Government

Tax

States benefit, or not, from federal spending

Some states feast at the expense of others, according to the Tax Foundation's latest annual analysis of federal taxing and spending patterns.Using newly released Fiscal Year 2005 spending data from the Census Bureau's annual Consolidated Federal Funds Report, the Tax Foundation compared the federal tax burden in each state with the amount of federal spending in each state.
Tax

<b>Election Watch</b>: Three candidates pledge tax transparency with order for Google government

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep.
Technology

DOJ is NOT sending e-mails about the IRS

The Department of Justice has recently become aware of fraudulent spam e-mail messages claiming to be from DOJ. Based upon complaints from the public, it is believed that the fraudulent messages are addressed "Dear Citizen." The messages are believed to assert that the recipients or their businesses have been the subject of complaints filed with DOJ and also forwarded to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, such e-mail messages may provide a case number, and state that the complaint was "filled [sic] by Mr.
Technology

Telework security a challenge for federal agencies

Fifty eight percent of government employees work from home without permission according to a survey released by Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership that supports telework. These unofficial teleworkers are much less likely to be security-conscious than teleworking employees, Computerworld.com reports.

Presidential candidate suggests consumption tax

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, promoted his idea for replacing the federal tax system with a 23 percent "consumption tax." Huckabee said on "Fox News Sunday" the current tax system "is not only burdensome, but extremely expensive.""You get rid of income tax, you get rid of all of the withholding, you get rid of corporate taxes completely, totally," he said. "You replace it with a 23 percent consumption tax.

House proposes consolidating education breaks

House Ways and Means members Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and Dave Camp (R-MI) have introduced H.R. 2458, the Universal Higher Education and Lifetime Learning Act of 2007, which would consolidate the three existing tax breaks for higher education expenses into a single credit.The bill would replace the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning credits and the above-the-line tuition and fees deduction with a credit for 50 percent of the first $3,000 of education expenses and 30 percent of the next $5,000 (totaling up to $3,000 for those who spend $8,000 or more in a year).
Education & Careers

House Bans Student Loan Gifts to Schools

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to ban gifts and payments by student loan companies to universities, showing bipartisan resolve to clean up the $85 billion industry.
A&A

President Vetos Small Business Tax Breaks

President Bush vetoed the supplemental appropriations bill Congress narrowly passed last week. The bill, which primarily would have provided money necessary to continue military operations in Iraq, also included a set of tax breaks for small businesses.
Tax

Will Fed's Peek at Personal Finances Remain Secret?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has announced plans to analyze key facts about the personal finances of thousands of Americans, and he is promising that the information will be held in strict confidence. The Fed sent out letters last week to approximately 10,000 families living in 79 cities and towns around the country asking them to participate in the central bank's latest "Survey of Consumer Finances." The survey, which has been tallied once every three years since 1983, provides detailed information for the central bank and other economic researchers into household finances.

Regulators Not in Favor of Small Business SOX Relief

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox isn't ruling out further delays in applying stricter accounting requirements on small public companies but said such relief isn't the option preferred by regulators. About 6,000 smaller public companies have yet to come under two requirements adopted by Congress in 2002 as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, calling for companies to make an annual assessment of their internal financial-reporting controls, with further review by the company's outside auditor.
A&A

House Bill Promotes Shareholder Say in Executive Pay

The House voted Friday to give shareholders at public corporations a voice in executive pay packages that typically equal 500 times the salaries of workers at those companies. The shareholder vote under the bill (H.R. 1257) would be advisory only. But Democratic backers of this provision said that investors need a say when companies losing money or laying off workers are paying executives eight- and nine-figure salaries and retirement packages.
Tax

IRS Tax Fraud Prosecutions Decrease

A USA TODAY analysis reveals that the Internal Revenue Service is seeking fewer criminal prosecutions of tax fraud suspect, calling into question the agency's claims of renewed enforcement success. A review of IRS data reveals the agency's referrals of tax fraud and other financial cases to the Justice Department fell for the last two years.The decline appears even greater when measured by prosecution referrals in which the Justice Department designated the IRS as the lead investigative agency.
Community News

Oxley Unhappy with SOX; Blames PCAOB for Problems

Former Congressman Michael Oxley is unhappy with implementation of the corporate reform legislation that bears his name.In an interview with CFO.com, he was asked, “Are you happy with the way Sarbanes-Oxley has been implemented?” His answer: “Not really. The law has gotten a lot of criticism.” He noted that the vast majority of the complaints center on Section 404, which requires an audit of internal controls over financial reporting.“It was Auditing Standard No. 2, promulgated by the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board), that started all the problems,” he said.
Tax

IRS Submits Taxpayer Assistance Blueprint

In response to a congressional mandate for the development of a five-year plan, the Internal Revenue Service submitted to Congress the completed Taxpayer Assistance Blueprint.The Blueprint is the result of extensive IRS research conducted into the needs, preferences and behaviors of taxpayers and partners who assist them in complying with the tax laws, such as volunteer and paid tax return preparers.The plan includes a variety of specific recommendations for improving IRS services for taxpayers and partners, an important element of a comprehensive strategy to reduce the tax gap by helpin

NYC Comptroller Seeks Wal-Mart Spy Investigation

The comptroller of New York City has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department to investigate allegations that Wal-Mart illegally spied on some of its shareholders. TNew York City Comptroller William C. Thompson's request follows a series of allegations by a fired Wal-Mart security operative that the giant retailer performed surveillance operations against employees, critics, suppliers, consultants and shareholders expected to challenge some of the company's policies at an annual meeting.
Tax

Jackson Hewitt Begins Internal Review

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. reports an internal review has begun in the wake of Internal Revenue Service allegations that five franchisees defrauded it out of more than $70 million. "Jackson Hewitt takes allegations against our franchisees seriously," Chief Executive Officer Michael Lister said. Jackson Hewitt, the second-largest U.S. tax preparer, intends to "identify all of the facts related to these allegations and address them appropriately," Lister said.
Tax

Section 987 Regulations Concern AICPA

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recommended to the Department of the Treasury and the IRS that they “reconsider the approach of the proposed regulations” relating to Internal Revenue Code section 987 and offered to discuss with government officials other proposals for determining section 987 gain and loss.The AICPA said it is “concerned that the 2006 proposed regulations will frustrate the currency reforms made by The Tax Reform Act of 1986 and will pose an unreasonable compliance burden on taxpayers.”If Treasury and IRS decide to continue the appro
Tax

Michigan Bill to Replace Single Business Tax

The Michigan Legislature is considering a bill designed to replace the "single business tax." The bill, MI HB 4546, would enact a "commercial activity tax" in lieu of the single business tax that expires at the end of 2007.As the bill is currently worded, the 3.05 percent tax would apply to all types of businesses – although many industries will ask to be exempted if it is passed.The bill was referred to the House Tax Policy Committee.
Tax

Senators Drop Bills Abolishing IRS & IRC

Two bills were introduced in the Senate last week that would abolish Internal Revenue Service and the Internal Revenue Code, accoridng to the NAEA E@lert.The first bill, S. 1025, introduced by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), would defund the IRS and replace Subtitles A, B, and C of the tax code with a 23 percent tax-inclusive sales tax, to be administered by the states.
Tax

SEC Approves Framework to Ease SOX Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a framework Wednesday for changes to rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley law that would ease requirements for companies and the auditors responsible for their records. Sarbanes-Oxley, which arose from the 2002 corporate scandal, mandates that public companies assess the strength of their internal checks and balances to guard against fraud. The vote by the five SEC commissioners was unanimous to support building more leeway into the rules, especially rules for auditors being written by the independent board that oversees the accounting industry.

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