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Watchdog

Tax

O.J., Dionne, Sinbad among top tax scofflaws

California Revenue & Taxation Code Section 19195 directs the Franchise Tax Board to publish an annual list of the top 250 taxpayers with liened state income tax delinquencies greater than $100,000. Each taxpayer is given an opportunity to voluntarily settle their liability with the state before their name appears on the public list.According to the California Franchise Tax Board, O.J.
Tax

Is your data safe? Survey reveals scandal of snooping IT staff

Results of a recent study reveal the hidden scandal of IT staff snooping at the confidential information of other employees.
Tax

Bonds' homer ball creates tax controversy

Even before San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th home run, the analysts were lining up, giving their opinions about how much the ball would be worth and how and when the value of the ball would be taxed.
Technology

Beware phony IRS e-mail warnings

The Internal Revenue Service warned computer users about phony e-mails designed to scare people into believing they are under tax investigation in order to give scammers access to their computer hard drives. The tax agency said that the e-mail claiming to be from IRS Criminal Investigation falsely states that the person is under a criminal probe for submitting a false tax return to the California Franchise Board. Opening up an attachment to learn more about the complaint allows those behind the scam to gain remote access to the computer.
Community News

KPMG says companies unprepared for cross-border fraud

Rapid advances in global trade and information technology appear to have increased the speed with which cross-border crimes are committed, yet most companies are unprepared to investigate fraud promptly if it occurs in a country other than the home of the parent company, according to research by KPMG International.With 92 percent of respondents in a survey saying that they expected to perform at least the same number of international investigations in the coming year as last year, 56 percent acknowledged that they have not implemented comprehensive investigation procedures.
Community News

Anti-Money Laundering Leader Joins KPMG

Former federal prosecutor and banking executive Teresa Pesce has joined KPMG LLP’s Forensic Practice to lead its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) service line, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm has announced. In addition, she will help direct criminal and regulatory investigations for clients. She is based in New York.
Tax

Will Fed's Peek at Personal Finances Remain Secret?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has announced plans to analyze key facts about the personal finances of thousands of Americans, and he is promising that the information will be held in strict confidence. The Fed sent out letters last week to approximately 10,000 families living in 79 cities and towns around the country asking them to participate in the central bank's latest "Survey of Consumer Finances." The survey, which has been tallied once every three years since 1983, provides detailed information for the central bank and other economic researchers into household finances.
Tax

Ex-IRS Director Pleads Guilty to Fraud

A former IRS district director pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the agency in connection with a tax scam orchestrated by Renaissance, The Tax People Inc. of Topeka. Jesse Ayala Cota, a former Internal Revenue Service district director, admitted in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., that he conspired to prepare, or have others prepare, false federal income tax returns resulting in a tax loss to the government of about $1.3 million. Cota, who worked for the IRS for more than 30 years before joining Renaissance, The Tax People Inc.
Tax

Security Update: Microsoft Issues Critical Vista Patches

Just before Easter, Microsoft broke from its usual security alert program to issue a bulletin and patches for a vulnerability that could allow malformed Windows animated cursor files to give hackers remote control over infected PCs.
Tax

IRS Tax Fraud Prosecutions Decrease

A USA TODAY analysis reveals that the Internal Revenue Service is seeking fewer criminal prosecutions of tax fraud suspect, calling into question the agency's claims of renewed enforcement success. A review of IRS data reveals the agency's referrals of tax fraud and other financial cases to the Justice Department fell for the last two years.The decline appears even greater when measured by prosecution referrals in which the Justice Department designated the IRS as the lead investigative agency.
Tax

Fired Accountant Goes on Shooting Spree

A fired accountant bought a shotgun the day after he lost his job, then returned to the office the following week and opened fire on his bosses, wounding both and killing a receptionist, the Associated Press reported.Troy, Mich. police said Anthony LaCalamita III, 38, targeted two managers and also may have intended to shoot another one."There is a suspicion that there might have been a third upper management official he was seeking," said Troy police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck.
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.

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