Legislation

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.
A&A

Small Businesses Saved $6.6 Billion in 2006 Thanks to Advocacy

The Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the “small business watchdog” of the government, saved small businesses more than $6.6 billion during fiscal year 2005, according to a statement released last week.

Lawmakers Debate Ways to Ease Pain of Health-Care Costs

Measures aimed at lowering the cost of employee health care for small businesses have been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Bill Requires Reporting Unfunded Federal Liabilities

With state and local governments scrambling to meet the Government Accounting Standards Board’s (GASB) amended rules for reporting on postretirement benefits, and private and public companies getting ready for compliance with the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) proposed statement on recording pension liabilities, a congressman from Indiana has introduced legislation that would require the federal government to meet a similar standard. The Truth in Accounting Act, sponsored by Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind) and co-sponsored by Reps.
Tax

Experts Say High Price Deters Would-be Smokers

Americans bought as many cigarettes last year as they did in 1951, when the population was half what it is today.A new report by the National Association of Attorneys General said that the nation's per capita consumption of tobacco fell to levels last found in the 1930s.Advertisement
A&A

Coalition Urges Retirement Solutions for All Americans

In a letter sent to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao as she prepares to open the final SAVER Summit, members of Americans for Secure Retirement, a coalition of 34 organizations representing a broad cross section of interests, urged Chao and Summit attendees to explore solutions addressing often-overlooked elements of the retirement security debate.Advertisement
Tax

Tax Woes Don’t Stop for Hurricane Victims

Getting answers to the many tax questions that the Gulf hurricanes have wrought is frustrating. Questions about evacuation expenses, property losses deductions, and gains resulting from insurance settlements, are still needing answers for many taxpayers in the disaster areas.

Lobbyist Spending in 2005

Lobbyists spent a record $30.2 million in 2005 lobbying Wisconsin lawmakers, according to the Associated Press. Odd-numbered years usually see these numbers increase as the two-year state budget is written. The lobbying figure was $26.3 million in 2003, according to the Associated Press. These spending figures take into account salaries, payments, reimbursements, and fringe benefits paid to lobbyists, as well as overhead and public relations costs.Those groups, seeking to influence the state’s public officials, have increased by more than 60.
Tax

White House Pushes Tax Cuts in Face of Other Advice

The Treasury reports that tax proposals pressed by the White House will cost the government billions in revenue, according to the Washington Post. The White House wants to make permanent the tax breaks for dividends and capital gains that expire at year end, 2008. These tax breaks would cost the government $7.74 billion in 2008 and $37.02 billion in 2009, according to its “Blue Book” description of revenue proposals in the president’s fiscal 2007 budget.
Community News

New Laws Impact Michigan's Accounting Professionals

With the input of Michigan’s accountants and business leaders, the state’s legislature has passed legislation mandating peer review for all Michigan CPA firms and sole practitioners who perform audits, review and compilations, beginning March 2007, Crain’s Detroit.com reports. The laws also stiffen punishments for individuals falsely claiming to be CPAs and increases protection for CPAs who are required to reveal client information to government authorities.

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