Watchdog

Tax

Tax Cheat Avoids $100 Million Penalty

Incorrectly worded Justice Department documents filed as part of the biggest tax prosecution ever will cause the federal government to miss out on $100 million.Telecommunications entrepreneur Walter Anderson, who admitted hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from the IRS and District of Columbia tax collectors, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison and ordered to repay about $23 million to the city. But U.S.
Practice Management

Another Enron in Europe?

Many European businesses are failing to effectively implement corporate governance codes which is heightening the risk of a serious corporate scandal on the scale of that involving Enron, new research claims. A poll of Europe's 500 largest publicity listed firms found just 56 percent had the necessary policies in place to protect against ethic and compliance failures, with only 9 percent expecting budgets aimed at addressing the issue to increase.
Tax

Senate ID Theft Hearing Lauds Calif. Privacy Laws

A U.S. Senate subcommittee was told Wednesday that California's innovative privacy laws are successfully protecting Californians by getting consumers, businesses, government agencies and others to change their behaviors in order to better protect personal information and fight identity theft.
A&A

Computer Theft Endangers Calif. Firm's Clients

A Santa Rosa tax accounting firm is alerting thousands of clients that their private financial records may be in jeopardy after a key computer was stolen from the office, the Santa Rosa (Calif.) Press-Democrat reported.Terry Brown, owner of Tax Service Plus, said a computer containing the records of his firm's 3,000 to 4,000 clients was missing when he arrived at work March 7 and found a back door broken open.He said he's notifying clients by letter what actions they should take to protect themselves against anyone who tries to use the stolen information to open a fraudulen
Tax

40 Frivolous Tax Positions to Avoid

The IRS issued guidance identifying 40 frivolous positions to avoid when filing tax returns. They have no basis for validity in existing law or have been deemed frivolous by the United States Tax Court or other federal court. If these or other frivolous positions are contained in a tax return, taxpayers could face a $5,000 penalty – 10 times the previous maximum.
Tax

U.S. Business Leaders Seek Reg. Reductions

A all-star panel of American business and government leaders pushed Tuesday for a rollback in regulations they say are necessary to keep U.S.
Practice

Identity Theft: Do Your Employees Have Too Much Access?

About a month after a woman was hired to help with receptionist duties, accounting, invoicing and filing at a small Midwest shipping company, she started calling in sick.When she was out, packages started arriving that were addressed to unknown recipients. Her boss sent them back. But on another day when the receptionist was out, a delivery person told the owner that one of the reclaimed packages was part of a potential fraud investigation.
Tax

White Paper: Assessing Your System Risks Before Attackers Do

By Stephen Northcutt, Jerry Shenk, Dave Shackleford,Tim Rosenberg, Raul Siles and Steve ManciniWith multi-tier network architectures, Web services, custom applications, and heterogeneous server platform environments, keeping data and information assets secure is more difficult than ever. Coupled with this added complexity is the fact that criminal organizations have organized their hacking efforts; it is no longer just “script kiddies” trying to break into your network.
Practice

White Paper: 10 Reasons to Outsource Remote Data Protection

In today’s information-driven organizations, the costs to generate, keep available, manage and recover data are staggering. Many businesses today depend on 100 percent data availability to keep mission-critical functions operating. With the increasingly widespread reliance upon data, the costs of interrupted access to data or data losses could financially compromise an organization and, in some cases, leave it no room to recover. The price of downtime is just too steep. 
A&A

E-mails As Evidence: Business Owners Face New Procedures

Changes in federal employment law may change the way you and your employees store e-mails and e-messages, but Business & Legal Reports reports that one of the key changes facing small business owners this year is not a change in law at all.The U.S. Supreme Court established a set of new procedures dealing with electronic messages that may be needed as evidence in trials. Why is the procedural change important to you? One look at your computer inbox, electronic communication has exploded in recent years, leaving the postal carrier feeling a bit lonely these days.
Tax

IRS Shuts Down Preparers Seeking Bogus Phone Refunds

IRS e-News reports that search warrants were carried out in seven cities this week by special agents from the Internal Revenue Service. According to affidavits filed in federal court, the IRS is seeking evidence from tax-preparation businesses suspected of preparing returns on behalf of clients requesting egregious amounts involving this year’s special telephone excise tax refund.IRS criminal investigators served search warrants at tax preparation businesses in Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas, Tyler and Athens, Texas; Riverside, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; and Baton Rouge, La.
Tax

DiCaprio To Star In Enron Movie

Oscar-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio will star and produce the story of Enron’s collapse according to Variety.Warner Bros. reportedly is finalizing the rights for “Conspiracy of Fools,” the book written by New York Times report Kurt Eichenwald.DiCaprio has been slotted to play a newcomer to the Houston-based energy company who exposes the greed and fraudulent accounting that plunged Enron into bankruptcy in 2001.
Tax

School Bus Driver Allegedly Prepared Returns On Side

The United States has sued a St. Louis woman in federal court to permanently bar her from preparing federal income tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit against Yolanda White alleges that she prepared federal income tax returns for customers improperly claiming fabricated or exaggerated income tax deductions.According to the government complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, White works as a school bus driver but also prepares fraudulent income tax returns for others.
Technology

Information Security Management Remains Chief Concern

Information Security Management is expected to continue to have a powerful influence over business in 2007, according to the 18th Annual Top Technology Initiatives survey of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). For the fifth consecutive year, the survey identified Information Security as the technology initiative expected to have the greatest effect in the upcoming year.A related initiative, Identity and Access Management, jumped from sixth place in 2006 to second in 2007.
A&A

Experts Predict Bad Year Ahead for Cyber-crime, Cyber-terrorism

According to information released by Risk Bloggers, security and risk management experts around the world predict information security events will occur in 2007, with sophisticated criminal groups increasingly exploiting technology to keep one step ahead of consumer and corporate defenses, resulting in unprecedented losses.Some key vulnerabilities cited were large groups of zombie computers organized into Botnets, web server security holes and uncontrolled mobile devices, such as portable storage and smart phones.
Tax

Celebrities Treasures Tarnished: IRS Taxes Gifts & Goodie Bags

Oscar presenters this year each walked off with over $35,000 worth of gifts in their goodie bags, including four nights at Honolulu's Halekulani Resort, with a 24-hour butler valued at $25,000. What’s in your goodie bag? The new Sierra Leone Fund, launched on September 10th in Washington, DC with a gala celebrity fundraiser. Their goodie bags for folks like Angelina Jolie, Kanye West, and Isaiah Washington, included t-shirts, sarongs and other clothing items to jewelry, high-tech gifts, accessories and more.
A&A

Few Firms Have a Regulatory Response Team Despite Anti-fraud Programs

In the heightened regulatory environment of the post-Enron business world, a majority of companies have instituted formal anti-fraud programs and controls, according to an online poll released earlier this month by Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS).
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
Tax

Corporate America Fighting Back Against Lawsuits, Regulations

Two influential industry groups are developing proposals that would make it more difficult for investors to file civil suits against companies and accounting firms, while also strengthening protections from criminal cases brought by government prosecutors.The groups, which have close ties to the Bush administration, hope to limit the liability of accounting firms for the work they do for clients so that individuals are targeted for wrongdoing, not entire companies, the New York Times reported.One of the groups drafting proposals is the U.S.

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