Legislation

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.
A&A

EEOC’s 2005 Performance Report Highlights Small Business Outreach

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2005 last month, citing achievements of the past year and identifying its strategic objectives for the years 2006 – 2009. The National Contact Center began accepting calls in April, providing easy access to the public. It receives 24,000 calls a month. With a goal of prevention, as well as enforcement, the Commission conducted 479 no-cost outreach events directed toward small businesses in 2005.
Tax

Texas CPA Society, Florida Lawmakers Call for Hurricane Tax Relief

The 2005 hurricane season may be over but the call for tax relief and assistance for those affected by this season’s storms is still in full swing. In fact, it seems to be gaining momentum.The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) has asked Congress to pass legislation extending the tax relief given to those affected by Hurricane Katrina to the victims of subsequent storms, especially Hurricanes Rita, which devastated East Texas, and Wilma, which destroyed parts of Florida.

Hawaii Bottle Bill Fails Audit

After two years of preparation by Hawaii’s Department of Health (HDOH), the State’s Deposit Beverage Container Program or so-called “bottle bill” has become an accounting nightmare according to the state auditor’s report. There have been $39 million in collections as of June 2005 and HDOH still lacks an auditable financial accounting system.
A&A

Stock Option Expensing Coming in 2006

American companies with fiscal years ending December 31, 2005 will start expensing their stock options in 2006. This newly required reporting is expected to drop company net income figures noticeably. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been working to require American public companies to account for the impact of stock options in their financial statements since 1993, according to Business Journalism.
Tax

State Surpluses May Lead To Tax Cuts

The U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that state and local revenues are up 7.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2005. With state personal and corporate tax collections peaking, the question is what to do with their revenue surpluses in 2006. Strong revenue growth has New Mexico realizing a $1 billion surplus, Florida a $3 billion, and even California seeing a $3.4 billion surplus according to USA Today. States taxing energy production and real estate construction have seen windfalls also. “Every month we’re surprised by the good news and say it has to slow down.
A&A

Entrepreneurs Critical Piece of Economic Picture

Low taxes, manageable regulations and few obstacles to entering the business world are keys to encouraging small business growth around the world, a federal economist said last week."Countries around the global are discovering how important small business is for their growth and long-term economic health. Their policies toward entrepreneurship differ, but the results of similar policies are consistent,” Chad Moutray, chief economist of the U.S.
Tax

Record High Oil Profits Spur Talk of Windfall Tax

Talk of a windfall tax on oil companies is surfacing as the companies are reporting their latest quarterly revenue. The concern is that while American consumers are facing much higher energy costs, especially for heating oil and natural gas, the oil companies are reporting record-high profits. “Some might call it a novel approach for me, but I cannot sit back in good conscience while those in our society struggling to heat their homes are being left in the cold by oil companies,” Sen.

Resource Round-up: Bankruptcy Resources

Whenever a law is overhauled, there are changes to be explored and understood. Few changes, however, are as sweeping as those found in the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

Record Numbers File for Personal Bankruptcy

Preliminary estimates report 200,000 personal bankruptcy filings during the final week before the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 becomes effective on October 17, according to Lundquist Consulting, a company that compiles bankruptcy statistics, MarketWatch reports.

More College Savings: Textbook Deduction Proposed & Unclaimed Tuition Credits Found

After paying the steep costs of tuition, parents and students in American colleges face “shockingly high costs for textbooks in class after class, at school after school,” said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer has proposed making up to $1,000 of textbook costs tax deductible, his office announced. In addition, Senator Schumer is proposing a national textbook rental program, Newsday reports. Congress would offer $25,000 grants to colleges to conduct feasibility studies to see if a rental program would work for them.
Practice

President Bush Signs Flexibility for Displaced Workers Act

On Friday, President Bush expanded disaster relief employment by signing the Flexibility for Displaced Workers Act. Advertisement

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