Trends

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.
Tax

Largest Accounting Firms See Coming Revolution in Business Reporting

As part of the Global Public Policy Symposium in Paris, held on November 8 and attended by key players concerned with ensuring the quality and reliability of financial reporting worldwide, the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) International, Grant Thornton International, Deloitte, KPMG International and Ernst & Young, published a joint statement of their vision of what the future might hold for financial reporting and the accounting profession.
Tax

Churches Adopt Business Management Methods

Megachurches with memberships in the thousands and budgets in the millions are hiring more staff and consultants with business experience as they look to implement corporate management and accounting methods for their congregations.Advertisement

Black Friday 2006 & Beyond

It may have been inevitable. What was called Black Friday has been so successful that it has gained the color of green. Mlive.com reports that legions of frantic shoppers poured through stores’ doors at 5 a.m., surely helped along with the stores offering merchandise at deep discount prices.

Credit Card 101: Advice Before Shopping

The numbers of bankruptcies is again on the rise after the tough bankruptcy law of 2005, and they are returning in large numbers.Advertisement

Use Your Frequent Flier Account; Inactive Programs Can be Cancelled

The incentive to redeem frequent flier miles – that free ticket – is not as appealing for travelers as it once was, because of blackout dates, limits on eligible seats, especially for popular destinations, and the lower fares on discount carriers, but not visiting your frequent flier accounts can have a price. Two carriers, Delta and US Airways, recently imposed new rules on inactive accounts. Starting January 31, 2007, US Airways Dividend Miles accounts will be closed and all miles forfeited if there has been no activity in the account for 18 months.
Technology

Job-Hopping May Not Be Good for Your Accounting Career

A recent survey from Robert Half Finance & Accounting indicates that the length of time spent by candidates in previous positions is an important factor in the hiring decisions.
Tax

Complex Rules Determine Who Will Pay Honolulu’s General Excise Tax Increase

When Hawaii’s state legislature decided to allow county governments on each of the four islands to vote separately on a .5 percent rate hike in the state’s general excise tax (GET), currently at 4 percent, to pay for the proposed mass transit system serving Honolulu, it was trying to avoid making taxpayers on all four islands pay the hike, according to Lowell L. Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii .

Bank, ATM Fees Reach Record Highs

The Fall 2006 Checking Account Pricing Study, a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, found that some customer fees and requirements hit record highs."What makes these fees especially irritating is that they're avoidable," according to Greg McBride, senior financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
Tax

Winners and Losers Among Ballot Propositions Affecting Taxes

Voters approved 141 of the 205 initiatives and referendums on the ballots of 37 states in Tuesday’s election, rejecting only 59, according to iandrinstitute.org’s Ballotwatch. Five measures, including Arizona’s controversial cap on property tax increases, remain to be decided.

Consumer Electronics Top Holiday Wish Lists; Socks Near Bottom

Ernst & Young (E&Y) predicts an increase of 6.5 percent in holiday spending this year, with consumer electronics the hottest category, according to a report in RTO online. Mobile phones that provide full internet access, thin-screen high density TVs and iPods are high on wish lists, along with NASCAR-related items, TMX Elmo and hanging earrings of all kinds, from loop to chandelier, the E&Y sixth annual holiday forecast says. A ConsumerReports.org survey of wish lists for this year found that electronics, along with toys, are on more than 50 percent of the respondents wish lists.

Senate May Reverse Closing of Iraq Auditor’s Office

The military authorization bill signed by President Bush in mid-October calls for the termination of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) by October 1, 2007. Susan Collins (R – Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, says that provision was not in the conference version of the bill, the New York Times reports. In addition, some analysts say that the content of reports issued by the office, which were critical of weapons oversight by the U.S. military and accounting methods used by the U.S.
Tax

H&R Block Will Disclose More to Clients About Refund Anticipation Loans

H&R Block announced enhancements to its refund anticipation loan product that will inform clients about possible tax-related debt and the potential cost of the loans, the company announced Tuesday. In September, H&R Block announced that it could reduce costs by nearly 40 percent for clients who agreed to pay for the loans through the new H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard issued by H&R Block Bank.“Besides saving our clients money, we’re doing even more to make sure H&R Block customers receive the best service and disclosure in the industry,” said Mark A.
Tax

Republicans Point to Benefits of Low Taxes; Democrats Weigh Economic Policy Options

With the 2006 congressional election less than a week away, President Bush is campaigning for his fellow Republicans on the strength of the economy and on his tax cuts. Democrats, who may gain a majority in Congress and with it some control over the nation’s purse strings, are weighing their options.
A&A

Small Business Payment Options: Cash and More

You might have heard of businesses that have stopped taking cash. Paying by credit card or plastic is becoming the norm, even as dollar bills are defined as “legal tender for all debts, public and private,” according to Slate. The Federal Reserve measured the amount of actual physical cash (M0) at $688 billion in 2004, according to Wikipedia. The Coinage Act of 1965 specifies that cash, excluding foreign gold or silver coins, is legal tender for the payment of debts, public charges, taxes and dues, according to Slate. The word “public” is key in this sentence though.
Education & Careers

College Grads Earn More; Accountants’ Pay Continues to Climb

The cost of a college education pays off for most people, according to data from the Census Bureau’s 2005 Current Population Survey released last week. The average gap in earnings for all working adults with a bachelor’s degree and those with high school diplomas is about $23,000 a year, the Associated Press reports. College grads earned an average of $51,554 a year in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for high school graduates and $19,169 for high school dropouts.
A&A

Halloween Treats for Accountants

Editor's Note: This article was first published in 2005. All the links included have been verified and are still operational.The kids will soon be out begging for candy. You can let them, or your clients, put the “bite” on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with a chocolate candy bar wrapped in a 1040 tax return with the message “Here’s your chance to bite back at the IRS”. They also have a candy bar with a wrapping informing everyone that “Accountants make life less taxing”.
Tax

International Economic Center, the OECD, Takes Aim at U.S. Tax Policy

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), signalled a growing interest in international tax with the publication of a draft of guidelines on tests that investment managers in the UK need to meet before profits from offshore hedge funds can remain outside of the UK’s taxing authority, hedgeweek.com reports.
Tax

Spending Caps, Tax Measures on Ballot in Many States

After choosing their candidates on November 7, voters will check yes or no on ballot propositions that, along with more familiar bond issue proposals, would increase the minimum wage, support property rights, prohibit same sex marriage, and limit tax increases. While Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) proposals that put caps on future spending have received national attention, proposals that will affect property taxes and increases in personal exemptions are much more popular this year.

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