International

PCAOB Miscalculation Leads to Criticism, Correction

A bookkeeping error has left the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board with some high-profile invoices to correct and it has left some critics shaking their heads. Bloomberg news has reported that the fee schedule calculated by the PCAOB for foreign companies used the wrong basis to figure fees for over 430 companies who sell shares on the U.S. market. Instead of using the value of the shares sold in the U.S.

Strengthening The Financial Reporting Process - an International View

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released a report with recommendations for strengthening corporate governance, improving audit effectiveness, and raising the standard of regulation of issuers."Rebuilding Public Confidence in Financial Reporting: An International Perspective," is a multinational effort, with input from representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.The Task Force had three critical goals to address:
Tax

Offshore Amnesty Program Reports Success Despite Bad Press

The Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative (OVCI) is reporting strong results. The program, designed by the U.S. Treasury Department to encourage wealthy individuals to pay taxes on income hidden in offshore banks, received some unwarranted bad press this week when two U.S. Senators misread a Treasury report and questioned the success of the effort.Earlier this year the IRS announced that more than 1,200 people had responded to the initiative, offering to report offshore income and pay the taxes, thus avoiding potential civil fraud charges and criminal prosecution.
Tax

House Considers Tax Break For Businesses

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) has introduced a bill that would provide at least $120 billion in tax relief for businesses over the next 10 years.Congress is under pressure from the World Trade Organization to discontinue a U.S. export credit that provides a subsidy to U.S. manufacturers who sell their goods abroad. Finding a means to replace the advantages provided by the export credit is the impetus for the proposed business tax relief legislation.Representative Thomas's bill, H.R.
Technology

Survey Finds Disaster Recovery Disconnect Between CEOs and CIOs

Are businesses prepared to handle unexpected disasters? It depends who in the organization you ask, according to a recent survey researching disaster recovery plans and organizations' overall readiness to deal with it. A recent survey of enterprise executives, to be released on Monday, found that corporate executives and their chief information officers often view the issue from opposite ends of the spectrum.
Community News

Andersen Worldwide to Settle Enron Suits

Thirteen months to the day after Andersen's U.S. firm was convicted of obstruction of justice, the network of Andersen affiliates outside the U.S.
Technology

Taxing Times Ahead: Digital Sales and The European Union

By, Torsten Fetzer, Director of Tax Research Department TaxwareOn 1 July 2003, a new European Union Directive [Directive 2002/38/EC and Regulation No. 792/2002 amending the Sixth VAT Directive (77/388/EEC)] comes into force with regard to the levying of Value Added Tax (VAT) on digital sales within the European Union.All companies outside the EU that are supplying certain specified digital goods and services to final consumers in the EU will be required to register with European tax authorities by July 2003 to collect value-added taxes (VAT).
Practice Management

PwC Survey Shows Economic Crime is on the Rise

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Economic Crime Survey 2003, not only is large-scale economic crime on the rise, many of those corporate watchdogs who are supposed to prevent crime from occurring may not know how to identify or stop criminal acts.More than 3,600 senior representatives at the top 1,000 companies in 50 countries around the world participated in the survey, sharing information about their experiences with economic crime and methods for detecting and deterring such crime.
Tax

U.S. Shows Willingness to Reform Auditing, Tax Policies Overseas

In recent months, tension has been rising between the U.S. and foreign governments over jurisdiction over accounting firm oversight, and perceived unfair corporate tax breaks. Now, U.S.
Tax

IRS Attacked on Interest Reporting Rule

Pressure on the Internal Revenue Service is growing as more lawmakers and lobbyists voice support to withdraw a regulation that would force U.S. banks to declare to the IRS any bank interest paid to non-U.S. citizens.Interest income paid by U.S. banks to nonresident aliens is not taxable in the United States. But a proposed regulation (REG-133254-02) would provide such information to the IRS.
Community News

Deloitte's and Ahold's Offices Raided

On Monday, July 7, the fiscal and economic crime unit of the public prosecutor's office in Amsterdam conducted raids of Dutch food giant Ahold and local offices of Big Four accounting firm Deloitte & Touche. The raids were performed in connection with a criminal investigation relating to Ahold's consolidation of a Scandinavian joint venture.Authorities conducting the raids seized several boxes of documents at both locations.
Community News

Outsourced Tax Processing Gains Popularity Among Accounting Firms

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a popular current trend among many types of companies, and accounting firms, including the Big Four, are getting on the bandwagon.According to a survey by CFO Magazine and AMR Research, 68.3% of companies expect to increase outsourced services in the next year.Big Four firm Ernst & Young reports that it sent tax returns to its Indian office for processing this year. It is estimated that as many as 50 U.S.
Community News

Canada Pushes PCAOB For Auditor Exemption

While the U.S. and the European Union continue to wrestle over the necessity for foreign firms to register with the new U.S.

Guidance Issued to Ease Transition to International Accounting Standards

Over 90 countries have decided to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) over the next five years, paving the way to move from individual jurisdictional standards to one set of international accounting standards.

U.S. and EU Face Off Over Sarbanes-Oxley Regulation

The European Union is ready to revolt against new U.S. corporate governance rules that they call too far-reaching and, in some cases, too quickly drafted in the wake of U.S. corporate accounting scandals.If the U.S. persists in holding EU companies accountable for Sarbanes-Oxley Act regulations, U.S. financial groups could face a whole new wave of regulation from the EU, making it more difficult to conduct international business. Brussels is threatening to make U.S.

Companies Offset Kidnapping Risks With Specialized Insurance

Companies that expand into foreign countries face a number of hazards, including corruption, high inflation, and riots. At the top of any list of risks for overseas operations is the threat of terrorists or guerillas kidnapping workers or their family members. In response to this danger, a growing number of companies are purchasing kidnap and ransom insurance, known in the industry as K&R, which covers the ransom amount as well as the services of consultants with experience in hostage negotiations.In recent months the U.S.

IFAC Seeks Independent Oversight of IAASB

With a global set of auditing standards the goal, the organization representing accountants worldwide is ready to open its doors to external oversight for the first time —part of the industry’s ongoing effort to restore its reputation after U.S. corporate scandals. The International Federation of Accountants, which sets global best-practice auditing rules, is looking for a prominent group of regulators to head the oversight group.
Tax

US Faces EU Sanctions For Tax Breaks

The United States has until October 1 to change tax break laws given to selected U.S. corporations or face a possible $4 billion sanction by the European Union (EU). Last week the World Trade Organization (WTO) gave the European Commission the go-head to impose the sanctions if the US fails to comply with international trade treaties.The EU is asking for the end to illegal export subsidies. At the heart of the dispute is a system of tax breaks for major companies known as the foreign sales corporations (FSC) program.

Guam to Host CPA Candidates From SARS-Afflicted Countries

The Pacific Island of Guam is bracing for an influx of CPA candidates from Asian countries battling the SARS virus. About 2,000 candidates from Japan, Korean and Hong Kong are expected to come to the island, a U.S. territory, to take the biannual CPA exam on May 8 and 9.Since the United States is widely thought to have the best accounting standards in the world, a U.S. CPA certification is highly sought after by Asian businesses.
Community News

PCAOB Requires Foreign Firms to Register

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) voted unanimously this week to require foreign accounting firms doing business in the United States to register with the Board by April 26, 2004. The European Commission had hoped for a total exemption from the registration requirements. U.S. accounting firms that generate audit reports for public companies must register with the Board by October 24 of this year. The PCAOB watchdog panel, created as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, was launched late last year with a $1.9 million loan from the Treasury Department.

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