Government

Government Agencies In Compliance for 2nd Consecutive Year

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reports that for fiscal 2006, eighteen of 24 agencies received clean audits.

Delta’s Assets Get Small Boost from U.S. Government

Judge Adlai S. Hardin of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan ruled Monday that the U.S. government should pay Delta Airlines $14.6 million for flights the airline provided for military personnel after Delta filed for bankruptcy in September 2005. The government has withheld payment, claiming that Delta owed $26.2 million for pre-bankruptcy ticket overcharges that had resulted from a faulty Department of Defense (DOD) travel billing system, according to an Associated Press report.
A&A

SBA Changes the Rules for Small Businesses Seeking Federal Contracts

A week after Democrats reclaimed the Congress, a situation likely to thwart the Bush Administration’s plans to close the embattled Small Business Administration (SBA), the agency on Tuesday announced new regulations and measures intended to help small businesses secure more federal government contracts, while improving transparency and accountability.The most significant of the measures is a new regulation requiring small businesses to recertify their size status when a long-term contract option is exercised, the business is purchased by or merged with another business or upon completion
Tax

IRS User Fees Increase for Installment Agreements

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday announced the first increases in user fees for installment agreements.
Tax

Mixed Reaction to New Congress from Small Business Groups

Health coverage, taxes and government regulation, the most difficult problems for small businesses, are issues that a lot of newly elected representative to the U.S. House of Representatives understand, according to Dan Danner, senior vice president for public policy with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Associated Press reports.
Technology

Debate Heats Up Over Need for Free IRS Web Portal

A major debate is brewing within the tax industry that may result in Congress mandating that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offer its own free-filing service.IRS Commissioner Mark Everson said last week that poor quality of tax return preparation by private companies, along with “predatory” refund anticipation loans, is feeding the debate over whether the IRS should allow taxpayers to file their federal income tax returns online without assistance from a tax preparer, Government Executive reported.
Tax

Winners and Losers Among Ballot Propositions Affecting Taxes

Voters approved 141 of the 205 initiatives and referendums on the ballots of 37 states in Tuesday’s election, rejecting only 59, according to iandrinstitute.org’s Ballotwatch. Five measures, including Arizona’s controversial cap on property tax increases, remain to be decided.

GASB Introduces New, Improved <i>Comprehensive Implementation Guide</i>

Two previously freestanding implementation guides have been included for the first time in the 2006-2007 edition of the Comprehensive Implementation Guide, published last week by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).

Senate May Reverse Closing of Iraq Auditor’s Office

The military authorization bill signed by President Bush in mid-October calls for the termination of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) by October 1, 2007. Susan Collins (R – Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that provision was not in the conference version of the bill, the New York Times reports. In addition, some analysts say that the content of reports issued by the office, which were critical of weapons oversight by the U.S. military and accounting methods used by the U.S.
Tax

Republicans Point to Benefits of Low Taxes; Democrats Weigh Economic Policy Options

With the 2006 congressional election less than a week away, President Bush is campaigning for his fellow Republicans on the strength of the economy and on his tax cuts. Democrats, who may gain a majority in Congress and with it some control over the nation’s purse strings, are weighing their options.
Tax

Corporate America Fighting Back Against Lawsuits, Regulations

Two influential industry groups are developing proposals that would make it more difficult for investors to file civil suits against companies and accounting firms, while also strengthening protections from criminal cases brought by government prosecutors.The groups, which have close ties to the Bush administration, hope to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do for clients so that individuals are targeted for wrongdoing, not entire companies, the New York Times reported.One of the groups drafting proposals is the U.S.
Tax

International Economic Center, the OECD, Takes Aim at U.S. Tax Policy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), signalled a growing interest in international tax with the publication of a draft of guidelines on tests that investment managers in the UK need to meet before profits from offshore hedge funds can remain outside of the UK’s taxing authority, hedgeweek.com reports.
Tax

Enrolled Agents Entering the 21st Century

More than 10,500 individuals have registered to take all or part of the new Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) during the session which began on October 5, 2006.
Tax

Spending Caps, Tax Measures on Ballot in Many States

After choosing their candidates on November 7, voters will check yes or no on ballot propositions that, along with more familiar bond issue proposals, would increase the minimum wage, support property rights, prohibit same sex marriage, and limit tax increases. While Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) proposals that put caps on future spending have received national attention, proposals that will affect property taxes and increases in personal exemptions are much more popular this year.

The Minimum Wage & Social Security

Congress is again being called on to raise the minimum wage. In fact, some 664 economists, including Nobel laureates Kenneth Arrow, Clive Granger and Robert Solow, have signed a petition prepared by the Economic Policy Institute to show their conviction. Business Week reports their plan is to raise the current minimum wage of $5.15, over several years, to $7.25 an hour. The wage should also be indexed for inflation. The last time the minimum wage was raised was in 1997, but inflation has eroded any benefits or purchasing power of that wage by some 20 percent, according to Business Week.
Education & Careers

Downgrading Partners Could Cost Firm: EEOC Able to Seek Monetary Relief

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a petition filed on behalf of international law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood (Sidley & Austin) regarding the ability of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to pursue monetary damages and other individual victim-specific relief in the ongoing discrimination suit against the firm. The refusal comes just months after the number of workers age 55 and older reached 24.6 million, the highest level ever recorded, according to a study from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Community News

Tax Preparers Going to Jail and Barred from Promoting Tax Fraud Scheme

In separate cases, tax preparers have been found guilty of promoting fraudulent tax schemes and filing fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to defraud the U.S. government of tax revenues legally owed to them. Some of the tax preparers will serve prison terms, while others will be barred from various activities related to the fraud they are accused or convicted of.“Dishonest tax professionals harm the good reputation of honest ones and cheat all honest taxpayers,” Eileen J.
Community News

Erasing Enron: Federal Judge Vacates Lay’s Conviction

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Simeon T. Lake III, in Houston, vacated the convictions of late Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay.
Community News

President Bush Signs Bill Exempting CPAs for GLB Requirement

“This is wonderful news and a win for both CPA practitioners and their clients. The disclosure statements are often confusing to clients and they are expensive and time-consuming for CPAs to prepare,” Barry C. Melancon, President and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), said in a statement responding to news that President Bush had signed Senate Bill 2856. “Since the exemption is effective upon the President’s signature, all those CPAs who are now preparing this year’s privacy notices can stop.
Community News

Congress Exempts CPAs from GLB Privacy Notification Requirement

Passing the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006 was among the final actions taken by the 109th Congress before adjourning a week earlier than expected. The bill, passed unanimously by both chambers, includes a provision exempting certified public accountants (CPAs) from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act’s annual privacy notice requirement.

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