News Wrap-Up - Issue 235

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THIS WEEK'S NEWS
  1. Big Four Firms Express Their Support of the FASB to Congress
  2. Who Deserves a (Tax) Break Today?
  3. Civil Case Tossed out in KPMG Tax Shelter Case
  4. E-filing Jumps 10 Percent, Child Tax Credit Errors Increase
  5. Companies Rush to Clean up Old Mistakes, Internal Audits Get Tough
  6. UCLA Rattles Accounting Students with Program Changes
  7. KPMG's Independence Questioned by States in WorldCom Bankruptcy
  8. College 529 Plans under Scrutiny, Fees Paid May Offset Tax Benefits
  9. Martha's Case Serves up a New Batch of Lessons
  10. Bank of America to Pay $375M, Exit Mutual Fund Business
  11. Enron Bankruptcy Update: Final Costs Were on Target

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*** PLATT’S PERSPECTIVE ***

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the indictment of Big Five firm Andersen, the "beginning of the end" for the 85,000+ person firm and the event that ushered in an era of exposing corporate scandals and enacting sweeping reforms.

But now, 24 months later, are we REALLY better protected from scandal, corporate greed, ethics bending and monkeying with corporate books to increase stock prices? Does the conviction of Martha Stewart really protect my retirement portfolio? Have the Big Four and other national firms reformed their ways and institutionalized those reforms so these problems won't happen again?

While I think we've made some progress, it seems that these have been tip-of-the-iceberg changes, while the bulk of the infrastructure remains in a state that could still allow the problems of the past two years to re-emerge. But that's just my opinion. What's yours? Are we better off now, or have all of these reforms and activities simply been window dressings to appease politicians and the public? Let us know – reply to editor@accountingweb.com with your thoughts.

Michael Platt
AccountingWEB, Inc.

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THIS WEEK'S NEWS
  1. Big Four Firms Express Their Support of the FASB to Congress

On Wednesday, PricewaterhouseCoopers, along with the other "Big Four" accounting firms sent a joint letter to members of Congress regarding the independence of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The joint letter expresses the firms' views that Congress should preserve the independence of the FASB and avoid legislation that would have the effect of restricting the FASB's ability to establish accounting standards.

  1. Who Deserves a (Tax) Break Today?

What do adoptive parents, historic barn restorers and food bank supporters have in common? They're all eligible for tax credits in certain states. Tax credits are not new — they've been around for generations — but experts say these types of socially oriented tax credits are growing in popularity.

  1. Civil Case Tossed out in KPMG Tax Shelter Case

A federal district judge in Orlando, FL, dismissed a high-profile case brought by a disgruntled client who charged KPMG had fraudulently convinced him to buy an unsafe income-tax shelter. "We are gratified by the court's decision granting our application to dismiss the suit and ordering Mr. Jacoboni to pay our costs," KPMG said in a statement.

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  1. E-filing Jumps 10 Percent, Child Tax Credit Errors Increase

The IRS announced last week that electronic filing continued to show a strong increase, with e-filed tax returns running more than 10 percent ahead of last year. The IRS also reminded taxpayers to double-check their Child Tax Credit before filing. So far, the IRS has corrected more than 1.3 million returns this year because of errors related to the Child Tax Credit.

  1. Companies Rush to Clean up Old Mistakes, Internal Audits Get Tough

U.S. companies are hurriedly correcting financial statements and restating earnings in a "get-tough" regulatory environment that shows no signs of letting up. As the SEC takes a more critical look at how public companies come up with their numbers, accounting experts say that internal auditors are getting tougher, too.

  1. UCLA Rattles Accounting Students with Program Changes

Acknowledging the changing times confronting the accounting profession, UCLA has made some controversial changes to its accounting minor requirements, forcing some students to attend summer school so they can finish on time. "We haven't been fulfilling our mission, which is to produce CPAs," said David Aboody, area chair and associate professor.

MORE HEADLINES...

  1. KPMG's Independence Questioned by States in WorldCom Bankruptcy
  2. College 529 Plans under Scrutiny, Fees Paid May Offset Tax Benefits
  3. Martha's Case Serves up a New Batch of Lessons
  4. Bank of America to Pay $375M, Exit Mutual Fund Business
  5. Enron Bankruptcy Update: Final Costs Were on Target

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  1. Training is an Investment, Not an Expense
  2. Keeping the Sale Going to Closure
  3. Don't Let Your Best Employees Jump Ship, What You Can Do
  4. How to Handle Difficult People
  5. Don't Wait for Tax Time to Look at the Bottom Line
  6. "Power Napping," Relaxation Tips and Desk Top Yoga for Tax Season!

IRS TAX TIPS
  1. Alternative Minimum Tax
  2. Retirement Savings Contributions Credit
  3. Education Credits Can Help at Tax Time

HOT TOPICS ON ACCOUNTINGWEB

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  1. Companies Failing to Address Retention of E-mail, E-Documents
  2. Small Businesses Ripe for Insurance Fraud: What You Need to Know
  3. Board Approves Internal Control Rule, Confirms Registration Deadline
  4. CPA Claims Ties to Italian Royalty as Part of $45M Fraud

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