Government

Texas Comptroller Announces Revamped Tax Dispute Process

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recently announced the implementation of changes in all phases of the tax dispute resolution process, including audits, appeals, hearings, and rulings.
Tax

EAs Should Note President's 2008 Budget Request

Enrolled Agents should take special note of President Bush's fiscal year 2008 budget proposal to allow the Internal Revenue Service to terminate installment agreements.One of the surprisingly few requests aimed at narrowing the tax gap in the president's request would end installment agreements when a taxpayer fails to file a timely return or fails to make timely required tax deposits.At the top of the president's list is expanded information reporting, followed by increased penalties and new requirements for large businesses.
A&A

Liquidation Sales Ruled Non-Business Income in Illinois, Missouri, Utah

Recent court decisions in Illinois, Missouri, and Utah have ruled that gains from a liquidation sale of a business do not constitute taxable business income.In each case, the respective state revenue department disagreed with the companies' classification of the gains and issued the companies notices of deficiency.
A&A

IRS Offers Bank Secrecy Act Reminder

The Internal Revenue Service reminded small businesses that provide money services, including money transfer services, check cashing, and money orders, may be accountable to reporting and record keeping requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).The BSA, passed in 1970 to fight money laundering in the United States, requires businesses to keep records and file reports that have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, and regulatory matters.

The Democratic Congress and Your Money

With the installation of a Democratic House and Senate in January, their legislative actions can affect people all over the world and Americans may be wondering about matters concerning their money. Big changes are unlikely, according to Don Patrick, MBA, a certified financial planner and advisor for over 26 years and managing director of Atlanta-based Integrated Financial Group, but some changes may occur in the way in which money is handled.
Technology

The Exciting Life of an IRS Attorney

Former IRS attorney, Robert Steinbuch, filed suit last spring against his former girlfriend, Jessica Cutler. CNN is reporting that the lawsuit is about to head for trial. It seems that while the two were dating, Cutler maintained a blog (Web log) detailing her sexual encounters with Steinbuch as well as her relationships with other boyfriends and sex partners. The Cutler blog was picked up by a Washington, D.C. gossip web site and suddenly Steinbuch and Cutler were national celebrities.
Tax

Cafeteria Plans Need Updating

Employers are running out of time to amend and update the old, outdated Section 125 Cafeteria Plans before the end of the year, reports Core Documents, Inc., the nation's primary source for Section 125 Cafeteria, HSA and HRA plan documents. This includes: Section 125 Premium Only Plans, Health Flexible Spending Accounts and Dependent Care Assistance FSA plans. Employers risk making mistakes by not using the many updates in the tax code, revenue rulings and the laws affecting the administration of the tax-free benefit plans.

HSAs Expanded in Last Days of Congress

Congress gave final approval to H.R. 6111, the "Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006", with provisions that expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and incorporates provisions from H.R. 6134, the "Health Opportunity Patient Empowerment Act of 2006". The new provisions would make several improvements to the HSA program. In September, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) said, "HSAs are still relatively new, but we are already seeing them grow in popularity.
Tax

States Must Confront Huge Retiree Obligations

Soaring health care costs and low investment returns in pension funds are forcing state and local governments to make drastic changes to retiree health care benefits and to lengthen vesting periods for new workers. As of December 15, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), requires government entities to record Other Post-employment Benefits (OPEB) as accrued liabilities under statements 43 and 45.

3 Former Fannie Mae Execs Face Lawsuit

Fannie Mae’s regulator contends in a civil lawsuit that three former executives overstated profits by $6.3 billion to meet earnings targets and boost their bonuses.The regulator, The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), filed a complaint with an administrative law judge on Monday, seeking $215 million from ousted Chief Executive (CEO) Franklin Raines, former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Timothy Howard and former Controller Leanne Spencer.

As Annual Enrollment Deadline Nears, Study Finds Seniors Better Off Buying Canadian

Just as the December 31 deadline for annual enrollment approaches, a study of Medicare Part D was released showing that for most seniors it is less expensive to order drugs from a Canadian pharmacy. Recent changes to the US regulations, due to a rider on the Homeland Security spending bill, now make it legal to do what thousands have been doing for years to keep costs down, order drugs from our northern neighbor.

Two Federal Budget Deficit Estimates; Two Accounting Methods

According to the Financial Report of the United States Government for the year ending September 30, 2006, which was released by the Treasury Department (DoT) on Friday, the federal budget deficit totaled $449.5 billion, nearly 81 percent higher than the $247.7 billion in the President’s annual budget report published two months ago.

GASB Exposure Draft Seeks Enhanced Pension Disclosure Requirements

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) on December 15 issued a Proposed Statement regarding Pension Disclosures. The changes outlined in the Exposure Draft would enhance accountability, improving the usefulness of financial information about pensions and bringing disclosure requirements for governments and governmental pension plans into line with those recently issued for other post-employment benefits or OPEBs.“Today’s [Dec.
Community News

Grant Thornton to Fight Claim of “Reckless” Audit

Grant Thornton LLP said it will challenge recent Treasury Department (DoT) findings and penalties stemming from the firm’s audit of a bank that collapsed in 1999.The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Treasury agency that regulates nationally chartered banks, on Friday announced the telling $300,000 fine against the Chicago-based CPA firm that audited First National Bank of Keystone in 1998.
Tax

Congress' Last Hours Extend Tax Breaks, Creates Iraq Accounting Oversight Office

Residents of states that do not levy income tax, college students and their families, teachers and many high-tech companies, are among the beneficiaries of the tax and trade bill passed by the House on Friday and the Senate on Saturday morning at 4 a.m. Earlier in the week, the Senate extended the term of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction which was set up by Congress to provide oversight of the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund and all obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated with reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in Iraq.
Community News

BearingPoint Faces Delisting From NYSE

BearingPoint, the tech and management consulting firm forced to split off from parent KPMG by the Sarbenes-Oxley Act (SOX), could be dropped from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the company’s 2005 annual report said.Advertisement
A&A

Survey Defines Financial Services Used by Small Businesses

Small businesses contribute much to the economy. Since these businesses finance themselves differently from larger entities, understanding trends in their financing methods and their sources of capital are important to both policy makers and economic research. The results of the 2003 Survey of Small Business Finances (SSBF) were released last month, according to the Federal Reserve Board (Fed).

IFAC Seeks Comments on Disclosure of External Assistance

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)has issued an exposure draft designed to strengthen the disclosure of financial information about external assistance, such as emergency assistance and development aid received by governments in other countries.Advertisement
Tax

Federal Rules Make Reform of Charity Campaign Difficult

The federal government is trying to fix problems in its annual fund-raising drive for charities, but its own rules are blocking progress.Last year, the U.S.
Community News

Firms Conduct School District Management, Accounting & Audits

Accounting firms are in the business of providing services to firms and organizations, even school districts, apparently. The Flint [Michigan] Journal reports that the firm Plante & Moran has signed a contract to perform the functions of their departed chief financial officer (CFO) until June 30, 2007, or until a new CFO is selected by the district. By the terms of the contract, Plante & Moran receive $14,000 a month, the salary and benefits for its former CFO, according to district officials.

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