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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

AMT patch is attached to Senate version of new stimulus bill

The Senate Finance Committee on January 27 approved its portion of an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, and potentially boosted the total cost to nearly $900 billion after agreeing to include a one-year patch for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for the 2009 tax year. Senator Max Baucus, (D-Mont), chairman of the committee, included the AMT patch in the face of Republican complaints that the package contains too much spending and not enough tax cuts, CCH reports. The final committee vote was 14 to 9.

Ways and Means completes new tax plan

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have released a tax plan that they hope will provide additional economic stimulus to taxpayers who have yet to demonstrate the effectiveness of last year's stimulus package.

Obama's tax decisions will define income tax systems for years

Tax policy decisions ahead: President-elect Obama's call for change, prepared by the Tax Policy Group of Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington, D.C., predicts that with Barack Obama in the White House and a strengthened Democratic Congress facing huge budget and tax issues, the outlook is for changes in tax policy in the next two years that could determine the size and shape of our income tax systems for the foreseeable future.

CCH issues special briefing on President-Elect Obama's tax proposals

CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business and a provider of tax, accounting, and audit information, software and services, has issued a Special Tax Briefing detailing the tax policies of President-elect Barack Obama."Recent history supports the likelihood that there will be a major tax bill in 2009, but historical data suggests that no first-term tax law will pass until May, and usually not until late July," according to George Jones, JD, CCH senior tax analyst."But, when legislation is passed, it's l

State tax initiatives receive mixed results on election day

Income tax repeal measures were defeated in last week's election, as Massachusetts voters once again rejected a ballot question to eliminate the state's income tax, six years after the question lost by a slim margin. And in North Dakota, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would reduce their income taxes by 50 percent and create an oil-tax trust fund.

Income tax repeal, investments in renewable energy on state ballots this year

While tax measures are less prominent on most state ballots this year, Question Number 1 in Massachusetts asks voters to cut the state income tax from 5.3 to 2.65 percent on January 1 and eliminate it entirely by 2010. North Dakota voters are being asked to cut their income tax by 50 percent and the corporate tax by 15 percent, largely because they enjoy a revenue surplus from a tax on oil drilling, The Wall Street Journal reports.

AMT fix: No real relief for accountants or legislators

The most significant provision in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 for small businesses as well as individuals is the one-year "patch" of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), says Tom Ochsenschlager, AICPA vice president, taxation, who spoke with AccountingWEB about the broader impacts of the bill. Small businesses are affected by the AMT because they are typically S Corporations or limited liability companies, and as flow-through entities, their revenues are often subject to the tax. "This AMT patch will have very important budget impacts for small businesses," he says.

Rescue bill extends tax breaks, expands energy credits, and more

Tax provisions attached to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, and signed into law by President Bush on October 3 will result in over 290 changes to the Internal Revenue Code, according to a CCH Tax Briefing. In addition to extending a long list of tax breaks for individuals and businesses, the bill contains provisions directly related to the financial bailout and extends and expands energy credits.