Human Resources

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.
Tax

Holiday Bonuses: The Good, the Bad and the Fruitcake

While giving holiday bonuses to hard-working employees sounds like a simple enough proposition, it’s anything but.“Holiday bonuses are very tricky,” said Kate Zabriskie, founder of Business Training Works. “The wrong bonus sends the wrong message.”She must be right because employees are full of tales of holiday woe. Valerie Bent regularly worked 55-hour weeks at a Los Angeles-area investor relations firm, which gave bonuses equal to about 40 percent of an employee’s annual salary.
Tax

IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Charitable Donations

‘Tis the season of gift-giving.
Practice Management

2007 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals Released

Compliance demands and expansion of businesses will increase the need for skilled workers in the accounting and finance fields and make recruitment even more difficult in the coming year, according to the 2007 Salary Guide released by Robert Half International.Advertisement

Santa’s Super Gift Ideas for Accountants in 2006

It is again that time of the year to ask Santa for gift ideas for that favorite accountant and this year the ideas should have something for everyone.Advertisement
Tax

IRS Issues New Guidelines for Charitable Payroll Deductions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Friday announced new guidelines for taxpayers to follow to substantiate donations to charities made by payroll deductions. Notice 2006-110 explains how a taxpayer who makes charitable contributions by payroll deductions can meet the new recordkeeping requirements. The recently enacted Pension Protection Act of 2006 changed the recordkeeping requirements for taxpayers claiming deductions for cash contributions to charities, including contributions made by payroll deductions.
Tax

Guidance on Reporting and Withholding Under Code Section 409A Issued

The Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2006-100, Reporting and Wage Withholding Under Internal Revenue Code Section 409A on Thursday, providing guidance to employers and payers on their reporting and wage withholding requirements for calendar years 2005 and 2006, with respect to deferrals of compensation and amounts includible in gross income under Code Section 409A and relief from reporting deferrals that are not includible in income during those years.Notice 2006-100 supersedes Notice

Accounting Firm’s Charity Challenge Makes a Difference

For the third year, the accounting and management advisory firm of Damon Topham and Company, LLC, is donating $1000 to the Marshfield, Mass., Boys and Girls Club and they are again challenging other local businesses to match the donation.
A&A

Wanted: Creative Business Ideas - $100,000 Reward

Microsoft Corporation is conducting a nationwide contest looking for creative small business ideas. The contest, the Ultimate Challenge, is designed to ignite the spirit inherent in small business. It was announced in conjunction with the introduction of Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007. "We know there are lots of great ideas out there from people just waiting to start their own business, and we want to make their dream come true," said Rajat Taneja, Microsoft general manager of Small Business Applications and Services.

Turkey Accounting: Measuring the Cost of an American Original

There are big bucks in birds. In 2005, over 264 million turkeys were sold, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists it as a $3.2 billion industry, up from $2.82 billion in 2000. Most of these sales were of the Broad Breasted White turkeys which became popular in the 1950's and 60's, although a growing number of producers now cater to the all natural and/ or free range bird. The U.S. turkey industry has had huge growth in the last 20 years. This year American consumption is expected to be 16.6 pounds per person, making it the number four protein of choose.

Use Your Frequent Flier Account; Inactive Programs Can be Cancelled

The incentive to redeem frequent flier miles – that free ticket – is not as appealing for travelers as it once was, because of blackout dates, limits on eligible seats, especially for popular destinations, and the lower fares on discount carriers, but not visiting your frequent flier accounts can have a price. Two carriers, Delta and US Airways, recently imposed new rules on inactive accounts. Starting January 31, 2007, US Airways Dividend Miles accounts will be closed and all miles forfeited if there has been no activity in the account for 18 months.
Community News

Top 10 Firm Includes Sports Marketing in Growth Strategy

When you’re not Big Four but knocking on the door, you think big about advertising.
Workplace Fitness

Giving Thanks Is Good For You

“Gratitude allows you to take good things in,” says Lisa Lewis, PhD., director of psychology at The Merringer Clinic in Houston and an associate professor in the Merringer Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. “Often good things happen, and we aren’t very mindful when they happen. We get compliments and we brush them off. We get a promotion and all we think about is how stressful it is going to be. Our children go to college and all we can think about is how lonely we are going to be.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 & Provisions Made for Commercial Airline Plans

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 seeks to overhaul pension and retirement fund rules established previously and address the conversion of plans, as well as other changes and rules to funding and disclosure of pension plans, according to Thomson RIA. There are several important areas covered in the provisions of the Act. Taxes are important to all of us and a good place to start.
Practice Management

Keep Those Receipts: IRS Guidance on Per Diem Expense Reimbursement

Employers who routinely pay per diem allowances in excess of the federal per diem rates need to track the amount of expense reimbursement allowances paid to employees on a per diem basis, according to guidance issued last week by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Tax

Understanding Your 401(k) Fees, Tax Implications

With more pension plans floundering or failing altogether, workers are advised to step up their knowledge of their company's 401(k) plan.Financial advisers say workers should understand the overall structure of these popular retirement savings accounts, as well as the fees they are paying and the tax implications of 401(k)s.Advertisement
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.
Education & Careers

Firms Need to Attract New CPA’s

Accounting firms need to attract more students into the field to alleviate the severe talent drought, Leslie Murphy, chairwoman of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), told an audience Wednesday.“Our profession has to do more to make it inclusive and attractive if we’re going to successfully compete with other career options available,” Murphy said in closing a conference in Boca Raton, Fla.Demand for accountants continues to grow due to trends in business and regulation, she said.“Business complexities mean it takes more time to complete routine acc
Practice Management

Stress at work: What keeps employees up at night

A recent survey reveals disturbing results showing 95 percent of managers feel life is stressful at the office. As a result, stress caused 28 percent to take time off from work. And stress at work is not restricted to managers."Stress in the workplace is a major issue for businesses,” Managing Director of SoftSkill EMEA, Kevin Young says of the study. “Helping people to manage stress can have a positive effect on their effectiveness at work and reduce the number of stress-related absences."

Labor Costs Rise Fastest in Two Years

A big increase in the cost of employee benefits drove up the Employment Cost Index by 1 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in more than two years.The Labor Department (DoL) reported that the increase in wages and benefits paid to American workers was the biggest quarterly increase since another 1 percent rise in the second quarter of 2004.The increase was led by rising costs for health insurance, pensions and other benefits, such as vacations.

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