Personal Finance

A&A

Tough Senate Bill Would End Three Mutual Fund Practices

Three U.S. senators on Monday unveiled the Mutual Fund Reform Act of 2004 (MFRA), which would ban three questionable, but legal, practices that bill sponsors say hurt investors and create conflicts of interest.The bill, sponsored by Sens. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, is considered the toughest to date on the $7.4 trillion mutual fund industry, United Press International reported.The bill says: "Three practices — soft dollar arrangements, revenue sharing, and directed brokerage — ought not clutter any mutual fund prospectus.
Tax

Tax Tip: How to Figure Your Advance Child Tax Credit

Taxpayers who plan to claim the Child Tax Credit on their federal income tax return should not claim the full $1,000 per child if they received an advance Child Tax Credit payment check in 2003. The payments were actually an advance on the credit’s 2003 amount, when the maximum for each child rose from $600 to $1,000.Taxpayers who received an advance payment should subtract the amount of the payment they already received from their $1,000-per-child total and then figure the remaining amount of credit, if any, to claim on their tax return.
Tax

Tax Tip: Roth IRA Contribution Rules

Confused about whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA? Check these simple rules:Income:To contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have compensation (e.g., wages, salary, tips, professional fees, bonuses).
A&A

Businessmen Specialize in Catching Tax Preparers’ Mistakes

Tax clients often worry that their preparers may have missed something, or that they’re not getting the full refund they deserve.Capitalizing on those worries are two Colorado Springs, Colo. businessmen who are building a booming business by specializing in filing amended tax returns. Entrepreneur Brace Barber and Darren Oliver, a former securities and insurance broker, claim they are recovering up to $700,000 a month for their clients, who are mainly small to mid-sized businesses.
A&A

Consumer Alert: Check Carefully Before Applying for Offers in Compromise

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer alert advising taxpayers to beware of promoters’ claims that tax debts can be settled for "pennies on the dollar" through the Offer in Compromise Program.Some promoters are inappropriately advising indebted taxpayers to file an Offer in Compromise (OIC) application with the IRS. This bad advice costs taxpayers money and time. An Offer In Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that resolves the taxpayer's tax debt.

SEC Considering Changes to Best-Price Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission may require that the New York Stock Exchange revise the rule that forces markets to get investors the best price, even if it means they have to go to a competing market to get it, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tax

Consumer Groups Criticize High Tax Refund Anticipation Loan Fees

Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumer Law Center are protesting the high fees tax preparers charge to taxpayers seeking instant refunds on their expected tax returns. The effective annual percentage rates on these loans can be as high as 700 percent, and often affect low-income taxpayers who live paycheck to paycheck, the groups said in a report issued last week. The report said that consumers paid $1.5 billion in fees in 2002, which the groups say undercuts the impact of the earned income tax credit.

Investors Believe That Sarbanes-Oxley Will Protect Investments

Movaris, a provider of corporate compliance management software recently announced the results of a nationwide poll measuring individual investors' attitudes to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as the level of penalty they would like the law to apply. The poll found that the majority of stockholders want to see punishment for those who violate the law, proving that investors are looking for good corporate governance and adherence to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The poll was conducted by Harris Interactive(R) and surveyed a total of 1,022 adults residing across the United States.
Tax

Fraudulent E-Mail Schemes Warning From the Treasury Department

Recently, many Americans have received a series of fraudulent e-mails which direct recipients to websites where they are asked to verify sensitive personal information. The e-mails claim that the individual’s personal information is necessary to assist in the fight against terrorism or for some other purpose supposedly required by law.
A&A

Massachusetts Financial Strikes Tentative Deal with Regulators

Boston-based Massachusetts Financial Services Co. reached a tentative settlement last week with regulators whereby it will pay pay $225 million in penalties and cut its management fees by $125 million, according to people familiar with the talks, the Wall Street Journal reported.This would mark the second-largest penalty levied in the ongoing mutual fund investigations. MSF is a subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Services of Canada Inc.
Education & Careers

Study Reveals Financial Performance Higher for Companies with Women at the Top

A new study released today by Catalyst demonstrates that companies with a higher representation of women in senior management positions financially outperform companies with proportionally fewer women at the top. These findings support the business case for diversity, which asserts companies that recruit, retain, and advance women will have a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
Tax

SEC Shuts Down Investment Company that Attracted NFL Players

Ware Enterprises and Investments Inc., which targeted blacks and Christians as well as nearly 20 NFL players, is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday as it acted to shut down the Orlando-based investment firm.The SEC said the company got more than 600 people to invest about $16.5 million over three years by using religiously oriented pamphlets to attract vulnerable groups, the SEC said in its complaint.
Community News

National Pro Bono Financial Planning Effort Launched

Six of the country's leading financial planning groups have joined forces to sponsor the Project for Financial Independence, the nation's first multi-organizational, pro bono financial planning effort. The groundbreaking project, which offers free financial guidance to individuals who cannot afford a financial advisor, or who are facing an immediate or unusual financial need, is being launched this month.
Tax

Top Ten Most Often Missed Business Tax Deductions

Calling the millions of dollars that is overpaid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year, "a widespread epidemic", the Tax Recovery Group (TRG) is releasing their list of the top ten most often missed business tax deductions. Failing to utilize these deductions accounts for the majority of businesses overpaying their taxes, which, according to statistics, businesses throughout the country overpay their taxes to the sum of millions of dollars each year.

SEC Finds ‘Revenue Sharing’ Practices at 13 Brokerages

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Tuesday that the activity behind the scandal rocking the $7 trillion mutual fund industry is apparently quite common, with 13 out of 15 brokerages under SEC scrutiny admitting to "revenue sharing" practices.Revenue sharing occurs when mutual funds pay brokerages to promote the funds’ shares.

Grasso's Pay Called "Inappropriate," Formal Investigation to Begin

As the New York Stock Exchange grapples with a report that says it overpaid its past chairman and CEO by as much as $150 million, the Big Board is also looking to its future, trying to convince former J.P.
Technology

More Great Shopping Sites! Don't Miss This!

Check out the updated AccountingWEB Top Shopping Sites. We have scoured the Web to come up with a collection of sites that will help you with your holiday shopping. Whether you are buying for family, friends or co-workers, don't miss these favorite sites!Here are more Top Shopping Sites that we have chosen as excellent online shopping locations. We will be adding to this list weekly, so check back to view new sites and ideas. We have every shopping opportunity covered: wine, toys, jewelry, pets, co-workers and friends.
Technology

Pay Your Bills Online?

A new service offered by the United States Postal Service, USPS™eBillPay, enables you to pay and view your monthly bills online for a monthly fee of $6.00 per month for up to 20 transactions. You are able to pay anyone in the United States that you would normally pay by check or automated debit, with the exceptions of, state and federal tax payments and court-ordered payments. The service allows you to set up a payee by entering payee information such as payee account number and the payee's address and phone number.

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