Legal issues

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.

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.
Community News

Arguments Begin Thursday Over PCAOB Constitutionality

A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday in a lawsuit that attacks the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) as unconstitutional.Advertisement
Community News

KPMG Plans Counter Suit of Fannie Mae

KPMG fired back at former audit client Fannie Mae this week, saying it would counter the mortgage giant’s $2 billion negligence and breach of contract lawsuit.KPMG “will pursue our own claims against Fannie Mae” in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., spokesman Tom Fitzgerald told reporters Tuesday. Fannie Mae filed its lawsuit Tuesday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.Fitzgerald said the issues raised in Fannie Mae's lawsuit “are already pending" in shareholder lawsuits before the federal district court.
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.
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
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.

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.
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

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.
Community News

PCAOB Adviser Implicated in Questionable Transaction

The former employer of a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) advisor has filed an insurance claim blaming the board member for breaches of fiduciary duties regarding a real estate purchase.Advertisement

SEC Enforcement Actions are Down While Penalties Are Up

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that the number of their new enforcement actions in the last fiscal year have fallen by some 9 percent, according to DealBreaker.com. The first reaction might be pride in enacting Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) back in 2002. It makes corporate executives more responsible for the actions of their organizations. SOX also increased the transparency of corporate financial reporting for the benefit of investors and regulators alike.

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

H&R Block Will Disclose More to Clients About Refund Anticipation Loans

H&R Block announced enhancements to its refund anticipation loan product that will inform clients about possible tax-related debt and the potential cost of the loans, the company announced Tuesday. In September, H&R Block announced that it could reduce costs by nearly 40 percent for clients who agreed to pay for the loans through the new H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard issued by H&R Block Bank.“Besides saving our clients money, we’re doing even more to make sure H&R Block customers receive the best service and disclosure in the industry,” said Mark A.
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.

Skilling Sentenced; Worldcom Investors to Receive Payments

Former Enron Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced last Monday to 24 years and four months in prison for his role in the corporate accounting scandal that gave its name to an era. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it would begin distributions to WorldCom investors from the Fair Fund. And while the Enron and WorldCom corporate accounting scandals set the stage for congressional action and passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in 2004, criminal prosecutions in these cases have not lessened the SEC’s work load.
Tax

Patents on Tax Ideas Trouble the IRS and Tax Attorneys

Since 1998, when a federal appeals court ruled that business methods could be patented, the U.S. Patent Office has issued patents to 49 tax strategies.
Practice Management

Cohabitating Couples, Straight or Gay, Need to Know Rights

Now that the U.S. Census Bureau has found that married households are no longer the nation’s preferred living arrangement, the definition of “family-friendly” policies may change for a growing number of companies.For the first time, married couples make up a minority of the nation’s households, at 49.8 percent, according to the Census Bureau’s 2005 American Community Survey. Marriage did not play a part in 50.2 percent of roughly 111 million American family households.Single women headed 14 million households and single men headed 5 million.
Tax

Dow Breaks 12,000 as Former NYSE Chairman has a Down Day

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 12,000, with a gain of 19 points last week. It was only a 0.2 percent gain, with help from Google’s big profit report and AT&T and Coca-Cola. The Dow lost 9.36 in Friday’s market to close at 12,002.37, according to CNBC. Former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso is also experiencing a decline. Reuters reports that New York Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos wrote a 72-page decision concerning certain payments and interest Grasso received while at the NYSE. Reuters reports that Grasso must return some $100 million paid to him.
Tax

Appeals Arbitration Is Business-As-Usual at the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the Appeals Arbitration process, in which the IRS and the taxpayer agree to have a third party make a binding decision regarding factual issues, has become business as usual at the IRS.

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