Legislation

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.

Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance - Seven Questions For Executives & Boards

Corporate governance is the new watchword for U.S. companies working to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and requirements proposed by the major stock exchanges. But according to Protiviti, an internal audit and risk consulting firm, businesses may need to take additional steps to preserve value for shareholders and build the public's confidence.

"Update: Legal Liability In Leave" Free Report

As legal problems involving leave continue to plague employers, a single incorrect interpretation of leave laws can land executives and their companies in court.
Tax

House to Vote on New Education Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to schedule a vote, perhaps as early as this week, on H.R. 5193, tentatively called the Back to School Tax Relief Act of 2002. The bill, introduced by Rep.

Survey: Most Whistleblowers Unable to Protect Themselves

Despite recent publicity given high profile female whistleblowers, a survey by the National Whistleblower Center finds that most whistleblowers are male and many still lack the legal rights to protect themselves from retaliation by their employers. The survey was based on a random review of 200 cases reported to the National Whistleblower Center in 2002.

California Enacts New Laws Affecting Accountants

On August 23, 2002, California Governor Gray Davis signed three bills that affect accountants doing business in the state.
Tax

Treasury Closes Life Insurance Loophole

Wealthy taxpayers who want to avoid paying exorbitantly high estate taxes of up to 50% have taken solace in recent years with a tax scheme that enabled them to purchase certain life insurance policies which get passed on to heirs tax free. Those days are over.The way the scheme worked, up until last Saturday's Treasury Department notice (Notice 2002-59), a taxpayer would purchase a life insurance policy for a high price, when the actual value of the policy is significantly lower.
Community News

Complying With The Sarbanes-Oxley Act: Four Top Priorities

If you're feeling baffled by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, you're not alone. Attorneys say this 66-page document is complicated, confusing and open to interpretation. Many accounting firms and their corporate clients are still sifting through the provisions and trying to develop an action plan to guide their clients through the compliance requirements in the coming months.
Tax

Health Tax Credit Signed Into Law

On August 6, President Bush signed the Trade Act of 2002 (H.R. 3009), which includes a provision for a tax credit for health insurance costs incurred by people who have been displaced from their jobs as a result of a trade-related circumstance.The bill allows for a refundable tax credit equal to 65 percent of the amount paid for health insurance coverage for the worker and qualifying family members for eligible months that begin within the tax year.

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.

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