Legislation

Tax

Will the housing credit expire as planned on November 30th?

As the first time home buyer credit moves toward expiration, it is getting mixed reviews. Critics complain about cost. Proponents want an extension of the credit.
A&A

Brouhaha erupts over PwC private health insurance report

PwC has found itself at the center of a controversy over its estimates of cost increases in insurance premiums if heath care reform becomes law.

AICPA: CPAs should be exempt from pending consumer financial protection legislation

The AICPA told a U.S. House panel that certified public accountants should be exempt from pending legislation to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency because CPAs are already highly regulated.
Tax

Making sense of health care reform

The debate just keeps on rolling and it doesn't seem to be cooling down. Here are some of the key components put forth by four of the plans that are under consideration, including the tax effects.

Status of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency

Whatever your opinion of the government’s plan to oversee your finances, you should know that small business still has a voice with the power to affect legislation.
A&A

Congress may require small businesses to play or pay for health insurance for employees

At this point in the health care reform debate, both the House and the Senate have put forth proposals for a "play or pay" mandate for employers to provide health insurance...

Who's your daddy? The Fed expands its role in your personal life

Some call it consumer protection. Some say it's necessary because government regulation has broken down and failed us, even though some who are expressing that opinion were heavily involved in the breakdown. Others see it as an ever-growing insult by the federal government, telling us that we are not smart enough to make good decisions, therefore we must leave it up to them. What's the target this time? The Fed is upset because you are not saving enough of your paycheck for a rainy day, and they intend to do something about that by taking your money before you get a chance to spend it.

Obama's proposed watchdog agency designed to reduce your risk

"Consumer protection will have an independent seat at the table in our financial regulatory system," says Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently while discussing President Obama's proposal to form a new watchdog agency.
Tax

Streamlined sales tax might be the answer to state budgetary woes

The Streamlined Sales Tax Project is moving back into the spotlight with some states visibly hurting for tax dollars and a Congress that seems friendlier toward raising taxes.The project began in 2000 with a group of people who were dedicated to reducing complexity in multi-state tax issues and harnessing the potential of online sales as a source of tax revenue. The current law, established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Quill Corp. v.
Tax

Political and economic climate improving for Streamlined Sales Tax Project

A bill that would implement the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) nationwide may be reintroduced in Congress later this year. Detailed provisions of the bill are still being worked on by interested groups. "Passage of a federal bill is becoming more likely because of political and technological developments," says Daniel Schibley, JD, Senior State Tax Analyst at CCH, who spoke with AccountingWEB. "States have an economic incentive for supporting the bill, and the fact that Democrats are in the majority in Congress improves the chances of passage.
Tax

IRS calls on Congress to repeal "burdensome" cell phone tax rules

Just days after announcing a new attempt to get a handle on taxing the business portion of cell phone use by suggesting a flat 75% business/25% personal division of expenses on cell phones used as business phones for purposes of determining tax deductible expenses, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman has suddenly changed gears and is asking Congress to repeal the designation of cell phones as listed property.In a published statement, Shulman wrote:This month, the Internal Revenue Service asked for comments on ways to simplify com

Short-term lenders may face new regulatory obstacles

Without a pawnshop and a gold onyx ring, Patrick Heinaman's grandmother might have missed her daughter's funeral. The short-term loan put the 412-mile trip to Port Lavaca within reach. It was costly, but her only option. But Heinaman's grandmother and other low-income borrowers would have a harder time getting an emergency loan of that type if the legislation Congress is considering to cap interest rates on all consumer credit transactions passes.

Supreme Court will hear challenge to PCAOB

A suit challenging the constitutionality of the Public Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) will be on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court when it reconvenes next fall. The plaintiffs in the case, Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Beckstead & Watts LLP, a Las Vegas, Nevada accounting firm, and the Free Enterprise Fund, claim that the Board violates the Appointments clause of the U.S. Constitution and the principle of separation of powers. The 2006 lawsuit failed last year in the U.S.
Tax

Benefits to both homeowners and lenders in new housing law

With previous efforts to aid homeowners who are facing foreclosure or whose home values are "underwater" making only a slight dent in foreclosure projections, Congress has passed carrot-and-stick legislation called the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act to encourage both homeowners and lenders to take advantage of government mortgage programs. What has changed in this new bill since the U.S. Treasury announced its foreclosure prevention plan in March is that lender participation in government plans is now required as long as consumers meet eligibility requirements.

CPAs visit Capitol Hill to promote key legislative priorities of accounting profession

Top elected leaders of the accounting profession from all 50 states are visiting Capitol Hill today to talk to members of Congress about key legislative issues of importance to the accounting profession."Congress is preparing to undertake what could prove to be a sweeping overhaul of our financial regulatory structure," said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. "The AICPA has adopted a series of specific proposals to improve transparency and confidence in markets.
Tax

AIG controversy results in more legislative wrangling

April 2, 2009Yesterday the House passed a new bill that attempts to address how we should deal with the AIG bonuses that aroused furor among the public, on Capitol Hill, and inside the White House. This version of the bill would let the payment of the bonuses stand, if, after further study, the Treasury Department and financial regulators deem them not to be "unreasonable or excessive." The bill - HR 1664 - passed by a vote of 247-171.
A&A

Obama pushes for mandatory retirement savings plans

Part of President Obama’s budget proposal would require employers who do not offer a pension plan to provide their employees with a direct-deposit retirement savings plan, modeled after a traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA).“The result will be that workers will be automatically enrolled in some form of savings vehicle when they go to work, making it easy for them to save while also allowing them to opt out if their family or individual circumstances make it particularly difficult or unwise to save,” according to the budget plan.
Tax

AICPA tax expert reacts to the Stimulus Bill

With all the nay-saying about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, at least one AICPA tax expert finds it … well, stimulating. Tom Ochsenschlager is still reading through the nearly 1,100 pages, but he sees some items for individuals and for business which he predicts will have real power to boost the economy. And, he adds, there are also reasons for CPAs to be optimistic about new business coming their way because of the bill. The list of items in the spending plan is long, and by now, well publicized.
Tax

What will a $575 billion spending spree buy?

The details will continue to roll out as analysts actually get a chance to read the 1,071 page bill was which voted on before anyone had a chance to read the whole thing. The bill, which was passed with a warning of urgency, will be signed in Denver by Barack Obama on February 17th.
Tax

Who gets what in the Stimulus Bill?

A lot of people get a little bit. Some, like certain home buyers or car buyers get more than a little. Some projects that do seem related to stimulating the economy get billions, and they may hold the power to create or protect jobs. And some programs that are not related to economic stimulus but do represent Democrat wish lists items are promoted and enhanced. The official name is the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed by a partisan vote on February 13th. The signing of the bill into law was delayed until Tuesday, February 17th for the holiday weekend.

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