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    1. FASB's clarification of the definition of a business has wide implications | Accounting Today

      A recent accounting standards update helps entities evaluate whether transactions should be accounted for as acquisitions or disposals of assets or as businesses. The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s Accounting Standards Update 2017-01 “Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business,” states that a business has the following: 2. Processes applied to those inputs; and 3.

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    2. IRS eases retirement plan loans and distributions to Hurricane Irma victims | Accounting Today

      The Internal Revenue Service streamlined the rules Tuesday to make it easier for 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans to make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Irma and members of their families. The relief is similar to relief provided recently to victims of Hurricane Harvey. The IRS is also providing tax-filing and payment relief to Irma victims (see IRS offers tax filing relief to Hurricane Irma victims in Florida and Puerto Rico).

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    3. COSO released updated enterprise risk management framework | Accounting Today

      The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission released a long-awaited update Wednesday to its ERM Framework: Enterprise Risk Management–Integrating with Strategy and Performance, the first since 2004. The updated framework, developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers under the direction of the COSO board, aims to help organizations improve their approach to managing risk.

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    4. Companies shouldn't rush to adopt new hedge accounting standard | Accounting Today

      The Financial Accounting Standards Board released its long-awaited hedge accounting standard this week, but companies may want to be careful about adopting it early, or else they could miss out on some one-time benefits. The accounting standards update for hedging, which FASB issued Monday, allows companies takes effect for public companies in 2019 and private companies in 2020 (see FASB releases hedge accounting standard).

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    5. Groups weigh in with SEC on PCAOB audit report standard | Accounting Today

      Accounting and financial firms and business groups are sending comment letters to the Securities and Exchange Comment ahead of a deadline Friday for approving a new standard from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board on expanding the scope of audit reports. In June, the PCAOB voted to approve a new standard that would significantly change the auditor’s reporting model, adding a section discussing “critical audit matters” (see PCAOB makes major changes to auditor’s report).

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    6. IRS penalizes more taxpayers for underpayment of estimated taxes | Accounting Today

      The Internal Revenue Service has seen a surge in recent years of taxpayers underpaying their estimated taxes and paying the penalty for it. The number of taxpayers who were penalized increased nearly 40 percent from 7.2 million to 10 million filers between 2010 and 2015, according to IRS data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal, or nearly 33 percent from almost 7.5 million to nearly 10 million filers between fiscal years 2007 and 2016, according to a similar analysis by USA Today.

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    7. Lessons learned on the path toward revenue recognition implementation | Accounting Today

      We have less than 200 days to go until the 2018 effective date for public companies for the new revenue recognition standard, and many accounting and finance professionals are in high gear preparing their organizations and clients for the transition. With so much focus on implementation, I wanted to share some lessons learned from three companies that have either adopted or are well along in adopting the new revenue recognition standards.

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    8. Properly classifying workers remains a major problem | Accounting Today

      Worker misclassification is a perennial issue for the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities due to the perception that many employers are not properly classifying their workers. By avoiding labeling their workers as employees, employers also avoid paying minimum wages, overtime, payroll taxes, worker’s compensation, unemployment, Social Security contributions, health benefits, paid leave, 401(k) benefits and unpaid leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

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    9. IRS may be missing billions in taxes from employer underreporting | Accounting Today

      The Internal Revenue Service could be foregoing billions of dollars in potential taxes because tens of thousands of employers are underreporting the amount of their workers’ wages and withholding taxes, according to a new report. The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, examined the IRS’s Combined Annual Wage Reporting Program, which compares the employee wage and withholding information reported to the IRS on employment tax forms with the withholding documents filed by employers with the Social Security Administration. The CAWR Program aims to make sure employers report the correct amount of employment taxes and federal income ...

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    10. IRS union fights proposed budget cuts | Accounting Today

      The head of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents Internal Revenue Service employees, is asking Congress not to cut the IRS budget again. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government held a hearing Wednesday on the fiscal year 2018 Treasury Department budget. The administration’s budget calls for reducing IRS funding by another $260 million below the level enacted in fiscal 2017 and reducing overall IRS staffing by more than 4,200.

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    11. Tax Strategy: Partnership agreements need to reflect the new audit regime, now | Accounting Today

      With an estimated 1 million-plus partners under the U.S. tax system, the importance of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015’s controversial centralized partnership audit regime cannot be underplayed. Mandatory implementation of the new audit regime kicks off for audits of partnership tax years starting on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

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    12. As Sarbanes-Oxley nears 15-year anniversary, ethics fall short | Accounting Today

      The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was signed into law on July 30, 2002 and has led to vast changes in the accounting profession, although not necessarily in corporate ethics. A recent survey by Deloitte found that more than half (52.4 percent) of C-suite and other executives said global corporate ethical behavior has improved since the enactment of SOX. However, only 41.3 percent of execs said their organizations’ global ethics cultures are strong.

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    13. 10 lessons learned in implementing new revenue recognition guidance | Accounting Today

      The rules governing revenue recognition for public and private companies worldwide are changing dramatically starting Jan. 1, 2018. And several recent surveys show that most companies are unprepared. If you have not yet completed your implementation of the new standard — either ASC 606 or IFRS 15 — the following 10 lessons we have learned may help you get a jump start and utilize best practices that RGP, a finance and technology consultancy, and Zuora, which makes rev rec automation software, are seeing while helping companies transition to the new rules. 1. Just do it! Get started and keep up the momentum ...

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    14. Tax executives see tax reform as biggest challenge | Accounting Today

      An 85 percent majority of corporate tax executives perceive tax reform as the biggest challenge they’re facing in the months ahead, according to a new survey. The survey, by Bloomberg BNA, polled more than 250 corporate tax executives at public and private corporations around the country. Most of them perceive the overhaul of the federal tax code as their chief concern as they worry about the impact it will have on their companies.

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    15. AICPA drafts more revenue recognition guidance | Accounting Today

      The American Institute of CPAs’ Financial Reporting Executive Committee has released several more working drafts of industry-specific guidance related to various implementation issues involving the revenue recognition standard and is asking for feedback on them. The latest working drafts are aimed at the airlines, gaming, health care and telecommunications communications. The final versions will be incorporated in the AICPA’s Revenue Recognition Guide.

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    16. IIA revamps Audit Executive Center | Accounting Today

      The Institute of Internal Auditors has refreshed its online Audit Executive Center with new resources for chief audit executives at internal audit departments. Along with a variety of new content, including videos and guidance for chief audit executives, senior management and staff members, the AEC now offers an Audit Intelligence Suite, which provides benchmarking reports to measure the performance of the audit function, skills assessments to determine the proficiency of audit team members, and surveys to elicit feedback from stakeholders. In addition, the IIA has developed a Small Audit Function Resource Exchange for smaller audit departments. The IIA originally launched ...

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    17. Taxpayer Advocate recommends IRS dedicate more employees to taxpayer service | Accounting Today

      National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said in a report Wednesday the Internal Revenue Service ran a generally successful filing season this year, but it needs to assign more employees to taxpayer service instead of enforcement. In her midyear report to Congress, Olson, who heads the IRS’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, praised the IRS for reducing the prevalence of identity theft this past tax season.

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    18. The black box of accounting technology | Accounting Today

      To me, ease of use has always been the most important facet of technology. But these days, I’m conflicted. Should we know more about the underlying processes of our software? My first professional jobs, a long time ago, were in maintenance programming. That meant going into other peoples’ software code and making changes to add features or change the way the program worked. Of course, to do that, I first had to figure out what the program was actually doing before I started making changes.

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    19. When is it OK to throw out old tax documents? | Accounting Today

      After every tax season, it’s tempting to do some spring cleaning, which often includes a massive dump of recently filed tax data. While many firms have migrated to paperless records, many still grapple with the issue of tax record retention. One of the most confusing questions clients ask their accountants is: what do I do with my tax records and how long do I need to keep them?

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    20. GOP momentum builds to change rules for longer-lasting tax cuts | Accounting Today

      (Bloomberg) The push to change congressional budget rules and enact tax cuts for longer than 10 years even if they add to the deficit received more support Thursday as the top Senate tax writer endorsed it. “It would be better” if the existing 10-year budget window were extended, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch said in an interview. “The 10 years is problematic,” he said. “I would like to do that.” A leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said he’s open to the idea.

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    21. IRS sees new phone scam from fake certified letters | Accounting Today

      The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning Thursday cautioning taxpayers and tax professionals about a new scam revolving around the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, in which criminals are calling innocent taxpayers demanding they make an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. The IRS has been hearing reports about the scam around the country.

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    22. U.S. AGI rose in 2014, 2015, IRS reports | Accounting Today

      The average American’s adjusted gross income rose in both 2014 and 2015, according to the IRS. In its Spring 2017 Statistics of Income Bulletin, the IRS released data on increased average AGI of taxpayers for tax year 2014 and preliminary data on returns for tax year 2015, as well as AGI information. The Statistics of Income Division produces the online bulletin quarterly, providing recent data from various tax and information returns filed by U.S. taxpayers.

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    23. Preparing for FASB changes to revenue recognition and lease accounting | Accounting Today

      Companies should begin to plan now how to incorporate the new standards and update procedures for the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s accounting updates on two significant topics: revenue recognition and lease accounting. In 2014, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board issued a converged standard for revenue recognition to increase comparability across industries.

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