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    1. Dynamic Tension in the Tax World

      Dynamic Tension in the Tax World

      What do the Senate hearings on offshore profit shifting and a Supreme Court case decided on May 20, 2013 have in common? They both are generated by our system of taxing U.S. companies on their worldwide income, and they both are the result of the companies meeting their obligations to their shareholders, which is to legally minimize the amount of taxes they pay. In the Senate hearings, Apple bore the brunt of the outrage expressed by Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who de

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    2. IRS Warns Taxpayers with Foreign Assets of Filing Obligations

      IRS Warns Taxpayers with Foreign Assets of Filing Obligations

      The Internal Revenue Service issued a reminder Thursday to U.S. citizens and resident aliens, in addition to dual citizens, that their tax-filing deadline is approaching. The warning included those with dual citizenship who have lived or worked abroad during all or part of 2012. The IRS said they may have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement in 2013. The filing deadline is Monday, June 17, 2013, for U.S. citizens and resident aliens living overseas, or serving in the military outside th

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    3. CFOs Lower Hiring Projections

      CFOs Lower Hiring Projections

      CFOs have lowered their projections for hiring and are increasingly concerned about health care reform and the fate of the Eurozone, according to a new survey. The survey, by Financial Executives International and Baruch College, found 54 percent of U.S. CFOs plan to hire in the next six months, a statistically significant decline from the 63 percent who were hiring last quarter. Fifty-nine percent of European CFOs do not plan to hire additional employees within the next six months, compared to

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    4. Supreme Court Says U.K. Windfall Tax Creditable

      Supreme Court Says U.K. Windfall Tax Creditable

      The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has held that a one-time U.K. windfall tax paid by the subsidiary of a U.S. corporation is creditable against U.S. income tax. The case, PPL Corporation et al. v. Commissioner, U.S. No. 12-43, was decided by the court on May 20, 2013. Because the U.S. taxes its citizens, including corporations, on a worldwide basis, the Tax Code generally allows a deduction from gross income or a credit in the amount of foreign tax paid. During the period between 1984

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    5. SEC Adopts 2013 U.S. GAAP Taxonomy

      SEC Adopts 2013 U.S. GAAP Taxonomy

      The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted that latest update to the U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy for filing financial statements using Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL. The Financial Accounting Foundation and the Financial Accounting Standards Board are responsible for ongoing maintenance of the taxonomy for public issuers that are registered with the SEC. The U.S. GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy contains updates for accounting standards and other improvements

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    6. FASB, IASB Propose Major Changes to Lease Accounting

      FASB, IASB Propose Major Changes to Lease Accounting

      The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have released for comment a revised exposure draft proposing significant changes to the standards for accounting for leases. The new Proposed Accounting Standards Update, Leases (Topic 842) — A revision of the 2010 Proposed FASB Accounting Standards Update, Leases (Topic 840), would create a new approach to lease accounting that would remove the old distinction between operating and capital leases, and requ

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    7. CFOs More Confident in Economy

      CFOs More Confident in Economy

      Chief financial offers have grown significantly more confident in the U.S. economy over the past year, according to the 2013 Spring CFO Survey from Grant Thornton, which found that almost half (45 percent) of respondents believe it will improve during the next six months. This optimism from the 1,259 polled CFOs and comptrollers was up from 31 percent in the fall, 25 percent last summer, and was evident in other survey findings. Forty-four percent of respondents predicted industry prospects will

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    8. Internet Sales Tax Bill Would Tax Digital Goods

      Internet Sales Tax Bill Would Tax Digital Goods

      The Marketplace Fairness Act, which the Senate passed last week, would require e-commerce vendors to collect sales taxes not only on physical items, but also on digital goods such as ebooks and music downloads. Even if the online merchants are not based in states that impose sales taxes, they would still be required to collect sales taxes from customers who live in states and localities that do levy sales taxes on their residents, assuming they meet the $1 million threshold in sales (see Senate

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    9. Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Costs on the Rise

      Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Costs on the Rise

      Compliance costs for Sarbanes-Oxley and external audit fees both increased last year, according to a new survey, but for most organizations the cost of SOX compliance remains at a manageable level. The survey, by the consulting firm Protiviti, examined the impact of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 as the law enters its second decade. More than one-third of the companies surveyed (38 percent) reported a year-over-year increase from 2011 to 2012 in SOX costs. Nearly half of the companies surveyed (

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    10. AICPA Wants IRS to Re-evaluate Home Office Deduction Safe Harbor Proposal

      The American Institute of CPAs has sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service asking the IRS to re-evaluate some of its proposals for a safe harbor method for the home office deduction, even though the AICPA acknowledged that the method would be simpler for taxpayers to use. The IRS proposed a simplified way for small business owners and home-based employees to claim the home office tax deduction in January (see IRS Offers Simpler Option for Calculating Home Office Deduction). The proposals,

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    11. IRS Changes Tax-Filing Requirements for Large Corporations and Partnerships

      IRS Changes Tax-Filing Requirements for Large Corporations and Partnerships

      The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that it will be making changes to the filing requirements for corporate and partnership taxpayers with assets of between $10 million and $50 million in an effort to lighten the burden. The changes pertain to the Schedule M-3 filing requirement for taxpayers with assets between $10 million to $50 million for Forms 1120, 1120-C, 1120-F, 1120S, 1065 and 1065-B. These business taxpayers will be permitted to file Schedule M-1 in place of the Schedule M-3 Parts

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    12. Divorced Parents with Children Face Complex Tax Choices

      Divorced Parents with Children Face Complex Tax Choices

      There is sometimes a disconnect in the handling of dependency exemptions and related tax credits between what courts advise a taxpayer to do and what the Tax Code actually permits. This can be a source of inequity to taxpayers, particularly in the case of divorced parents. These problems commonly surface when determining who is entitled to take the dependency exemption, the child and dependent care credit, the child tax credit, the earned income credit, and head-of-household filing status, noted

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    13. Taxing Times for the Restaurant Industry

      Taxing Times for the Restaurant Industry

      It seems our office always has a food service examination or appeal on our calendar or docket. This could be a regional issue, but there appear to be a flurry of IRS examinations of restaurants, and sales/meals tax examinations happening at the state level. As many tax preparers and representatives know, the IRS doesn’t reveal how a tax return is selected for examination. They simply refer to the mystical Discriminatory Inventory Function, or DIF, score, as the culprit. This practitioner thinks

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    14. Council Proposes Accounting Standards Modifications for Private Companies

      Council Proposes Accounting Standards Modifications for Private Companies

      The Private Company Council voted Tuesday to move forward with proposed alternatives within U.S. GAAP to improve financial reporting for private companies. The PCC’s approved exposure of the proposals is the first step in a process toward endorsement by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. In its third public meeting, the PCC made tentative decisions in the areas of providing private companies with relief from separately recognizing certain intangible assets acquired in a business combinati

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    15. Audit Committees Worldwide Confront Similar Challenges

      Audit Committees Worldwide Confront Similar Challenges

      The U.S.-based Center for Audit Quality has teamed up with two organizations in Europe and Australia on a new report that highlights the similar issues facing audit committees around the world. The new report, Global Observations on the Role of the Audit Committee, discusses some of the common challenges identified during a multi-continent discussion series on enhancing public company audit committee effectiveness, including the role of the audit committee and the scope of its responsibilities,

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    16. Employers Seek Nonaccounting Skills in Accountants

      Employers Seek Nonaccounting Skills in Accountants

      CFOs who are hiring accounting and finance staff are looking beyond accounting skills, according to a new survey. The survey, by the staffing company Accountemps, found that 33 percent of the 2,100 CFOs polled said they value general business knowledge most. Twenty-five percent of the survey respondents are looking for expertise in information technology. Fourteen percent of the CFOS said they value communication skills, 13 percent prefer leadership abilities, another 13 percent favor customer s

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    17. IRS Adjusts Deduction Limits for Health Savings Accounts

      IRS Adjusts Deduction Limits for Health Savings Accounts

      The Internal Revenue Service has changed the inflation-adjusted annual limitation for health savings accounts for next year. Revenue Procedure 2013-15, released Thursday by the IRS, provides the 2014 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts. The annual limitation on deductions under Section 223(b)(2)(A) of the Tax Code for an individual with self-only coverage under a high-deductible health insurance plan is $3,300. For calendar year 2014, the annual limitation on deductions under

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    18. IRS Proposed Health Care Reform Regs Could Discourage Wellness Programs

      IRS Proposed Health Care Reform Regs Could Discourage Wellness Programs

      The IRS has released proposed regulations on the minimum value of eligible health care plans in terms of the health insurance premium tax credit, and the proposed rules could mean that many employers won’t be able to include their wellness programs within the minimum coverage requirements. Under the proposed rules, only anti-smoking wellness programs would qualify for meeting the minimum coverage requirements that allow employers to avoid paying an excise tax penalty. According to Reuters, labor

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    19. FASB to Ease in New Revenue Recognition Standards

      FASB to Ease in New Revenue Recognition Standards

      The Securities and Exchange Commission is encouraging the Financial Accounting Standards Board to give accountants a long transition period to adjust to the upcoming revenue recognition standards. Paul Beswick, chief accountant in the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant, said at Baruch College’s Financial Reporting Conference in New York on Thursday that an implementation group and long transition period are needed for the new standards. FASB chair Leslie Seidman, who spoke alongside Beswick, s

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    20. Retirement Plans Rebound at Small Businesses

      Retirement Plans Rebound at Small Businesses

      Balances in small business retirement plans have increased an average of 20 percent between 2007 and 2012 in the aftermath of the recession. A new analysis by Fidelity Investments examined more than 200,000 small business accounts over a six-year period that used either a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP-IRA), Self-Employed 401(k) or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE-IRA) with Fidelity. These plans are generally used by businesses with 10 or less employees and offer various

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    21. IRS Plans to Reduce Corporate Audits

      IRS Plans to Reduce Corporate Audits

      The Internal Revenue Service is planning an 18 percent reduction in its audits of large businesses in the current fiscal year, according to a new report. The report, from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, is based on an IRS planning document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The IRS document also projects a 14 percent drop for the year ending September 30 in the available time for the specialized revenue agents required to conduct such audits compared

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    22. Financial Institutions Try to Control Identity Theft-Related Tax Fraud

      Financial Institutions Try to Control Identity Theft-Related Tax Fraud

      Banks and other financial institutions are beginning to work more closely with the Internal Revenue Service and law enforcement authorities on safeguarding taxpayers from identity thieves who steal tax refunds. The problem has become more prevalent in recent years, according to Ben Knieff, director of global fraud product marketing at fraud prevention software provider NICE Actimize. “Four or five years ago it was not particularly prevalent,” he said in a phone interview last week. “We’ve seen q

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