Legislation

Tax

The President's Savings Proposals: Tax-Free Savings and Retirement Security

The President’s Savings Proposals:Tax-Free Savings and Retirement SecurityOpportunities for all AmericansThis week the Treasury Department announced that the President’s FY 2005 Budget includes the following savings initiatives: Retirement Savings Accounts, Lifetime Savings Accounts, Employer Retirement Savings Accounts, and Individual Development Accounts.The first proposal would create two consolidated savings accounts: Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) and Lifetime Savings Accounts (

Whistle-Blower Wins Protection Under Sarbanes-Oxley

An administrative law judge has ordered that a former CFO be rehired, with back pay, in a decision that is considered one of the first related to whistle-blower protections promised by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.The case did not play out on Wall Street or in tony corporate boardrooms, but in Floyd, Virginia, home to 432 residents and the headquarters of Cardinal Bankshares Corp.The whistle-blower, David Welch, was fired as chief financial officer of Cardinal Bankshares Corp.
Technology

Congress, Wireless Industry Working on Cell Phone Directory

Who hasn’t been in desperate need of someone’s cell phone number and cursed the lack of cell phone directory assistance? The wireless industry and Congress are debating the logistics and expect to soon have a directory available.Congress is focusing its attention on privacy issues with legislation pending that would require cell phone users to "opt in" to the directory and would prevent the industry from collecting the "unlisted" charges people pay to keep their land line numbers private.
A&A

Spitzer Suit Tests Validity of New Federal Banking Rules

In an effort to test the laws governing whether federally chartered banks fall under state consumer protection regulations, New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer filed suit on Friday on behalf of a bank customer.The Bush administration has championed laws that keep federally chartered banks insulated from state consumer laws, a stand that many Democrats and most of the state attorneys general take issue with.The new rules were issued on Jan.
Technology

California Tax Preparers Gear Up for Mandatory E-Filing

A new law in California has some tax preparers scrambling to ensure they can file every state tax return electronically this year. The law requires all tax preparers who filed more than 100 state returns for the 2002 tax year to submit all their work for this tax season by computer. Taxpayers can opt out of the program if they choose.The California Society of CPAs says that reaction to the new law has been mixed. One CPA, Donna Flanders of Modesto, told the Modesto Bell that e-filing is "the wave of the future" that cuts down on paperwork.
Community News

Are Your Employees Responsible For Spam? Is Your Organization Liable?

Hackers, spammers and those bent on using the Internet to exploit others are making inroads in their efforts to overwhelm PC users with unwanted e-mail including pornographic images.Experts are concerned about a new trend of relaying spam through unsuspecting computers left logged on to broadband connections, which are used as a conduit to forward thousands of messages to others without leaving a trace behind.

Audit Fees Go Uncollected by The PCAOB

According to Reuters, William McDonough, chairman of The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, told reporters at The Economic Club of Washington’s Winter Luncheon Meeting on Wednesday that hundreds of public companies still owe the Board dues. "Those companies that have not paid cannot get a clean opinion from their auditor," said McDonough.
Technology

House Passes Bill That Would Limit Spam, Punish Violators

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed a bill that would limit spam by outlawing the most misleading techniques used by commercial bulk e-mailers.The Saturday vote marked another step toward a nationwide approach to fighting unsolicited e-mail. Online marketers supported a national law because it would be easier than complying with conflicting state regulations. The measure would supplant an even stricter California state law that goes into effect Jan. 1.The House bill, approved on a 392-5 vote, is similar to legislation the Senate passed last month.
Tax

Combating Abusive Tax Shelters: A Summary

As part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure all taxpayers pay their fair share, the Treasury Department and the IRS continue to move aggressively to combat abusive tax avoidance transactions.This multi-pronged strategy includes requiring prompt disclosure of potentially abusive transactions by taxpayers and promoters, providing more timely analyses of these transactions and publishing legal guidance as early as possible.

Bill Would Require Option Expensing, But Only for Top Execs

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation that would require only the top five executives at a company to expense their stock options.Sponsors of the bill say it is a compromise they hope will persuade the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to drop its plan to require companies to list all options as expenses, Reuters reported.Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi, one of the bill’s five sponsors, said FASB is not listening to protests from lawmakers, business people and others that requiring expensing of broad-based options programs could hurt U.S.

House Passes Bill to Rein in Mutual Fund Industry

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would curb abusive practices in mutual funds, taking the first major step toward legislative reform of the $7 trillion industry.The bill, which passed on a 418-2 vote Wednesday, would impose penalties against fund trading abuses. It would make directors on company boards more independent from fund managers, and it would require companies to disclose more information to investors about fees and fund operations, the Wall Street Journal reported.It is likely the legislation will be reworked before a reform package is sent to President Bush.

PCAOB Solicits Nominations For Advisory Group

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is now soliciting nominations for members of a standing advisory group that will assist the Board in carrying out its standards-setting responsibilities for auditing.The advisory group will consist of approximately 25 members with expertise in a variety of fields, including accounting, auditing, corporate finance and corporate governance, and investing in public companies.Members will be selected by the Board based on nominations, including self-nominations, received from any person or organization.
A&A

Insurance Associations Concerned About IASB Standard

Seven major insurance trade associations have asked the International Accounting Association (IASB) to take another look at its Exposure Draft 5, Insurance Contracts, which is also referred to as Phase I of the Insurance Contract Accounting project.The London-based IASB hopes to eventually standardize global accounting rules for publicly held companies. The standards would include financial accounting standards for insurance companies.
Tax

House Bill Aims to Grow Jobs, Cut Corporate Taxes and Avoid Sanctions

By a vote of 24 to 15, the House Ways and Means Committee moved a bill forward Tuesday that supporters hope will generate new jobs for American workers in the form of a $128 billion corporate tax cut."The American Jobs Creation Act does just that—creates jobs for American workers," said Bill Thomas (R-CA), Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and sponsor of the bill, in a release issued by the Committee. "We will protect and expand jobs for hard-working Americans."H.R.
Tax

Estate Tax Debate May Reach Compromise

Acknowledging that they may never be able to totally do away with the always-controversial “death tax,” Senate Republicans have been secretly considering a compromise. They are anxious to push the bill forward while they hold control of Congress and the White House.With the federal budget deficit soaring and President Bush’s economic policies increasingly coming into question, Sen.
A&A

Small Business, Investors Could Benefit From New Bill

Small business owners may soon benefit from an increased business loan pool if Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has her way.

New York Takes on Payday Loan Scams

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has sued a Delaware-based bank and two out-of-state financial companies for operating a "payday" loan scam that saddles middle to low income New Yorkers with huge debt. Supporters of the enforcement proceedings joined Spitzer in warning consumers against these high-interest loans that violate consumer protection laws. "This modern day ‘loan sharking’ scheme exploits vulnerable consumers with offers of quick cash, when in reality, the exorbitant, illegal interest rates trap people in a cycle of long-term debt," Spitzer said.
Community News

Sarbanes-Oxley Nets Arrest of Former EY Partner

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 continued its sweep through corporate America yesterday when the FBI arrested former Ernst & Young partner Thomas Trauger.In one of the first document destruction cases brought under Sarbanes-Oxley, Trauger, 40, faces federal charges of obstructing an investigation by destroying or tampering with audit work papers. The audit in question involved the now-defunct NextCard Inc.
Tax

Illinois Sues Online Retailers Claiming Cyber Tax Evasion

On September 17, the House of Representatives passed the Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act, the bill that imposes a permanent ban on taxes on Internet services. The current moratorium, set to expire on November 1, 2003, was a temporary fix installed two years ago, providing legislators with time to debate the issues of the permanent moratorium. The moratorium applies to all methods of Internet access, including pricier high-speed links taxed by some states.

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