Government

Practice Management

New York Consumer Bill Targets Tax Preparers

A bill before the New York Legislature, designed to educate taxpayers about tax preparers’ qualifications, would require the Department of Taxation and Finance to publish a "consumer bill of rights regarding tax preparers."The bill, NY SB 2970, calls for extensive RAL disclosure requirements, but exempts enrolled agents. If passed, the legislation would require that all tax preparers obtain a license from the Department.
Practice Management

Minnesota May Publish Convicted Preparers List

The Minnesota legislature is considering an all-encompassing collection of tax measures with several provisions of interest to enrolled agents.
Practice Management

West Virginia May Make EAs Exempt from Sales, Service Tax

A bill being considered by the West Virginia legislature would exempt enrolled agents from sales and service taxes. The bill, WV SB 371, proposes that a number of professions – including enrolled agents – be exempted from the state's consumers sales and service tax.A nearly identical bill was introduced last year, but was not enacted. SB 371 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

States Seek Improved CPA Interstate Mobility

Several states are seeking to change state law to allow for individual CPAs licensed in other states with substantially equivalent licensing requirements to provide client services in person, by mail or electronically without securing an additional license or temporary registration, reports the Ohio e-CPA Weekly.Following Ohio’s lead, a total of six states have already introduced “no notification/no fee” legislation and six others are planning do to so this year. Virginia, Wisconsin and Missouri have previously adopted mobility laws similar to Ohio’s.
Tax

Florida Rep. Proposes Interest Exclusion

Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced H.R. 228, a bill designed to encourage savings among low and middle-income taxpayers and by allowing the exclusion of $400 of interest income from gross income ($800 for joint filers). It also would save tax preparers the trouble of tracking down information on small amounts of interest earned. E@lert estimates that this bill is only marginally more likely to pass than another bill recently authored by Rep. Stearns that would require the Ten Commandments to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol.
A&A

FEI Comments on Proposed SOX Changes

In separate letters submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Financial Executives International’s (FEI) Committee on Corporate Reporting (CCR) and Small Public Company Task Force (SPCTF), voiced concerns with recent changes proposed by the SEC and PCAOB to Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley.The letters, which come in conjunction with today’s comment deadline on proposed auditing standards and management guidance by the SEC and PCAOB, emphasize the importance of alignment between both agencies.
Tax

Obama Pushes Off-shore, Preparer Fee Limits

Senators Barack Obama (D-IL)), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Carl Levin (D-MI) have introduced a bill designed to crack down on the use of offshore jurisdictions as tax havens and toughen penalties for abusive shelter transactions.The bill, S. 681, would establish a list of 34 "Offshore Secrecy Jurisdictions" and authorize the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on foreign jurisdictions found to be impeding the enforcement of U.S.
Tax

Tax Court Goes All in on Poker

The U.S. Tax Court was not bluffing when it ruled that tournament poker is gambling, not a sport, and thus not exempt from the Section 165(d) limitations of the tax code.
A&A

Online Posting of Delinquents Creates Revenue

Pennsylvania has recently joined the 20 states and the District of Columbia in posting the names of individuals and businesses who owe taxes on their web sites, using names such as Maryland’s “Caught in the Web,” or South Carolina’s “Debtor’s Corner,” to bring pressure on tax scofflaws.In many cases, the threat of disclosure is enough to persuade taxpayers to pay, says Illinois Revenue Director Brian Hamer.
Tax

Kansas Looks to Cut Corporate Income Tax

The Kansas Legislature likely will include a cut in corporate income tax this session, but just how deep such a cut will be made remains uncertain, reports the Wichita Eagle.The House Taxation Committee is expected to receive two bills reducing the corporate income tax rate. Both houses of the Legislature and Gov.
Community News

Mass. Gov. Announces Property Tax Breaks

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled a plan Thursday to give lower-income homeowners the same type of property tax breaks available to some senior citizens, in an attempt to fulfill a key campaign pledge, the Associated Press reports.Beginning in January, an estimated 100,000 families and individuals would be eligible for a state tax credit of up to $860 a year under the new program. The current average statewide property tax bill is $3,800 per household.“The bottom line is that people in Massachusetts have been paying more and getting less," said Patrick.
Tax

GAO: IRS Needs Modernization Program Strategy

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported to Congress last week on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) progress in implementing its ongoing Business Systems Modernization (BSM) program. While the IRS has made advances in improving its modernization management controls, the GAO report said, two key projects experienced significant cost overruns and “more work remains to be done to fully develop a long-term vision and strategy for completing the BSM program.” The administration has proposed increasing BSM funding by 43 percent for 2008.
A&A

E-mails As Evidence: Business Owners Face New Procedures

Changes in federal employment law may change the way you and your employees store e-mails and e-messages, but Business & Legal Reports reports that one of the key changes facing small business owners this year is not a change in law at all.The U.S. Supreme Court established a set of new procedures dealing with electronic messages that may be needed as evidence in trials. Why is the procedural change important to you? One look at your computer inbox, electronic communication has exploded in recent years, leaving the postal carrier feeling a bit lonely these days.
Practice Management

KPMG Tax Shelter Woes Continue

Big Four firm KPMG has received more setbacks in the firm's quest to clear its name of wrongdoing in the much-publicized tax shelter fraud scandal. Judge T. John Ward of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled recently that Blips, the name of one of the tax shelters created, marketed, and sold by KPMG and the subject of ongoing legislation against 16 former KPMG employees, is not a legitimate tax shelter.Blips stands for Bond-Linked Issue Premium Structure.
A&A

IRS Offers Free Small Business e-Newsletter

The IRS has started a news service, e-News for Small Businesses. Distributed every Wednesday, it brings timely, useful tax information right to your computer, including, but not limited to:Important, upcoming tax dates What’s new on the IRS Web site Reminders and tips to assist businesses with tax compliance IRS news releases and special IRS announcements E-News’ convenient format will put IRS tax information at your fingertips.
Tax

IRS Shuts Down Preparers Seeking Bogus Phone Refunds

IRS e-News reports that search warrants were carried out in seven cities this week by special agents from the Internal Revenue Service. According to affidavits filed in federal court, the IRS is seeking evidence from tax-preparation businesses suspected of preparing returns on behalf of clients requesting egregious amounts involving this year’s special telephone excise tax refund.IRS criminal investigators served search warrants at tax preparation businesses in Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas, Tyler and Athens, Texas; Riverside, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; and Baton Rouge, La.
A&A

Small Business Tax Breaks Included In Minimum Wage Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives agreed on Friday to attach $1.3 billion in tax breaks for small businesses to legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over two years.
Tax

CalCPA Provides Pro Bono Tax Services For Military

Members of the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) are offering free tax counseling services to military personnel and their families at National Guard armories throughout the state. CalCPA members, in cooperation with the California National Guard's Operation Ready Families Program, have scheduled tax counseling sessions at seven locations throughout California.“This is the second year that we have worked with CalCPA and their members,” said Monica Malmberg, state benevolence coordinator of the Operation Ready Families Program.
Community News

Texas Proposal Requires Electric Tax Payments

A proposal filed in both the Texas House and Senate, would require a taxpayer who paid $10,000 or more during the preceding year in the category of payments described below to transfer payments in that category electronically.
Community News

New Mexico: Bill Requires Wage Report, Information Return E-filing

A bill – NM SB 344 – requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to file all employee information returns electronically was referred to the New Mexico Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.The bill also would require businesses with more than 50 employees to file quarterly wage reports electronically. Penalties for failure to file electronic wage reports would be $500 for businesses with between 50 and 250 employees, and $1,000 for businesses with more than 250 employees.

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