Legislation

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
A&A

Regulatory Relief Sought For Small Businesses

A report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reveals that the full annual cost of Federal regulations on businesses is $1.1 trillion or 11 percent of additional income. The report, The Impact of Regulatory Cost on Small Firms, finds that the total Federal regulatory cost per employee in firms with 500 or more employees is $5,282 per employee while in firms with less than 20 employees, the cost escalates to $7,647 or 45 percent over larger firms with 500+ employees.
Technology

New Compliance Solution Saves Time and Money

A new service from e-know, Inc. automates the outbound communications, business ethics policies, finance and administration controls, non-compete/non-disclosure agreements, conflict of interest policies, operating procedures, sexual harassment policies and other compliance related activities helping commercial and government organizations dramatically reduce the time, expense and effort required to implement initiatives, conduct audits and manage the organization’s overall risk mitigation effort.“Companies continue to spend huge sums and
Tax

Energy Tax Incentives Just a Signature Away

All that is keeps the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 from becoming law is President Bush’s signature.
A&A

Ideas for Prompt Collections and Fair Practices

A Commercial Collection Agency Association study quoted in an Accounting Office and Management and Administrative Report (AOMAR) says that the probability of collecting on a late account after three months drops to 73 percent, after six months to 57 percent and after one year to 29 percent. Richard Baumann, a partner at Sulmeyer Katz, a Los Angeles law firm, said in the AOMAR report, that he advises partners and administrative managers at CPA firms to stay on top of all outstanding bills. “I counsel my clients not to let these things get out of hand.

CPAs Hold Umbrella of Protection Against Gathering ‘Legal Storm’

Like a sudden summer thunderstorm, the surprising number of ERISA-related lawsuits filed last year – more than 11,000 according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts – seems to have blown in out of nowhere.In reality, the Department of Labor has been predicting this “Legal Storm” for more than a year.
A&A

Not All Faxes Are Junk

In passing the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 on Wednesday, June 29, Congress acted to stop junk faxes without preventing small businesses from communicating with customers they have established relationships with.
Tax

Taxing Telecommuting

Every week when AccountingWEB distributes our e-newsletters, we receive a number of automatic “out-of-office” replies. That’s no surprise. After all, summer is a great time to travel and whether you are calling on clients, making the rounds of all the offices, attending a conference, spending more time with your family or work remotely regularly, getting out of the office even for a few days can help recharge our batteries and refocus our energy. It can also raise some interesting tax questions.Telework and telecommuting are becoming more common in the American business world.

CAFTA Passage May Hinge on Support for China Trade Bill

Passage of a free trade agreement with Central America may depend upon legislation that would pressure China to loosen its exchange rate, which is blamed for the poor performance of American exports.House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tuesday that it's become “very difficult for (many lawmakers) to vote on a trade package without getting some kind of meaningful response on the issue of China," Reuters reported.

Mark Your Calendar: GASB Public Hearings on Pollution Remediation Obligations

The Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) is holding a public hearing on June 29, 2005 regarding the preliminary views (PV) document Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pollution Remediation Obligations. The public hearing will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) at the Henry B.

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