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Lunch beat

Bramwell’s Lunch Beat: Top Lessons CPAs Learned From Their Dads

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Jun 19th 2015
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House ignores veto threat and backs repeal of medical device tax
Maureen Groppe of the USA Today wrote that the House on Thursday easily backed repeal of a 2.3 percent tax on the medical device industry. But President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, which would add more than $24 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. With not all House members voting on Thursday, the chamber's 280-140 vote fell one vote shy of a veto-proof majority to repeal the tax, which helps pay for the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The chances the bill can win a veto-proof majority in the Senate are uncertain. The fees were designed to be a portion of the new profits industries would gain under the healthcare law from having more customers. But device makers argue that many of the newly insured are younger and healthier and, therefore, unlikely to need many of their products.

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CPAs share lessons from dads
With Father's Day approaching, the Journal of Accountancy asked CPAs around the country what their dads taught them and how that helped them in the profession – and life. Tommy Barie, chair of the American Institute of CPAs Board of Directors, said her dad “demonstrated that with hard work, integrity, determination, and treating people with respect, I could achieve anything. He also taught me to be a gracious winner and to learn from losses.” Tom Hood, executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs, said he was inspired to become a CPA by his father who was a Baltimore City Police officer. “He taught me to be humble, to treat all people well, and the power of a warm smile.”

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GOP's Rand Paul calls for 14.5% flat tax
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is pledging to “blow up the tax code and start over” with a federal flat tax of 14.5 percent, as he seeks to boost his support among conservatives in the Republican presidential field, wrote John D. McKinnon and Janet Hook of the Wall Street Journal. Paul said his plan would reduce the government's tax take by more than $2 trillion over 10 years, or at least 5 percent, based on congressional revenue estimates for 2016 to 2025. The plan would eliminate payroll taxes on workers, as well as gift and estate taxes and all duties and tariffs. His flat tax would apply to all personal income, including wages, salaries, dividends, capital gains, rents, and interest. It would exempt the first $50,000 of income for a family of four. For businesses, Paul would adopt the same 14.5 percent rate. The plan would also eliminate many deductions but preserve two widely used ones, for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. It would also retain the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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Rand Paul's tax plan would blow a $15 trillion hole in the federal budget
A preliminary analysis of Rand Paul's flat tax plan by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that the senator's proposal would likely cost $1.2 trillion a year and $15 trillion over a decade, Bob McIntyre, CTJ's director, wrote for Tax Justice Blog. “It should go without saying that given the fiscal challenges facing America – and given the chronic deficits Congress and the president have authorized in recent years – the most sensible first step toward sustainable tax reform should be to raise more revenue,” McIntyre wrote. “But it seems very likely that Paul's plan would blow a trillion-dollar hole in the federal budget each year. That's the furthest thing from a sustainable tax plan.”

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Judge sides with Microsoft in IRS case
A federal judge allowed Microsoft's lawsuit against the IRS to move forward this week, as the technology giant and the tax agency battle over an ongoing audit, wrote Bernie Becker of The Hill. District Judge Ricardo Martinez granted Microsoft's request for an evidentiary hearing, saying the company had raised sufficient questions about the IRS's hiring of an outside law firm to help with the audit. The IRS awarded Quinn Emanuel a $2.2 million contract to help the agency audit Microsoft's offshore dealings and holdings. The agency also released a temporary regulation to allow itself to hire an outside firm to take testimony for audits, after securing Quinn Emanuel's assistance. Microsoft objected to the IRS's use of a private firm to handle government functions, an objection also raised by Republicans like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).

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IASB consults on pension accounting changes
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is seeking public comment on narrow-scope clarifying amendments to its pension accounting requirements, wrote Julia Irvine of Economia. The amendments focus on two aspects of the requirements: availability of a refund from a defined benefit plan and re-measurement on a plan amendment, curtailment, or settlement. On refunds, the exposure draft considers whether the power of other parties, such as pension trustees, to enhance benefits for plan members or wind up a plan affects the availability of a refund of a surplus to the entity. On re-measurement, the proposed amendments specify that the entity is required to use the updated information to determine current service cost and net interest for the period followed by these changes. The deadline for comments is Oct. 19.

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