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lunch beat

Bramwell's Lunch Beat: SEC Vacancy, Pension Buyouts, Keurig’s Tax Move

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Sep 8th 2015
Staff Writer and Editor AccountingWEB
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SEC member Daniel Gallagher to leave agency next month
US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) member Daniel Gallagher said on Sept. 4 he will leave the agency next month, after nearly four years on the job and four months after he told the White House he planned to step down, wrote Andrew Ackerman of the Wall Street Journal. Gallagher, a Republican member of the top US markets regulator, in a statement set a firm date for his exit: Oct. 2. The announcement comes months after Gallagher had said he planned to leave the SEC but would wait until a successor is confirmed by the Senate. In the interim, Gallagher has grown frustrated by White House delays in nominating his replacement, according to sources. “Over the succeeding months, the need to bring greater clarity to my tenure has steadily grown,” Gallagher said. He said he would leave Oct. 2 unless a successor is nominated and confirmed before then, a process that will likely take several months.

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Tax policies spur companies to offer pension buyouts
Emily Chasan and Kristin Lin of CFO Journal wrote that more companies are preparing to offer lump-sum pension buyouts to their former employees, taking advantage of tax policies that make it possible to reduce their pension obligations and lower their costs. These companies, including Newell Rubbermaid Inc. and E.W. Scripps Co., are eager to take advantage of a decision by the IRS to continue using its current life-expectancy calculations, which will make it cheaper for them to offer pension buyouts before 2017, when the IRS is likely to adopt new, longer lifespan estimates. Newell Rubbermaid said in August that it plans to offer 3,300 former employees a lump-sum pension buyout to “reduce the size” of its pension obligation and related expenses – its second lump-sum offer in two years. The offer is equivalent to about $120 million of its total $1.73 billion pension liability.

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Tax exemption may be key to move of Keurig's coffee buying to Switzerland
Luc Cohen of Reuters wrote that when Keurig Green Mountain Inc. said last December it was shifting its coffee-buying operation to Lausanne in Switzerland from its headquarters in Waterbury, Vermont, it said the move would establish the company as a “global beverage player.” But the seller of brewing machines and single-serve coffee pods said nothing about a little-known exemption in the US tax code that for many years has benefited Starbucks Corp. and other US companies that trade in some commodities. Keurig is positioned to benefit from the 1970s-era exemption for commodities trading. By moving coffee buying, Keurig can also shift some income to Lausanne, where the tax rate is less than 10 percent. In Vermont, it faces a US federal corporate income tax rate of up to 35 percent, and a state tax rate of up to 8.5 percent. Keurig's overall effective tax rate in the fiscal year to September 2014 was 35.4 percent.

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Toshiba vows revamp after loss in push to regain trust
Toshiba Corp. plans a “bold restructuring” of the industrial group as President Masashi Muromachi seeks to regain investor trust after posting an annual loss and restating six years' worth of earnings, wrote Takashi Amano and Grace Huang of Bloomberg. The net loss was 37.8 billion yen ($317 million) in the 12 months ended March, the company said Monday while also adjusting annual results back to fiscal year 2008. Nomura Holdings Inc. resumed coverage for the first time since withdrawing ratings in May, when the company disclosed accounting problems. Muromachi, appointed after his predecessor quit during the accounting scandal, repeated apologies to investors on Monday and said he will outline a revamp within the year. Accounting adjustments wiped out net income from businesses that span nuclear reactors, memory chips, and laptop computers, and prompted a complete board restructuring.

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Quick Links

  • How to perform high-quality EBP audits (Journal of Accountancy)
  • Baker Tilly partner talks about women taking leadership roles in accounting (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • Isle of Man, tax haven with tailless cats, becomes bitcoin hub (Bloomberg)
  • Ben Carson's economist seeks tax system overhaul (Bloomberg)
  • A sinking Christie throws tax line to boaters to buoy popularity (Bloomberg)
  • Krugman: Trump is ‘right' on taxes, economics (The Hill)
  • When Donald Trump talks higher taxes, does GOP listen? (Wall Street Journal)
  • Joe Biden: ‘Tax code's not fair' (ABC News Radio)
  • The key role of conservatives in taxing carbon (New York Times)
  • Amazon gets Illinois tax credits despite calls for review (Chicago Tribune)
  • Is it time to tax Harvard's endowment? (Slate)
  • Why is it so hard to find information on the sharing of taxpayer information? (Tax Analysts)
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