Government

Community News

CFOs Name Top Sarbanes-Oxley Challenges

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is presenting chief financial officers (CFOs) with significant challenges beyond the well-publicized executive certification and internal control requirements, according to a study released by Protiviti Inc., a leading internal audit and business and technology risk consulting firm.
Technology

Congress May Impose Cybersecurity Reporting Requirements

With cyberattacks on the rise and some companies still unprepared to deal with the aftermath, Congress may get involved by requiring public companies to file cyber reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Internet remains one of the last unregulated frontiers and many who use it to make money would prefer to see it stay that way. However, some members of Congress believe that the chief executive officers need to take a more active role in knowing whether their company is prepared for information systems failure.
Tax

Colorado Surpasses Expectations With Tax Amnesty Windfall

When officials from the State of Colorado announced a tax amnesty program for the month of June, they were hoping that the program would collect over $5 million in back taxes from delinquent taxpayers. The results are now in, and officials are delighted.The final tally for Colorado's "Deadline: June - Pay the Tax or Pay the Max!" amnesty program is $23.4 million collected from almost 3,000 individuals and businesses.
Community News

Postal Inspector General Retires Amid Furor

Amid outrageous allegations of mismanagement — including encouraging employees to perform stripteases while at work — Postal Service Inspector General Karla Corcoran was replaced on Tuesday and she announced her retirement, effective the same day. The Postal Service Board of Governors appointed seasoned Inspector General David Williams to take over the Postal job.
Practice Management

FCC’s New Fax Rules Cause Furor, Implementation is Delayed

First it was the telemarketers whose wings were clipped, now in a surprise ruling, the Federal Communications Commission is cracking down on the sending of unsolicited facsimiles. The FCC has said it made the ruling to stop millions of unwanted faxes, that come at times even after the recipient has been asked to be removed from a fax list. The FCC issued the law on July 3 as an amendment to 1991’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The FCC’s rule will require the marketing and business-to-business communications that many companies rely on to build their clientele.

Ohio Joins Three Other States in Suing Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac’s troubles continued to multiply with numerous states filing suit against the nation’s No. 2 mortgage guarantee corporation. Last week, Ohio became the latest state—joining New York, Virginia and West Virginia—to sue the mortgage finance company on grounds of improper accounting practices.
Tax

Schwarzenegger Releases Tax Return

Did you see the "Today Show" on Friday? NBC's Matt Lauer was interviewing California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger and asked him if he was prepared to release his tax returns as part of a public disclosure.
Community News

GSA Proposes Debarment of MCI; Company Has 30 Days to Respond

With billions at stake and its very survival at risk, MCI has 30 days to reply to the U.S. General Services Administration’s move last week to debar the company from competing for new federal contracts—the company’s bread and butter. MCI (still legally known as WorldCom), which holds contracts with nearly every federal agency, has won several new contracts since declaring bankruptcy last year in the wake of the largest accounting fraud in history.
Technology

Microsoft Flaw Could Affect Homeland Security

In July, Microsoft announced a "critical" flaw in several of its operating systems—including Windows XP—and now the U.S.
A&A

Regulatory Agencies Earn Improving Grades From SBA

SBA Press ReleaseFederal regulatory agencies are doing better at creating and maintaining a small-business friendly attitude toward the nation’s small businesses, according to the fiscal 2002 annual report to Congress from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Ombudsman.More than 30 agencies and their divisions received ratings from National Ombudsman Michael Barrera on their resolution of complaints about excessive enforcement.
Tax

GAO Tells IRS to Shape Up Regarding Excise Tax Management

The General Accounting Office has completed its review of the Internal Revenue Service's management of excise tax collection and distribution, and the news is not good for the IRS. Several problems exist with the excise tax program, and the GAO has offered recommendations for solving those problems.The federal government assesses excise taxes on various services, collects those taxes, then transfers the money to appropriate trust funds. Each year nearly $70 billion is collected in federal excise taxes.

Pension Benefits: Next Sector to Implode?

With pensions underfunded by as much as $300 billion and the main insurer of retirement plans—the quasi-federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC)—under enormous pressure, the pension sector might be the next to implode.This week, the U.S.

Report Places Freddie Mac Blame on Ousted Executives

Former Freddie Mac chief executive Leland Brendsel and former Vice Chairman David Glenn deliberately allowed questionable accounting practices, said an independent report released on Wednesday.

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae Hearings Cancelled

Calling the hearings premature, Fannie Mae officials declined to testify before a house committee looking into alleged mismanagement at the nation’s top two mortgage guarantee enterprises. Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA), sponsor of one of two bills pending in Congress that would reconfigure the oversight of the two bodies, issued a statement Thursday calling off the hearings because of a “lack of cooperation” from the two companies, which between them, own or guarantee 42 percent of the $7 trillion in U.S. mortgage business.
A&A

Sharp Increase in SBA-Backed Loans Fuels Small Business Growth

The number of small businesses receiving loans backed by the U.S.
Tax

Senator Concerned By Unapproved Reorganization of the IRS

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) has expressed continued concern over the actions of IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson as he creates the team and shifts some of the organizational structure to help best run the Internal Revenue Service.Sen. Baucus expressed initial concern in a letter to Commissioner Everson which was co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley a couple of weeks ago.

Congress Takes Aim at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

With the housing market the only sector of the economy still thriving, Congress has turned its attention to tighter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together own or guarantee 47 percent of the nation’s $7 trillion mortgage market.An accounting scandal at Freddie Mac came to light last month, forcing the ouster of the company’s top three executives. The company later admitted to tampering with its accounting to show positive earnings growth and was forced to restate its results. The two companies are shareholder owned and chartered by Congress.Rep.
A&A

Small Businesses Get Federal Compliance Relief

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in cooperation with the Office of Management of Budget, has developed a comprehensive list of federal regulatory compliance assistance resources and a point of contact in each federal agency for helping small businesses comply with the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act.“The SBA, with the assistance of the OMB, is breaking down more barriers to small business productivity,” said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto.

Feds Looking For Ways to Curb Identity Theft

Recognizing identity theft as "the greatest threat to consumers today," Treasury Secretary John Snow has called for legislation to help consumers better deal with suspected identity theft.Congress is currently working on renewing the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Secretary Snow wants some consumer relief included.His proposals call for:a one-call center which shares information between credit bureaus so consumers don't have to contact each credit bureau;access to free annual credit report

Former Employees of Dynegy, Inc. Sued by SEC For Fraud

Securities and Exchange Commission Press Release - On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed securities fraud charges against three former employees of Dynegy Inc. in connection with their roles in Dynegy's Project Alpha, a $300 million financing transaction that disguised the company's true financial condition. In a civil suit filed in the U.S.

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