Legislation

Tax

Senate Panel Investigating Tax Shelter Abuses

The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has launched an investigation into the potentially abusive tax shelter schemes marketed and sold by Big Four firms Ernst & Young and KPMG. The agency has requested documents from the firms relating to the shelters.The investigation follows on the tails of a similar investigation into the validity of tax shelters being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service.

Fifteen-Year-Old Taxpayer Tries to Change Law in Florida

Miranda Rosenberg is 15 years old and has recently filed her 2002 income tax return. She worked part-time last year while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. Paying income taxes is more than just an annual obligation to Ms. Rosenberg; she sees this event as an opportunity to change the law.Ms.
Tax

Congress to Debate Changing Tax Filing Date

Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-6-MD) has introduced legislation that would change the annual filing date for income tax returns from the current April 15 to the first Monday in November, the day before Election Day."I think it's just common sense that the price we pay for our government - which is taxes - should be a top priority when Americans go to the polls to select their members of Congress," said

Proposed House Legislation Promises Work Flextime

Last week, by a vote of 8-6, the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee approved legislation meant to provide more workplace flexibility. H.R. 1119, the Family Time Flexibility Act, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and allow employees to receive compensatory time off in place of overtime pay. House supporters say the bill gives workers more flexibility in their work schedule. Organizations around the country are weighing in on the legislation’s merits. On March 12, Houston Williams spoke to the House subcommittee on behalf of the U.S.
Community News

HIPAA Privacy Rule Takes Effect April 14, 2003 - Reminder

The HIPAA "Privacy Rule" goes into effect April 14 for group health plans with annual premium or claims of $5 million or more. HIPAA requires employers to separate protected health information from employment-relation functions. If you are a company who sponsors an employee health care plan, be prepared for the Privacy Rules of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
A&A

Tell The Truth, Unless it Hurts - Stock Option Accounting

The following is a guest editorial by, Raymond L. Dever, CPA (Retired)Tell the Truth, Unless it Hurts - Stock Option Accounting. Or, unless it is politically dangerous. "We can't stand by and let accountants wearing green eyeshades decide who is going to get the American dream," says Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) before a Silicon Valley lobbying organization.

DOL Releases Long Awaited Plan to Update The FLSA

by Stuart R. Buttrick, Baker & DanielsGenerally, the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") establishes minimum wage and overtime standards for employees that are not exempt from its provisions. Among the most common exemptions under the FLSA are for "executive," "administrative," and "professional" workers -- also known as the FLSA's "white collar" exemptions.

Senate Approves FY '04 Budget Resolution

Provided by CCHThe Senate on March 26 approved a fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget resolution (SConRes 23) that contains $852 billion for tax cuts, with $350 billion of that amount under reconciliation protection. The measure was approved by a vote of 56 to 44.Republicans had threatened to offer amendments to reinstate all or part of the tax-cut reductions, but were apparently unable to muster the necessary votes and offered no controversial add-ons.
Tax

Bicyclists Riding Toward Tax Break

Gas costs are high, pollution fills our air, and tax breaks are available for those who drive to work. Bicyclist enthusiasts, including some Congressmen in Washington, think the time is right to extend those tax breaks to bicycling commuters. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mark Foley (R-FL) have reintroduced the Bike Commuter Act, H.R.
Tax

President Bush Proposes Replacing IRAs, 401(k)s

President Bush presented his fiscal year 2004 budget this week. Among other proposals, the President is calling on Congress to create two new types of retirement accounts which would simplify and streamline the current collection of retirement options, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, 456s, SIMPLEs, and more.The President's plan calls for the establishment of Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) which would replace the current Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). The plan also calls for the establishment of Lifetime Savings Accounts (LSAs).
Tax

Treasury Releases Details of Proposed Changes to Retirement Accounts

Provided by CCHFollowing several days of speculation over new retirement plan proposals that had been circulated privately among top policymakers by Bush administration officials, the Treasury Department, on January 31, released details of President Bush's budget proposals to greatly expand retirement accounts. The first proposal would create two new savings accounts: Lifetime Savings Accounts (LSAs) and Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs), which will allow all Americans to contribute, regardless of age or income.
Community News

SEC Considers New Rules For Credit Rating Agencies

On January 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) presented Congress with a 48-page report about its ongoing investigation into the function and role that credit rating agencies play in the securities market. According to the report, federal regulators are scrutinizing allegations of unfair or uncompetitive practices by the three largest credit rating agencies, Moody’s Investors, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. The commission is studying ways to make the industry more open to competition.
Tax

DOL Issues Final Rules on 401(k) Blackout Periods

Starting this week, workers with 401(k) retirement plans received new federal protection with the Labor Department’s announcement of a law requiring plan administrators to provide 30 days’ notice of blackout periods.Congress enacted the blackout rules as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
Tax

Explanation of The Dividend Exclusion in The Bush Tax Plan

provided by CCHPresident Bush announced an economic stimulus package on January 7 containing more than $670 billion in individual and business tax cuts over the next 10 years. The centerpiece of the package, and the proposal causing the most controversy, is the proposed exclusion from income of dividends paid by a corporation to shareholders.

Bush Tax Plan Has Something For Everyone

President Bush presented his latest tax plan to Congress on Tuesday. Included in the plan are tax reductions and credits that will benefit all taxpayers.The tax plan features the following reductions:An immediate elimination of federal income tax on all dividend income, retroactive to January 1, 2003.An immediate increase in the child tax credit for children under the age of 17 from the current $600 per child to $1,000 per child effective for tax year 2003.

HIPAA Privacy Rule Takes Effect April 14, 2003 - Be Informed

The HIPAA "Privacy Rule" goes into effect April 14 for group health plans with annual premium or claims of $5 million or more. HIPAA requires employers to separate protected health information from employment-relation functions. If you are a company who sponsors an employee health care plan, be prepared for the Privacy Rules of The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Tax

Senate Approves Permanent Tax Exemption For Holocaust Victims

Provided courtesy of CCHThe Senate last week approved, by unanimous consent, a measure to repeal the sunset of an exclusion from federal income tax for restitution received by Holocaust victims. The Holocaust Restitution Tax Fairness Bill (Sen 2577) makes permanent the provision originally included in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) (P.L. 107-16).The House approved similar legislation (HR 4823) by voice vote on June 4 (TAXDAY, 2002/06/05, C.1).
Community News

Sarbanes-Oxley Raises Red Flag For Not-for-Profits

Source, Healthcare Financial ManagementNot-for-profit providers that do not hold themselves to the same standard as their for-profit peers risk being perceived as having betrayed the trust of their communities. Criminal fraud. CEO greed. Lax corporate governance. Questionable accounting practices. These were familiar phrases in the public discourse this year, accompanied by mounting outcry for congressional action.
Tax

Treasury Announces New Tax Shelter Regulations

The Treasury Department has released amended regulations for the disclosure of tax shelters. These rules expand the reporting requirements currently expected of corporations to include individuals, trusts, and subchapter S corporations.
Tax

Lawmakers Want Tax Disclosures Tougher Than FASB's

In a letter to President Bush, Senate Finance Committee ranking member Charles E. Grassley urged a sweeping review of disclosure requirements related to corporate income taxes. He wants more details on IRS Schedule M-1, and he wants someone other than the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to decide what is adequate tax footnote disclosure for financial statements.Sen.

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