Legal issues

Tax

Government Forces Showdown over H&R Block Merger with TaxAct

The government is seeking to block a proposed merger by H&R Block, the country's largest tax preparation firm, in its first antitrust action in seven years. The outcome will likely resonate loudly throughout the industry.
Tax

Supreme Court to Decide on Tax Audit Statute of Limitations

Can the Internal Revenue Service go as far back as six years to audit taxpayers, or is it limited to a three-year period?
Tax

Feds charge tax pro with filing thousands of false returns

Do you tell your clients to comply with the tax law? Make sure you practice what you preach. In an extreme example, a tax return preparer in Washington D.C. is facing criminal charges in federal court for allegedly scamming the IRS out of almost $14 million.
Practice Management

Could you be breaking the law by not archiving e-mails?

Think about it – almost all of your business communications and negotiations are performed via e-mail, making them important documents to keep for reference.
Tax

Sister act: Alabama tax prep sisters each face 129 years in prison

Loretta and Tracey Fergerson have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama on a variety of charges stemming from an identity theft and tax fraud conspiracy.
Tax

Pacino and Scorsese added to the list of Ponzi scheme victims

Al Pacino, who may be best known for the Godfather movies about the notorious Corleone mob family, is now finding he’s up against a real foe... the Internal Revenue Service. Public documents show Pacino owes the IRS nearly $188,000.
Tax

Moviemaker Michael Moore accuses former partners of irregular accounting practices

Michael Moore rose to fame for documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11. As the highest grossing documentary, it brought in $222 million. Moore received $20 million of the profits in a 50-50 split with his partners, Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Now, he is taking them to court for more.
A&A

Censured accountant left a trail of violations

When the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission tells a CPA, “Thou shalt not practice,” they don’t mean maybe. The SEC filed a settled enforcement action January 11 against Michael R. Drogin, of New York and New Jersey.
Tax

Justice Department announces indictment, lawsuits targeting false tax credit claims

The federal government this week has filed six lawsuits in five states to stop tax return preparers from fraudulently claiming the first-time homebuyer tax credit and the earned-income tax credit.
Community News

Colorado tax preparer permanently barred from practice

A federal court in Denver has permanently barred Curtis L. Morris of Elizabeth, CO, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced this week.
Tax

How an embezzler stole millions from a small company

New details have emerged on the methods used and the outcomes following the case of 47-year-old convicted embezzler Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva, who was the trusted 15-year veteran vice president of finance, secretary, and principal accounting officer of Koss Corporation.
Practice

Reviewing overtime standards should be one of your resolutions

Miscalculating overtime can be extremely costly for companies in terms of fines and lawsuits. And the U.S. government has just made it easier for unhappy employees to find lawyers willing to sue companies over alleged FLSA overtime violations.
Tax

Regulators terminate bank’s contract with H&R Block to stop loans

H&R Block Inc. disclosed last week that HSBC Holdings had ended its long-term contract to provide refund anticipation loans to H&R Block clients. HSBC acted under a directive from its federal regulator, which prohibited HSBC from offering any form of RALs.
A&A

Ernst & Young charged with civil fraud for role in Lehman collapse

The New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Ernst & Young, accusing the firm of helping Lehman Brothers hide its financial weakness from investors from 2001 until the investment bank collapsed in 2008.
Tax

Does tax court jurisdiction extend to U.S. Virgin Islands?

Generally, a U.S. citizen or resident who has income from sources within the U.S. Virgin Islands or income effectively connected with a trade or business in the U.S. Virgin Islands is required to file an income tax return with both the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Technology

Class action lawsuit against QuickBooks a possibility

Several brief outages to Intuit’s QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Payroll Subscription Service prompted a group of Dallas title attorneys to file a proposed class action against the company.
Tax

Increased motivation for whistle-blowing

New statutory and regulatory changes provide greater rewards to individuals who blow the whistle on fraudulent activities and to organizations that actively encourage an effective ethical culture.
Tax

H&R Block takes HSBC to court to save RALs

H&R Block clients accustomed to receiving Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) might be disappointed this tax season because the only bank that underwrites these loans for the company, HSBC Bank USA, might pull out of the program.
Tax

FTC rule prohibits debt-relief companies from collecting up-front fees

Starting today, for-profit companies marketing debt-relief services over the telephone are prohibited from charging a fee before they settle or reduce a customer’s debt to the Internal Revenue Service, credit card company, or other unsecured debt.
Tax

Federal judge shutters American Tax Relief

You’ve probably seen the ads for American Tax Relief. They claim to provide help to beleaguered taxpayers by dramatically reducing tax debt, including penalties and interest. But chances are good you will not be seeing those ads again anytime soon.

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