Trends

How Big a Problem Is the AMT?

How much taxpayers are suffering from the burden of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) depends on who you are talking to. Four members of the Oklahoma Society of CPA’s spoke with AccountingWeb.com about the AMT recently from the perspectives of their own practices. All agreed with Nina Olson, Taxpayer Advocate, that the AMT’s complexity was a burden to taxpayers, but no one suggested that the tax be repealed. Kent L. West was concerned about the growing numbers of their clients who were affected, but Basker Johnson saw the AMT affecting his clients only under special circumstances. J.

AICPA Publishes Generally Accepted Privacy Policies for Use by Business and CPAs

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) have announced the recent release of Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) – a Global Privacy Framework. The new GAPP is available in two versions, one for business and management and the other for CPAs in public practice that provide consulting and attestation services.

FASB Will Discuss Delay of FIN 48

Delaying the effective date of FASB Interpretation No. 48, “Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes” (FIN 48), an interpretation of FAS 109, is on the agenda of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 17. The Board has received over 300 letters on Fin 48 since it was it was issued last July, many requesting that the effective date, December 16, 2006 for companies with fiscal years beginning on that date or later, be delayed for one year, the New York Times reports. In a December 12, 2006 letter to FASB, David L.

Congress Targets Faulty Oil-Drilling Leases Worth Billions in Royalties

When Congress revisits energy legislation next week beginning with a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, a priority will be to examine the Interior Department's oil and gas royalties program, the panel's new chairman Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-N.M.), said Tuesday, according to dowjones.com.
Community News

Five Accounting Firms Named to Fortune’s List of 100 Best Companies to Work For

Ernst & Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms, and Plante & Moran, a regional firm with headquarters in Southfield, Michigan were the highest-ranked accounting firms in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list which appears in the January 22nd issue of the magazine and at Fortune.com. Ernst & Young ranked 25th followed closely by Plante & Moran at 32. The other three Big Four firms also made the list with PricewaterhouseCoopers ranked No. 58, Deloitte & Touche No 78 and KPMG No.

Navigating the New “Kiddie Tax” Rules

When Congress passed legislation in May that extended the so-called Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch for one more year, the law included a provision that eliminated the “Kiddie Tax” break for dependent children between the ages of 14 and 18 who have investment income over $1,700. All dependent children under age 18 are now required to be taxed at their parents’ rate on unearned income of $1,700 or more retroactive to January 1, 2006.
Tax

States Must Confront Huge Retiree Obligations

Soaring health care costs and low investment returns in pension funds are forcing state and local governments to make drastic changes to retiree health care benefits and to lengthen vesting periods for new workers. As of December 15, the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), requires government entities to record Other Post-employment Benefits (OPEB) as accrued liabilities under statements 43 and 45.
A&A

Small Businesses Have More Credit Card Debt

A newly released report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) finds that small businesses have acquired more outstanding debt. Most of it was credit card debt. From June 2004 to June 2005, both the number and dollar amounts of small business loans rose 25 percent. All commercial lending institutions accounted for the numbers, not just SBA loans and the increase in business debt was especially prevalent in the smallest businesses, under $100,000.
Tax

What Gives with Giving?

America is a generous country and during the holiday season even more people think about giving to charity. A study from Network for Good, who process online charitable donations of over one million non-profit groups, reports on the over $100 million donated to 20,000 groups through the site since November 2001. Findings show that: The average age of online donors is 38 Offline donors tend to be over 60 years old The most generous online donors are from New York, Connecticut and

Two Federal Budget Deficit Estimates; Two Accounting Methods

According to the Financial Report of the United States Government for the year ending September 30, 2006, which was released by the Treasury Department (DoT) on Friday, the federal budget deficit totaled $449.5 billion, nearly 81 percent higher than the $247.7 billion in the President’s annual budget report published two months ago.
A&A

SEC Proposes Risk-Based Analysis of Financial Controls

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow public companies subject to the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) to evaluate the design of only those financial controls that might carry the risk of having a material impact on financial statements.
Community News

Accounting Firms Receive Tax Breaks, Incentive Grants to Relocate

Accounting firms that are considering moving from their existing locations are getting a lot of help from local governments who want to retain or attract professional firms to their communities. Whitinger Properties, a long established accounting firm in Muncie, Indiana, received $120,890 in tax breaks this week from the Muncie City Council on a new $2.3 million office building in Ontario Place, the StarPress.com reports.

Consumers Don’t Expect to Get What They Want This Christmas

Nearly a quarter of all consumers don’t think they will get what they want for the holidays this year, according to the 21st Annual Holiday Survey of retail and shopping trends commissioned by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. Anyone among the 24 percent of survey participants indicating they will wait until the last minute to shop, will probably be grateful for the lists provided or hints dropped by 69 percent of respondents.
A&A

SEC and PCAOB Still Working on Sarbanes-Oxley Changes

Christopher Cox, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman, said Monday that regulators were still working on revisions to its rule requiring companies to adopt internal controls and procedures for financial reporting but said he was “confident” that the result would “improve the reliability of public company financial statements and better protect investors,” the Washington Post reports. The SEC will issue its proposed revision on December 13.
Tax

Congress May Extend Sales Tax Deduction This Week

If the House of Representatives and the Senate do not extend the sales tax deduction during the final days of the lame duck session, residents of the seven states that do not levy personal income tax, who itemize their deductions, will see an increase in federal tax owed for 2006.
A&A

Communities Partner with Salvation Army to Help Needy

Volunteer bell-ringers in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, want to bring in enough donations to help pay for holiday food baskets for 900 needy families in the region this year, says Major Marie Harris, Community Relations and Program Development Officer in Williamsport. Fifty local businesses have joined in the fundraising effort by participating in the Festival of Trees, donating and decorating trees in the Lycoming Mall that will be auctioned in mid-December for the benefit of the Salvation Army.

Accounting Firm’s Charity Challenge Makes a Difference

For the third year, the accounting and management advisory firm of Damon Topham and Company, LLC, is donating $1000 to the Marshfield, Mass., Boys and Girls Club and they are again challenging other local businesses to match the donation.
Technology

IRS Should Target Online Sellers, Committee Says

An Internal Revenue advisory committee made up of tax experts from outside the agency recently recommended that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) strengthen enforcement of current tax law as it applies to online sellers, USAToday reports.
A&A

Credit Card Companies Marketing New Small Business Cards

Spurred by the growth in small business owners since 2001, up 4 percent to 5.9 million, and the business potential of the 90 percent of small business spending not on credit cards, American Express, Visa and others are marketing new cards designed for the small business owner.

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