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Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: CFOs Tend to Depart Their Posts for Pastures New

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Jun 15th 2015
Staff Writer and Editor AccountingWEB
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Week ahead: House poised to repeal Obamacare tax
The House is scheduled to vote this week on a bill that would repeal Obamacare’s much-maligned medical device tax, wrote Peter Sullivan of The Hill. The bill, which has 41 Democratic co-sponsors, would repeal the law’s 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers, a provision that has drawn the ire of members who say it impedes innovation. The bill passed the House Ways and Means Committee at the beginning of June. The device tax repeal passed on a mostly party-line vote, with Democrats objecting that the $26 billion cost of repealing the tax was not paid for.

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Study: CFO departures often involve career moves
While CEOs are most likely to jump ship due to a merger, CFOs tend to depart in search of a brass ring, wrote Maxwell Murphy of the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal. There were 1,147 CFO departures at 1,013 companies last year, representing just under 14 percent of the 7,332 businesses studied by data and research firm Audit Analytics. The number of departures peaked in 2008, during the recession, when more than 16 percent of the 9,456 studied companies reported a departure. Most companies don’t disclose a clear reason behind an executive’s departure. That said, of the roughly 290 that did disclose a clear reason last year, 90 of them said their CFOs left for another opportunity – rather than having been fired, for instance. Another 29 said they left to “pursue other interests.” Just one CFO was fired for cause while one other left over a disagreement with management or corporate policies.

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Wyden bill would cut taxes for craft beer, wine
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) held a roundtable in his home state on Sunday to promote legislation that would cut taxes and ease regulations, wrote Abby Spegman of the Bend Bulletin. The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was introduced in the Senate last week with the backing of trade groups. In Oregon, craft brewers, vintners, cider makers, and distillers are responsible for about 40,000 jobs and $6 billion in annual revenue, according to Wyden’s office. Wyden’s legislation would cut the federal excise tax rate in half to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually. It also would expand tax credits for domestic wineries and reduce restrictions on alcohol and carbonation content for cider makers. Next, the bill heads to the Senate Finance Committee, where Wyden is the ranking Democrat. He is also co-chairman of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus.

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Congress poised to renew battle over online sales tax legislation
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is preparing to introduce online sales tax legislation on Monday that would expand the power of states to collect taxes from purchases made from out-of-state Internet vendors, such as eBay, wrote Dustin Volz of the National Journal. The legislation, dubbed the Remote Transaction Parity Act, builds on a long-stalled Senate measure that has failed to gain traction in the House – and it's being touted by some of its retail supporters as a “thread-the-needle compromise” that could address lingering concerns raised by tax-phobic conservatives. But it's not clear that Chaffetz's proposal will be acceptable to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), a key player in Congress's enduring fight over Internet taxes. Goodlatte instead has favored more limited online sales tax legislation, expressing concern about the complexity of a bill that could force Internet vendors to comply with the tax codes of several states and localities.

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SEC’s Stein sees dangerous cracks in laws for mutual funds, ETFs
The rise of complex mutual and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has exposed weaknesses in the outdated regulatory regime for the sector and could be putting retail investors at risk, a top official with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Monday, wrote Sarah N. Lynch of Reuters. “I am concerned that we are starting to see some cracks in the foundation,” SEC Democratic member Kara Stein said at a Brookings Institution event. At issue, she said, are mutual funds and exchange-traded products that utilize large amounts of leverage, invest in illiquid securities, or execute strategies similar to those used by hedge funds. Although there are rules on the books to limit these activities, Stein said she is concerned too many funds have been able to avoid some of these restrictions, in some cases by relying on exemptions granted by SEC staff. SEC Chair Mary Jo White last year outlined a series of reforms she plans to enact, including imposing new risk controls on mutual funds and ETFs.

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IRS technical guidance roundup (week of June 8)
The IRS issued the following technical guidance last week:

Revenue Procedure 2015-36 modifies Rev. Proc. 2011-49 by expanding the scope of the preapproved program to include defined benefit plans containing cash balance features and defined contribution plans containing employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) features and extends the deadline for submitting on-cycle applications for opinion and advisory letters for preapproved defined benefit plans to Oct. 30, 2015. In addition, this revenue procedure updates Rev. Proc. 2011-49 to reflect changes made to the determination letter program in 2012. Rev. Proc. 2011-49 is superseded.

Notice 2015-45 publishes the reference price under § 45K(d)(2)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code for calendar year 2014. The reference price applies in determining the amount of the enhanced oil recovery credit under § 43, the marginal well production credit under § 45I, and the percentage depletion in case of oil and natural gas produced from marginal properties under § 613A.

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With Apologies to Dear Amy: Tax Advice for Couples with Marital Problems – Part 3
Did you recently file for divorce? Find out if a tax break is available for legal fees in this final Q&A installment.

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IRS: No Changes in Interest Rates for Q3 of 2015
The interest rates announced on June 4 are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during April to take effect May 1, based on daily compounding.

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Study: Two-Tier Wage Setup Isn’t More Profitable for Companies
As more firms hire lower-wage workers, the type of employment contract used and its effect on profits come into question.

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Portability of the Unified Tax Credit
During a session at the AICPA Practitioners Symposium and TECH+ Conference on June 8, CPA Barry Picker gave an overview of the unified credit and five examples.

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