Accounting News Roundup: Estate Taxes, Accounting Fraud, and Insider Trading | 09.29.17

By | September 29, 2017

Estate taxes

Perhaps this will sound like a repeat of yesterday, but the Trump Administration’s tax reform plan is more of an illogical tax policy term paper. USC Professor Edward Kleinbard called it a “deficit-busting mess.” PolitifFact said Trump’s claims about ending the estate tax are a “Pants on Fire” level falsehood. This particular proposal stands to overwhelmingly benefit the most wealthy, including Trump himself, despite his claims to the contrary.

Though it would not be reflected on his income tax return, Mr. Trump’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax would generate the largest tax savings. If his assets — reportedly valued at $2.86 billion — were transferred after his death under today’s rules, his estate would be taxed at about 40 percent. Repealing the federal estate tax could save his family about $1.1 billion, though it could still be subject to New York estate taxes.

“I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit. In fact, very, very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth.” Cue Costanza.

SEC enforcement

Improper revenue recognition seems to have been a thing at Alere, Inc. The Massachusetts-based medical device manufacturer agreed to pay $13 million to settle “that it committed accounting fraud through its subsidiaries to meet revenue targets and made improper payments to foreign officials to increase sales in certain countries.”

Accountants behaving badly

Oh, look another accountant in trouble with the SEC for insider trading:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has obtained a final judgment against the former chief financial officer of a technology company and certified public accountant, who was charged, along with his son, with conducting a serial insider trading scheme involving tips of key nonpublic information in coded e-mail messages disguised as discussions about golf.

This particular case is over two years old, and its circumstances have been well documented, but in short: it stars Robert Stewart, who traded on merger info his son gave him, using the aforementioned golf code. The thing is, he was really careful about this trading. Too bad the trader he tipped flipped and recorded some incriminating conversations. So, A for effort, but also, D for disgorgement, E for enjoinment, F for forfeiture, etc.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote a poem for #AuditorProud day.

Megan Lewczyk provided more official coverage of the #AuditorProud Threequel.

In Open Items, a techy accountant is at a career crossroads.

In other news:

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Image: Lasse Fuss/Wikimedia Commons