Watchdog

Technology

More Companies Squeezing Employee Internet Use

Businesses are becoming more and more strict when managing employee Internet use at work, a new survey shows. A national poll from Robert Half Technology revealed more than three-quarters (78 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) polled recently said their company has either installed content-filtering or blocking software, instituted policies that detail acceptable Web browsing, or done a combination of both. The poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.
Tax

Jackson Hewitt Begins Internal Review

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. reports an internal review has begun in the wake of Internal Revenue Service allegations that five franchisees defrauded it out of more than $70 million. "Jackson Hewitt takes allegations against our franchisees seriously," Chief Executive Officer Michael Lister said. Jackson Hewitt, the second-largest U.S. tax preparer, intends to "identify all of the facts related to these allegations and address them appropriately," Lister said.
Tax

SEC Approves Framework to Ease SOX Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a framework Wednesday for changes to rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley law that would ease requirements for companies and the auditors responsible for their records. Sarbanes-Oxley, which arose from the 2002 corporate scandal, mandates that public companies assess the strength of their internal checks and balances to guard against fraud. The vote by the five SEC commissioners was unanimous to support building more leeway into the rules, especially rules for auditors being written by the independent board that oversees the accounting industry.
Tax

Renaissance Promoter Pleads Guilty to $75 M Fraud

Todd Eugene Strand of Murrieta, Calif., pleaded guilty in a Kansas City, Kan., federal court to conspiracy to defraud the United States in the assessment and computation of taxes and mail fraud charges for his involvement in a tax fraud scheme, the Justice Department and the U.S.
Tax

Illinois Tax Scam Promoters Indicted

A prominent Southern Illinois automobile dealer and three promoters of a tax fraud scheme in the U.S. Virgin Islands were charged with a variety of tax and wire fraud-related charges in an indictment returned last Friday and made public today, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.A federal grand jury in East St. Louis, Ill. returned the 21-count indictment, which charges James A. Auffenberg Jr. of Swansea, Ill., Peter G. Fagan of De Leon, Texas, James W. Ferguson III of Amarillo, Texas, and J. David Jackson of St. Croix, U.S.
Tax

GAO Audit Reveals IRS Security Weaknesses

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the Internal Revenue Service has made limited progress toward correcting or mitigating previously reported information security weaknesses. The report found 66 percent of the weaknesses that GAO had previously identified still existed.As part of its audit of the IRS’s 2005-06 financial statements, the GAO took a look at what the agency was doing to correct previously reported information security weaknesses.
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.

Pages


Already a member? log in here.