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    1. Owe Back Taxes? Lose Your Passport

      Owe Back Taxes? Lose Your Passport

      (Bloomberg) The roughly 8 million Americans who live abroad automatically get a couple additional months each year to file their taxes. Don’t expect them to be grateful. Filing to the Internal Revenue Service from overseas is more confusing, complicated and expensive than it is for Americans at home (and that's saying something). Unlike almost every other country in the world, the U.S. demands its citizens pay taxes on all foreign income.

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    2. IRS Initiates Tax Design Competition

      IRS Initiates Tax Design Competition

      The Internal Revenue Service is offering up to $10,000 to the winner of a new competition to make its online tax information more understandable to taxpayers. The IRS issued a notice Tuesday outlining the requirements and procedures for the Tax Design Challenge, a crowdsourcing competition with cash prizes that the IRS is hosting to begin reimagining the taxpayer experience of the future.

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    3. AICPA Works on Combating Tax Refund Fraud

      AICPA Works on Combating Tax Refund Fraud

      With a 400 percent surge in reported phone and email phishing and malware schemes this tax season, the American Institute of CPAs is working with Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and its members to combat tax-related identity theft and tax return fraud. AICPA tax experts Cari Weston and Melanie Lauridsen explained Wednesday during a press conference call what taxpayers can do to protect themselves from these schemes. “ID theft is rampant,” said Lauridsen.

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    4. IRS Warns of Surge in Phishing and Malware Schemes Targeting Preparers and Taxpayers

      The Internal Revenue Service warned Thursday it has seen a fourfold surge this tax season in email phishing and malware incidents, targeting consumers and the tax industry. The IRS noted the emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking they are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics.

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    5. PwC Predicts More Spending than Ever on the Super Bowl

      PricewaterhouseCoopers is forecasting that direct spending on the Super Bowl will reach a new high this year, as fans generate over $220 million in direct spending in the San Francisco Bay area. PwC US is factoring in direct spending by the National Football League, businesses, visitors, and media on lodgings, transportation, food and beverage, entertainment, business services, and other hospitality and tourism activities in the Bay Area.

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    6. ADP Sees Wage Drop for Workers Who Switch from Part-Time to Full-Time

      ADP Sees Wage Drop for Workers Who Switch from Part-Time to Full-Time

      Workers who switched jobs to go from part-time to full-time employment experienced a decline in average hourly earnings in most industries in the fourth quarter, according to a new report from payroll giant ADP. ADP’s Workforce Vitality Report found that overall wage growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 2.1 percent. For full-time workers, wage growth was 4.1 percent for those who held onto their jobs and 4.7 percent for full-time workers who switched jobs.

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    7. Obama Seeks to Expand 401(k) Use by Employers Pooling Plans

      (Bloomberg) President Barack Obama will propose allowing small businesses to more easily pool 401(k) plans, in the hope that more Americans will adopt a crucial tool to save for retirement. The proposal, to be included in his 2017 budget, represents Obama’s latest attempt to leverage an issue with some Republican support to both tick off an item on his agenda—longstanding concerns about Americans’ retirement security—and influence the campaign to succeed him.

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    8. AICPA Takes on IRS and Expands Internationally

      American Institute of CPAs president and CEO Barry Melancon said the AICPA is pushing the Internal Revenue Service to improve its services for both taxpayers and CPAs while preparing to become a more international organization. During a wide-ranging speech Tuesday in New York at a meeting of the Accountants Club of America, Melancon gave an update on the AICPA and the future of the profession.

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    9. New Yorkers pay highest state-local tax in US, report finds

      New Yorkers pay highest state-local tax in US, report finds

      12.7 percent of all income in New York went towards state and local taxes in 2012, according to the annual State-Local Tax Burden Rankings released on Wednesday by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. The report highlights the state-local tax burden in each of the country's 50 states, detailing how much residents pay to their state and other states, and illustrates tax burden trends over time and within each state.

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    10. Inspector General on High Alert for Tax Scams

      The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is urging taxpayers and practitioners to be on “high alert” about a massive telephone fraud scam being committed by criminals impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees. TIGTA also announced additional outreach efforts to prevent taxpayers from falling victim to criminals who pretend to be IRS and Treasury employees this filing season.

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    11. Most SMBs are Self-Financed

      The vast majority of small and midsize businesses are self-financed by their owners, according to a new survey. The survey, by BlueVine, an online provider of working capital for small businesses, found that only 15 percent of SMBs use bank loans. Based on a survey of 692 SMB owners in various industries throughout the U.S., BlueVine found that 83 percent of SMB owners have bootstrapped their companies and built them using their own personal finances.

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    12. PCC Wants to Remove Effective Dates for New Accounting Standards

      PCC Wants to Remove Effective Dates for New Accounting Standards

      The Private Company Council is calling for the removal of the effective dates of four accounting standards updates. At a meeting last Friday, the members of the PCC reached a final consensus asking the Financial Accounting Standards Board to remove the effective dates for the following four accounting standards updates: • ASU No. 2014-02, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Topic 350) • ASU No. 2014-03, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815) • ASU No.

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    13. U.S. Added 211,000 Jobs in November, Including 11,000 in Accounting

      U.S. Added 211,000 Jobs in November, Including 11,000 in Accounting

      The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added a robust 211,000 jobs last month, beating analyst expectations and increasing the odds of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. The professional and technical services sector added 28,000 jobs in November, including 11,000 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping services, which added 11,000 jobs.

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    14. Year-End Tax Tips for Businesses

      The National Society of Accountants is offering some year-end tax tips for businesses, courtesy of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting US. Consider several general strategies, such as use of traditional timing techniques for income and deductions and the role of the tax extenders, as well as strategies targeted to your particular business. As in past years, planning is uncertain because of the Affordable Care Act and the expiration of many popular but temporary tax breaks.

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    15. Year-End Tax Tips for Individuals

      The National Society of Accountants has released some suggested year-end tax tips for individuals, courtesy of Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting US. Individual income tax rates of 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35 and 39.6 percent remain in place for filing next April. (The more you made, the greater your percentage. ) The standard deduction for 2016 income will stay the same: $6,300 if you file your taxes using the status single or married filing separately.

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    16. Case Studies: Client Accounting Services

      Case Studies: Client Accounting Services

      Of all the professional developments made possible by the Internet, the ability to interact with your clients and their systems in real time, no matter where you are, has to offer some of the greatest opportunities for accountants. This power has led to new forms of outsourced CFO and client accounting services, with firms leveraging the speed and constant integration of cloud-based accounting platforms to help clients run their businesses better.

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    17. Most Companies Unprepared for Revenue Recognition Standard

      The vast majority of companies are not prepared for the major changes in accounting and business operations required by the new revenue recognition standard, according to a new survey. The survey, by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, found that 78 percent of the financial executives polled said their companies have not yet attempted to even quantify the financial statement impact of the new revenue recognition standard.

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