State and Local

Community News

WithumSmith+Brown Among “Best Places to Work in New Jersey”

NJBIZ, a weekly business publication, has named WithumSmith+Brown (WS+B), Certified Public Accountants and Consultants to the “Best Places to Work in New Jersey” list for the second consecutive year.
Tax

Many Low Income Workers Don’t Claim Earned Income Tax Credit

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that four out of five taxpayers who meet eligibility requirements don’t claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the government’s largest program for helping low-income working families, the Washington Post reports. Last year 21.1 million taxpayers claimed a total of nearly $40 billion through the EITC credit, enacted by Congress in 1975 as a way to help low-income workers.
Tax

Patriot’s Day Delays Tax Day in Six States

Taxpayers in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia will have until April 18, 2006 to file returns and pay any taxes due, according to formal guidance issued Monday as Notice 2006-23 by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The extension is being given because April 17 is Patriot’s Day, a state holiday, in Massachusetts and Maine. If the filing and payment deadlines fall on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday they are extended to the next business day, by law.
A&A

Study: Northeast Tax Codes Unfriendly to Businesses

A new study pinpoints the Northeastern states as having some of the worst business tax systems in the country.New York has earned the dubious distinction of having the most unfriendly business tax climate in the country.
Community News

H&R Block Owes More Taxes

H&R Block underestimated its own “state effective income tax rate” in previous quarters, all the way back to 2004, and has been found to owe another $32 million in back taxes. The company has cut its full-year 2006 earnings in response to this charge.

Fat Tuesday

Today is Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. The day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. For many Christians, and especially Catholics, it is a final day of indulgence before a season of fasting and denial that is known as Lent. It is a sad irony that a city, perhaps the city, most often associated with Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, has endured a season of fasting and denial since Hurricane Katrina came ashore last Fall. For New Orleans, this Mardi Gras season has more in common with Easter than with former celebrations of excess and hedonism.

Mardi Gras Blesses New Orleans Again

In spite of hurricane-damaged buildings and countless new white government trailers on rail flatcars destined for people without homes, New Orleans is celebrating Mardi Gras again. It’s a slimmed down fête with only 70 floats, instead of the usual 200, following a single route to minimize police coverage and trash pickup.
Tax

Tax Woes Don’t Stop for Hurricane Victims

Getting answers to the many tax questions that the Gulf hurricanes have wrought is frustrating. Questions about evacuation expenses, property losses deductions, and gains resulting from insurance settlements, are still needing answers for many taxpayers in the disaster areas.

Foundation Tracks Philanthropy’s Response to Gulf Coast Disasters

The Foundation Center, a nonprofit organization that gathers and analyzes information on U.S. philanthropy, has released “Snapshot of Philanthropy’s Response to the Gulf Coast Hurricanes,” an overview of corporate and foundation response to the disasters. Data for this report comes from information provided by the institutional donors through press releases, web postings and other public announcements. The Center will be tracking foundation and corporate giving over the next several years and will publish extensive detailed analysis at the end of 2006 and 2007.
Community News

Hawaii’s Tax Benefits & Headaches

The Hawaii Tax Department is still working on its final reports for 2004 and 2005, but they show that the latest estimate of tax credits claimed in 2002 was $123 million and $143 million in 2003. Tax credits are available for a range of expenses and investments, covering the purchase of an infant car seat, to the making a movie.
Tax

California Sues H&R Block over “Instant” Tax Refunds

California’s Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, filed a suit in San Francisco last week alleging that H&R Block and participating lenders have deceived the tax preparation company’s clients by failing to disclose the true costs of “Instant” refund anticipation loans. The loans are short-term advances of federal income tax refunds, minus fees and interest, that give customers immediate access to their money. The lender who provides the advances – HSBC Bank - collects the borrower’s actual Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund check as the loan repayment.

President’s Day or Washington’s Birthday?

Actually, it’s neither. The holiday, created by the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, and celebrated on the third Monday in February, is officially named Washington’s Birthday. George Washington’s birthday, however, is February 22, and it is impossible for the date of the third Monday to be any later than February 21, meaning Washington’s Birthday will never actually fall on his birthday.
Community News

CPA Status Boosts Political Candidate’s Chances

While confessing to cutting down a cherry tree contributed to a reputation for trust that helped George Washington guide the country as president more than two centuries ago, Bruce Brown is hopeful that his CPA license will provide the legacy that helps him get elected as Wyoming’s next state auditor.

Lobbyist Spending in 2005

Lobbyists spent a record $30.2 million in 2005 lobbying Wisconsin lawmakers, according to the Associated Press. Odd-numbered years usually see these numbers increase as the two-year state budget is written. The lobbying figure was $26.3 million in 2003, according to the Associated Press. These spending figures take into account salaries, payments, reimbursements, and fringe benefits paid to lobbyists, as well as overhead and public relations costs.Those groups, seeking to influence the state’s public officials, have increased by more than 60.
Tax

Ohio Society of CPAs Launches Operation CPA

The Ohio Society of CPAs, in cooperation with the Ohio National Guard, on Tuesday launched Operation CPA, providing free tax preparation services from the Ohio Society of CPAs member volunteers to members of the Ohio Guard and reserve service members deployed outside Ohio.“The Ohio Society of CPAs and its members want to show support for the men and women in our armed services who are risking their lives for our country,” said Clarke Price, president and CEO of the Ohio Society.
Tax

Policing Resume Padding

The state of Washington is considering a bill that would impose a $1,000 fine on those claiming, in writing, to have an academic degree they didn’t possess. Also, failing to disclose that a listed degree came from an unaccredited institution will cause a fine. The bill passed the Washington House last week and now goes to the Senate, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. These degrees are offered to people based on their general life experiences. The bills aim to close legal loopholes concerning “diploma mills” operating within the state and in foreign countries.
Community News

Tax Revenue Lost Over Building Permit Delays

Increasing the efficiency of the building permit process could add millions of dollars in tax revenues and significantly bolster the economic development of communities.
Education & Careers

Tweens Savvy About Savings

The next generation is learning financial prudence, according to a survey of American “tweenagers” conducted by Weekly Reader Research and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). When asked what they would do with a gift of $100, 59 percent of children between the ages of 9 and 12 indicated they would save at least $50.The announcement of the survey results, coincide with the launch of a special “Budget Buzz” program.
Tax

States Increasing Tax Burden on Residents

Wondering how your state stacks up when it comes to the tax burden placed on its residents? New data released by the U.S.
Technology

13 States Mandate E-filing, Tax Administrators Group Hopes More Join

Thirteen states now mandate that tax preparers electronically file their clients’ individual tax returns. More such mandates may be required, if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is to ever realize its vision of widespread e-filing, argues the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA).Last week, when reports surfaced that the IRS is five years behind its goal of having 80 percent of all returns electronically filed this year, FTA President Harley Duncan said that his organization has concluded that the e-filing growth that has occurred is primarily due to the state mandates.

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