility so one person can’t control everything,” Bruce Lazenby, President and CEO of FreeBalance told the Business Edge (Ontario, Canada). “This leaves a trail for an auditor.

SBA Small Business Report Raises Criticism

Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) has alleged that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) incorrectly reported data contained in their prime contracting report on 2004 federal contacting. The report released in August stated small businesses had been awarded 23.1 percent of all federal contracting dollars or $69.2 billion on about 4.4 million actions.

Growing Use of Data Mining in Businesses and Government

Data mining technology, which can scan unstructured data to identify trends or link users, and generate reports that answer analytical questions, is finding new users in both government and businesses, according to the Seattle Times. Success came for the technology with the development of programs that allow computers to understand content.

A Closer Look at the First Mandatory E-filing System Using XBRL

The first mandatory e-filing system using XBRL will officially be launched on October 1. The system, known as the Call Report Modernization Project utilizes the Central Data Repository (CDR) a secure shared database containing the quarterly filings of the nation’s estimated 8,400 financial institutions. Call Reports collect the basic financial data from commercial banks in the form of balance sheets, income statements and supporting schedules. They are used to supervise and evaluate the financial condition of the institutions.
Community News

Indian Trust Fund Scandal Points to Decades of Poor Accounting

Thousands of American Indians are still waiting for the federal government to account for billion of dollars held in trust in what is the largest and longest-running class-action lawsuit against the government.Advertisement

Florida Finite Reinsurance Requirements Withdrawn

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has become the second state in three weeks to withdraw proposed requirements handling the treatment of finite reinsurance contracts. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is in the process of developing uniform standards for all states in the wake of the fall of Maurice “Hank” Greenberg at American International Group (AIG). “PCI is pleased with the actions of Commissioner Kevin McCarty and the OIR for its withdrawal of the proposed additional state-specific reinsurance requirements.
Community News

KPMG Settles with Justice Department and IRS -- Eight Ex-Partners Indicted

KPMG agreed to pay a $456 million fine and admitted in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday that it sold fraudulent tax shelters designed to help wealthy clients avoid taxes, the Associated Press reported. Eight former tax partners and a lawyer who provided advice to KPMG were indicted for tax shelter fraud and are due to be arraigned August 31, the AP and Bloomberg News reported.
Community News

BRAC Commission Updates

The 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) met last week to vote on its list for submission to the President. The nine-member commission is almost at the end of the current session of their controversial work. The current round of Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) office realignments are supposed to save taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion over the next 20 years. In total, the entire consolidation program is supposed to save taxpayers over $48 billion over the same 20-year period. All DFAS offices are being consolidated into five national offices.

Seeking Wounded Soldiers with Debt

Recognizing that the U.S. military is not always administered with military precision, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which became law in 2003, protects active-duty military members against foreclosures, evictions, repossessions and default judgments. It also caps interest on their debts at 6 percent. But what happens when a service member is wounded and separates from the military?In some cases, at least, it seems the debts are being referred to credit bureaus and collection agencies.

BRAC Commission Making Final Recommendations

The 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) has announced that it is ready to review and vote on each individual proposed closure and Department of Defense (DOD) realignment commencing August 24 to August 27. The Commission must submit its final recommendations to President Bush on September 8. The President must approve or disapprove the Commission list by the September 23 deadline.

Good News for US Employer Pension Funds

New research shows that pension plans in the United States (US) are four times more likely to be fully funded than occupational in the United Kingdom (UK). In a company press release, Aon Consulting reports that only 5 percent of UK pension plans are fully funded compared to 20 percent of US pension plans for year-end 2004 based on company annual reports.
Community News

AICPA Names Grant Ashley Outstanding CPA in Government 2005

Grant Ashley, FBI Executive Assistant Director and CPA, is the 2005 recipient of the Outstanding CPA in Government Award from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Mr. Ashley is the highest-ranking CPA in the FBI.The award, presented by William F.

Government Changing the Rules for Truckers

The next two months will see two important changes affecting the trucking industry. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding truckers and owners of heavy highway vehicles that the deadline for filing Form 2290 and payment, in full, of any taxes due is August 31, 2005. In addition, new rule issued by the U.S.


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