Legislation

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.

Government in Canada Wants Better Access for Internationally Trained Accountants

Legislation that that will standardize and ensure fairness for the licensing process in Ontario for internationally trained professionals, including accountants, was introduced on June 8 by Mike Colle, the Province’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Toronto Sun reports.
Tax

Compromise Unlikely on Estate Tax Repeal

Small business owners, leading supporters of the drive to repeal the federal estate tax, are debating the next step for the proposal since the defeat of the repeal measure in the Senate last Thursday, by a vote of 57 to 41. Ending debate on outright repeal requires 60 votes and compromise measures face opposition from both Democrats and Republicans. Four Democrats joined the Republicans to open debate on repealing the tax. Some small business owners suggest keeping the tax but raising the exempt amounts, USAToday reports.
Education & Careers

Schools Expand Accounting Programs; Add New Courses

Job prospects remain bright for accounting graduates and the number of students enrolled in accounting programs continues to grow in some areas of the country.

SEC Calls for Greater Disclosure of Executive Pay, Probes Options Dating

With companies now required under FAS 123 to disclose the value of stock option grants on their income statements for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and members of Congress are pressing for more detailed disclosure of total executive compensation.
Technology

Fed Long-Distance Tax Repealed

The Justice Department will no longer continue litigation on the issue of the federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service. The Treasury will no longer collect the 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance calls.

Immigration Bill Passes Senate

The Senate version of immigration reform legislation passed late this week. The bill, as passed, will give most illegal immigrants a chance to become American citizens, according to the New York Times. Opposition remains among House conservatives and Republican leadership, admitting that it will be difficult to get a final bill to the president. Bush, nevertheless, encouraged the Senate and the House to work together to pass a bill that he could sign into law.
A&A

Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

Of the 80 million small businesses in the United States, about four million are owned by veterans. The total military veteran population is about 24 million. This five percent of small businesses is more than one would expect, given the total population number, according to SmallBusinessNotes.com. Veteran startups have a higher success rate when compared with other business startups, as well. SmallBusinessNotes.com said this is due in part to the experience veterans receive while in the military.

Funding Bill Changes Rules for Ex-Spouses; Military Accountants

Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee approved three adjustments to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act as part of the 2007 defense authorization bill (S 2766).
Tax

National Guard & Military Pay

For tax purposes, military pay is treated like regular income, while parts of National Guard pay have special treatment. Before the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, National Guard members could deduct 100 percent of their travel expenses.
Tax

Tax Bill Includes “AMT Patch”, Changes Roth IRA Rules

The tax bill passed by the House and Senate last week extends the maximum 15 percent tax on dividends and capital gains for two more years, to 2010, but provides only a one-year freeze on incomes that trigger the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The law also contains revenue enhancers including elimination of the income limitation for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

Support for Aging Parent Care Is Looming Workplace Issue

More than 44 million Americans are caring for an aging relative and 29 million of these are employed, according to the nonprofit National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2008, “54 percent of the work force will be involved in caring for an older person,” the AARP Bulletin says.Turnover is high among these workers, many of whom are sandwiched between two generations who need care -- their young children and their aging parents.

Postal Service Legislation Attracting Controversy

Being able to compete is important to any business, especially to the Postal Service. Language in both Senate and House versions of a bill designed to overhaul the Postal Service includes changes to the accounting method used to price shipping products, according to GovExec.com. The recommendations in the Treasury report takes the Postal Service out the loop in determining its own rates and the Postal Service is seeking a more equal role.
Tax

Tax Breaks for Families in Canada’s New Budget

Canada’s new minority government presented its first federal budget last week with tax breaks for families that include a universal child care allowance and a reduction in the goods and services tax (GST) from 7 percent to 6 percent.

AICPA Committee Seeks Interstate Practice Solutions

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has created a new volunteer committee, the special Committee on Mobility, to identify unnecessary burdens and requirements blocking CPAs from easily practicing across state lines.

Oil Prices Fuel Debate on LIFO Reform and Tax Rebates

Rising oil prices have gotten Congress to consider legislation that could significantly impact corporate accounting and individual taxpayers, but at last report both of those areas look like they will go untouched.Advertisement
Community News

TaxWare's Charles Collins Discusses Internet Sales Tax

Charles Collins manages Taxware’s relationships with taxing authorities and legislative bodies and is a frequent speaker on state and local tax issues. He was employed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue for 32 years before coming to his current post, serving as the Director of the Sales and Use Tax Division for his last ten years there. While there, he also served as the Assistant Director of the Audit and Collection Division. Collins served as Co-Chairman of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) for two-and-a-half years.

Lockhart Moving to Mortgage Oversight Agency

Last week, our president named James B. Lockhart III to head up the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). The Washington Post reports that he is initially coming on as acting director of the office that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to start his new job as soon as possible. MarketWatch reports that Lockhart was a fraternity brother of the president’s while attending Yale University.Reuters reports that Armando Falcon Jr. resigned from the post in May 2005 and Stephen A. Blumenthal has been the agency’s acting director.
Tax

Lawmakers Calling for Windfall Profits Tax on Oil Companies

With gas prices at the pumps averaging $3 a gallon around the country, lawmakers in state capitols and Washington, are questioning high profits in the oil industry and are considering imposing windfall profits taxes on oil companies.

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