Legislation

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.
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.

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

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

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.
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.
Technology

Disabled Military Retirees to Receive Back Pay

The first group of disabled military retirees will soon receive back pay owed them, thanks to legislation that allowed the payments but inadvertently created complicated accounting challenges.Advertisement
Community News

Utah CPAs Oppose Dual Track Income Tax Plan

The Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants last week sent a letter to Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. criticizing the governor’s proposed two-option income tax plan scheduled for a vote in a special session of the state legislature later this month. “There is no question that true tax reform is needed in the state of Utah", the letter said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Tax

Pension Protection Act Affects Most Taxpayers

Last month, President Bush signed the second major Tax Act of the year into law. "There are provisions in this Tax Act that will help many taxpayers reduce the income taxes they will pay down the road," explains Andrew D.
Tax

Congress Clears Up Uncertainty Over 529 Plans

Parents worried about huge college costs have one reason to breathe easier: Withdrawals from Section 529 tuition plans are now permanently free of federal taxes.One line in the massive Pension Protection Act clarified the uncertainty about these college savings plans. A federal law that allowed tax-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses was put in place in 2001, but a sunset date of 2010 was also set.
A&A

Major Changes Ahead for Multiemployer Pension System

Of the 44 million Americans participating in defined benefit pension plans, 25 percent, approximately 9.4 million, are enrolled in multiemployer plans maintained by more than one employer, usually within the same or related industries and a labor union, according to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). Many are employed by small companies in the building and construction industries.
Technology

Automakers Must Tell Consumers About Black Boxes

Under a new federal rule issued this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), automakers, for the first time, will be required to inform new car buyers if an Event Data Recorder (EDR) has been installed on their vehicle by September 1, 2010.
Tax

LIFO Effect on Oil Company Profits Draws New Scrutiny

Last week’s drop in oil prices resulting from the terrorist plot against airliners bound for the U.S. is likely to prove temporary, as economists predict continued escalation in global demand for fuel. And U.S.

Pension Overhaul Bill Heads to Bush

The Senate passed legislation Thursday that, if signed by the president, will make U.S.
Tax

Verbal Agreement Found in Pension Bill Negotiations

Negotiators have been seeking concessions on compromise legislation to help America’s stressed employer-based pension system. Last week a verbal agreement on parts of the bill was reached. One hanging issue is a proposal backed in the Senate bill giving special relief to financially strapped airlines. GOP leaders are pressing negotiators for a cut in estate taxes as well, according to the Associated Press.
Practice Management

Travel expense management systems can save time, money

Automated expense management offers real advantages to employees and management, ranging from significant cost savings to companies on travel expense processing to reducing the time it takes for an employee to fill out a spreadsheet expense report or a paper report. The technology is also designed to detect fraud and to document approval processes, which appeals to financial managers focused on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance.

Bills Aim to Stop Retailers from Expanding into Banking

A new bill before the U.S. House of Representatives proposes restricting bank ownership by commercial companies in an effort to stop big retailers from moving into financial services.The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is now reviewing applications by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. to buy or form industrial loan companies, or ILCs. Wal-Mart wants to open an ILC to process debit and credit card transactions.
Technology

Employers Seek Alternatives for Easing Costs of Going to Work

With gas prices still high and possibly going higher, companies are trying to help their employees save money on their daily commutes by signing up for commuter tax benefit programs and discount programs with local mass transit and offering transportation subsidies, the Associated Press reports. Employers can also reap tax benefits from those participating in the commuter tax program which can help them to retain their employees.
Community News

VA Uses Accounting Gimmicks to Formulate 2006 Budget

A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has used untested management efficiencies in their budget calculations for the VA health care system, according to the Molokai Island Times. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) is the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee. The Molokai Island Times reports that he and his House counterpart, Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.) initially requested the audit to confirm the VA funding process.
Tax

Accountant Held Liable for Interest Expense from Tax Error

The South Dakota Supreme Court last week upheld a Circuit Court decision allowing a jury to award damages to Doug O’Bryan Contracting Inc. for interest expense on underpayment of taxes that resulted from an error made by his accountant. The state’s high court had not previously allowed recovery of interest expense in lawsuits against tax advisers, the Associated Press reports.Bruce Ashland, a certified public accountant, understated O’Bryan’s income for 1995.

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