Legislation

White House Interpretation Leaves Whistle-Blowers at Risk

Shortly after signing a new law to regulate the accounting profession and deter corporate fraud, President Bush released a controversial statement with the White House's interpretation of the law's whistle-blower provision.
Tax

House Approves Deduction For Long-Term Care Insurance

By a vote of 362-61, the House of Representatives has approved a measure to provide an above-the-line tax deduction for long-term health care expenses, such as nursing home costs.
Community News

U.K. Takes Slower, Gentler Approach to Audit Reforms

While U.S. lawmakers were reaching agreement on tough accounting reform legislation, Patricia Hewitt, Britain's Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was outlining the U.K.'s slower, gentler approach to audit reforms. The difference in approaches between the U.S. and U.K. seems to be rooted in the perceptions that U.K. accounting and auditing standards are superior in some respects to U.S. standards.
Tax

House to Vote on Tax Simplification Bill

One of Congress's leading advocates of tax reduction and simplification, Rob Portman (R-OH), has introduced into the House of Representatives the Tax Simplification Act of 2002, a new tax act designed to make the tax code simpler for both families and businesses. Featured in the act are several tax changes that have gained popularity over the years:Complete repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for both individuals and businesses.
Tax

New Tax Act Under Review by Congress

The House Ways and Means Committee is analyzing the Tax Simplification Act of 2002, a bill introduced late last week by Congressman Rob Portman, R-OH, and co-sponsored by 10 other Republican congressmen.
Tax

Congress Considering Elimination of State Taxes on Interstate Commerce

Last week, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to the full committee that included a clause that would enable certain corporations engaged in interstate commerce to avoid state and local taxes on income from such activities.The Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law advanced H.R. 2526, the Internet Fairness Act of 2001, which is described as a bill to make permanent the moratorium on Internet access taxes.

New Rules Will Require Investors to Pass Identity Check

The Patriot Act, passed by Congress earlier this year, provides for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create rules that will prevent terrorists from using U.S. mutual funds and brokerage accounts as a channel for money laundering. In the spirit of the authority created by this law, the SEC has announced plans to require U.S.

Senate Debate Puts Audit Standards on Center Stage

The Senate is scheduled to resume discussion of the Sarbanes accounting reform bill on July 9, 2002, putting audit standards on center stage. A key issue is the extent to which audits can or should uncover major frauds. Under current and proposed audit standards issued by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), auditors are not required to detect major types of frauds. But lawmakers are keenly aware that recent audits have disappointed investors by failing to detect alleged frauds.

The Accounting Profession's Laugh-a-Minute Lobbying Effort

To hear Washington Post columnist Sebastian Mallaby tell it, the accounting profession's lobbying effort is a laugh a minute led by the "clown princes of accounting." He claims the profession's arguments are so hilarious that accountants are in danger of losing their long-standing reputations for being "dependable but boring." Indeed, the only salvation, as he sees it, is a dose of reality in the form of legislative reforms.Examples of the profession's "comical" expressions:

House Passes Prescription Drugs Benefits Bill

CCH PROVIDES ANALYSIS AND COMPARES GOP AND DEMOCRAT APPROACHESHow Medicare Recipients Fare Under Each,States May See Relief from Rising Medicaid Bills(RIVERWOODS, ILL., June 28, 2002) – With the passage of the Medicare Modernization & Prescription Drug Act of 2002 (H.R. 4954) by the Republican-led House of Representatives on June 28, the pressure now is on the Democratic-led Senate to move on its own proposed bill.

WorldCom Paves The Way For Fast-Action Audit Reforms

On June 25, 2002, barely a week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Senate Banking Committee proposed alternate accounting reform bills, WorldCom announced its intention to restate its recent financial statements. The timing is expected to have far-reaching political implications, particularly when taken together with the statement issued by its former auditor Arthur Andersen.
Tax

House Votes to Make Retirement-Related Tax Cuts Permanent

Members of the House of Representatives sent a strong message to the Senate last week regarding the desire to solidify tax breaks for our aging society.

Senate Panel Approves Bill to Tighten Audit Standards

On June 18, 2002, the Senate Banking Committee voted 17-4 to approve a bill to tighten oversight of the audits of publicly-held companies. The approval came despite a strong lobbying effort by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and some of the larger accounting firms who opposed the measure. The approved bill incorporated several last-minute compromises. Full details are not yet available on the Web.
Tax

Supreme Court Rules in Tip Taxation Controversy

Sending a blow to the restaurant industry, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, June 17 that the Internal Revenue Service has the right to arbitrarily assess Social Security tax to restaurants and other businesses where employees regularly receive tips if the Service has reason to believe employees of the business are underreporting tip income. According to the ruling, the IRS does not have to determine the exact amount of tip income earned to assess the tax, but instead may make what it determines is a reasonable estimate.

Senate Reform Bill Slated For Mark-up June 18, 2002

Senator Paul Sarbanes has announced that the Senate Banking Committee will meet on June 18, 2002 to mark up the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002." The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) called this bill a "de facto government takeover of the accounting profession." The AICPA and some of the large accounting firms have been working through Sen.
Tax

House Votes Down Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Provided by CCHThe House of Representatives on June 12 voted on HJRes 96, a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority in Congress to pass tax changes that increase revenue beyond a certain amount.
Tax

Senate Kills Death Tax Repeal

Senators supporting the repeal of estate taxes, currently scheduled to be fully reinstated in 2011 after a 10-year phase-out period, were six votes short of their goal when the measure came to a vote on Wednesday, June 12.
Tax

Constitutional Amendment Would Require Supermajority For Tax Hikes

Provided by CCHThe House on June 12 plans to vote on an amendment to the Constitution that would require a supermajority in Congress to change tax laws or significantly increase government spending. The Tax Limitation Constitutional Amendment (HJRes 96) was introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, on June 6.
Tax

Department of Justice Attempts to Thwart Tax Evasion

The U.S. Department has filed documents in Federal District court in Tampa in an attempt to gain an injunction against tax fraud monger Douglas P. Rosile Sr. of Venice, FL, who has been accused of peddling tax scams. Tax scams take many shapes, and since Congress passed the I.R.S.
Tax

House Votes 'Yea' on Marriage Penalty Acceleration

The House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to support an acceleration of the elimination of the marriage penalty from the standard deduction.With a vote of 409-1 - only Representative Alan Mollohan (D-WV) voted against the measure - the House voted to begin eliminating the marriage penalty in 2003 instead of 2005 as originally scheduled.

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