U.S. Senate

IRS Commish Reminds Senator That Hill Staffers Have Worse Tax Compliance Than IRS Employees

U.S. Senators are the type of narcissistic windbags who revel in the opportunity to scold bureaucrats. It gives them the opportunity to fabricate the appearance of being "tough" or "no-nonsense" or whatever on big government waste that irks their constituents. This is especially true when those bureaucrats work for a punching bag like the IRS.  For whatever […]

U.S. Senators with Harebrained Tax Reform Ideas Offered an Opportunity

The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), are telling skeptical lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by […]

Never Fear, The U.S. Senate Is Here! (To the Rescue Tax Preparer Regulations)

Earlier this year, a DC judge threw out the IRS' ability to regulate unlicensed preparers and then, in a bit of added insult, when another judge denied the agency's request to suspend the injunction. Anti-regulation types were happy; the IRS was sad. Despite the setback, you kind of knew that the Service wasn't going to […]

As Predicted, There’s a Battle Over Who Will Get Credit for the 1099 Repeal

The repeal of the 1099 provision in the healthcare reform law has been dogging Congress since the bill was signed into law last March. Because small businesses will no doubt lead the economic recovery, remove all the snow that has dumped on this great land and may just get the Egypt situation under control, every pol within a stone’s throw of the Potomac is trying to get their name on this thing. Nebraska’s Mike Johanns (R) and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D) seemed to have this locked up but as we surmised, other Democrats are trying to get in on some of this small business saving action.


The Hill’s On the Money blog has the latest:

Senate Republicans expressed some confusion and approval Wednesday that their push to repeal the unpopular 1099 provision from the healthcare law has been taken over by Democrats.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who has signed onto a bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that has the support of 61 lawmakers, proposed her own amendment that adds five words to the Johanns-Manchin repeal measure ensuring that no “unobligated funds” are used from the Social Security Administration.

So Senator Stabenow’s little maneuver has her nicely positioned to lay claim as a champion of all the Mom and Pop shops out there and shockingly, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is cool with it:

“It turns out Senator Johanns did such an outstanding job raising awareness about the 1099 requirement that Democrats took the idea and are now claiming it as their own,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “Which is fine with us. It’s not a bad precedent actually. We’ve got a lot of other good ideas that we’d be happy to share.”

While Senator McConnell sounds like he’s fine with Stabenow semi-jacking the bill, a staffer was less impressed:

“Dems went from putting it in the bill, to opposing the fix, to sponsoring a different fix, to sponsoring the Republican bill,” one senior Republican aide told The Hill.

Gotta love politics.

Senate Republicans express confusion over 1099 amendment [On the Money/The Hill]

How Will the Senate Screw Up the 1099 Repeal Bill This Time?

The upper chamber is making yet another run at repealing the 1099 requirement that was part of the healthcare overhaul despite miserable failures in the past.


The Hill reports that the new bill has 52 co-sponsors which lead you to believe that this time, repeal will be a cinch:

Senators reintroduced bills that would eliminate the 1099 requirement for businesses to report annual purchases of at least $600 from each vendor. Most Democrats, including the Obama administration, support repealing the provision, but lawmakers have clashed over how to offset the $19 billion in lost revenue.

A bill introduced Tuesday by Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) authorizes the Office of Management and Budget to identify unobligated federal funds to cover the cost of repeal.

“It’s a bad policy; it hurts businesses and it should be repealed, enough said,” Johanns said in a conference call with reporters.

The measure has 52 co-sponsors including 12 Democrats: Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Manchin, Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Mark Warner (Va.).

With such an overwhelming show of bipartisan support the only issue now is who will get the credit for saving small business as we know it?

Both parties have seized on the 1099 requirement to score political points. Republicans are posing repeal of 1099 as part of their promise to chip away at the reform law, while Democrats are touting it as a sign of their willingness to improve the current law.

Just for the sake of spiteful mischief, we’re hoping this goes nowhere (any and all theories on how they manage to do that are encouraged). Stay tuned!

Senators introduce bipartisan 1099 repeal bill [On the Money/The Hill]

(UPDATE 2) Bernie Sanders Didn’t Convince Too Many People (Pretty Much No One!)

~ Update includes clarification on vote tally and addition to first paragraph. ~ Update 2 includes finally vote tally.

Despite Friday’s epic speech by Bernie Sanders, the Senate passed elected to finish debate on the tax cut/unemployment compromise this afternoon to set up the final vote before it moves on to the House.


At 4:12 ET, the vote was 62-7 with Sanders, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Udall (D-NM) (CSPAN originally showed Tom as voting “no” and has now disappeared), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Kirsten Gillabrand (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) voting “no.”

If you’ve got nothing better to do, you can watch the live feed here.

UPDATE, circa 5:00: Vote is 73-10 with John Ensign (R-NV), Mark Udall (D-CO), Kay Hagan, (D-NC), Carl Levin (D-MI) voting “no.”

UPDATE 2, circa 6:30: Finally vote of 83-15.

Vastly Unpopular 1099 Requirement Survives Thanks to the Reliable Dysfunction of the U.S. Senate

Everyone’s favorite Two Minutes’ Hate from the healthcare reform legislation – the 1099 reporting requirement – managed to live to fight another day despite being as unpopular as the Democrats who originally got behind it (although don’t look at Nancy Pelosi).


As is the wont of Senate, this sliver of bipartisanship was foiled by…wait for it…politics:

The provision survived because of the complex politics of the Senate. Some lawmakers were reluctant to back repeal on Monday since the rule change would have been added to a popular food-safety law that is nearing approval, potentially jeopardizing its passage. In addition, dueling Democratic and Republican proposals allowed lawmakers to register their disapproval of the 1099 requirement whether the repeal passed or not.

In other words, everyone agrees that they hate this thing but they hate it in different ways. You see, it’s not enough to be against the 1099 requirement, it matters who gets the credit for being against so much that they actual introduced the proposal to do away with it.

Sigh. But it’s cool, the rule doesn’t actually go into effect until 2012, so blowing it off for another 12 months is totally an option. And a pretty realistic one, too.

Senators Cannot Agree on Fix to the Health Law [NYT via CPA Success]

Ron Johnson Would Like to Be the Second Accountant in the U.S. Senate

Because God knows 57 lawyers is far too many and Russ Feingold just happens to be one of them.


As you may be aware, this is the second relatively high-profile race where an accountant and lawyer face off that we’ve covered. In the South Carolina governor’s race tax-tardy accountant Nikki Haley is facing special-interest whore Vince Sheheen. We should also note the the Senate race in New York between incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand (lawyer) and Joseph DioGuardi (accountant) but so far it’s been fairly boring unless DioGuardi happens to make an issue out of Gillibrand’s hotness.

Anyhoo, similar to those two races, the ballot in Wisconsin will appear as follows:

Accountant (R)
Lawyer (D)

So as voters, when faced with such a choice, should we assume that the accountant running for office is family values type that believes in cutting taxes and reducing spending (with no intent to do so) and the lawyer is a spineless tax and spend type that fails to accomplish anything even when they have the political power or leverage?

Wisconsin is doomed.

U.S. Senate Continues to Successfully Bicker Over Tax Cuts

Dick Durbin is über-confident that nothing is going to happen prior to election day, which means he and his colleagues will have to sneak it in between then and December 31st when the cuts expire.

“The reality is we’re not going to pass” the tax cuts before the election,” said Durbin of Illinois. He blamed politics, saying “we are so tightly wound up in this campaign” that a bipartisan agreement to act won’t be reached.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said “it’s clear there aren’t 60 votes for any proposal, so no proposal is going to pass at this point.”

Sixty votes would be needed for a tax-cut extension to advance in the Senate.

Our concern is that some of Durbin’s friends in the Senate will be losers come November 2nd and may feel like sticking it to the entire country purely out of spite. It would be a mistake for anyone to overestimate the maturity level of any member of Congress.

Durbin Says Senate Won’t Pass Tax Cut Extension Before Election [Bloomberg]

Earlier:
Gerri Willis Doesn’t Care What A Couple of Old Men Think About Tax Cuts

Accounting News Roundup: How Secure is SaaS?; Highest Marginal Tax Rates by State Under Dem, GOP Plans; Familiar Rich People | 09.23.10

Blockbuster Files for Bankruptcy After Online Rivals Gain [Bloomberg]
“Blockbuster Inc., the world’s biggest movie-rental company, filed for bankruptcy after failing to adapt its storefront model to online technology pioneered by rivals such as Netflix Inc.

The company listed assets of $1.02 billion against debt of $1.46 billion on a Chapter 11 petition filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The company said it reached a deal with a group of bondholders on a plan of reorganization and secured a $125 million loan to finance operations.”

SaaS security: McAfee’s response [AccMan]
“One question that gets raised time and again: Is SaaS secure? The answer depends on with whom you speak. My take is that any vendor that cannot answer a set of well defined questions is probably not going to meet the minimum requirements for me to recommend a service.

Earlier today I attended a Salesforce.com presentation and among the speakers were Dell, Wells Fargo and McAfee. Both companies are deploying Salesforce and in particular its Chatter service to thousands of users. I put the question to Marc Benioff, CEO Salesforce: ‘How do you demonstrate to users that services such as yours are secure without going down technical rat holes?’ ”

Friended for $100 Million [WSJ]
“Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old founder and chief executive of Facebook Inc., plans to announce a donation of up to $100 million to the Newark schools this week, in a bold bid to improve one of the country’s worst performing public school systems.”

Senate Holds Hearing Today on Lessons from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 [TaxProf Blog]
“Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will convene a hearing [today] to examine the lessons from the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and look at ideas for tax reform that will make the code simpler and fairer, while helping American businesses compete in the global economy.”


Top Marginal Effective Tax Rates by State under Rival Tax Plans from Congressional Democrats and Republicans [Tax Foundation]
The big winner is Hawaii with California taking first runner-up.

The Richest People in America [Forbes]
The usual: Gates, Buffett, Ellison, a lot of Sam Walton offspring, a pair of Kochs and Hizzoner.

In Politics, Spite Will Forever Trump Progress

“It’s amazing to me how difficult it is to work together around here, even when we want to.”

~ Orrin Hatch (R-UT), referring to how the U.S. Senate managed to drag out the passing of the small-business bill.

The 1099 Party Is Still on for 2012

If the GOP took the “think of all the trees you’re killing” angle, maybe they could have convinced more Democrats to kill the 1099 free-for-all. Unfortunately, they stuck to the usual “red tape is un-American and stealing our freedom” narrative and it didn’t impress.

Senate Democrats defeated an attempt by Republicans to lift a tax-reporting requirement that small businesses face in a move that would have stripped away $17 billion earmarked to help pay for the sweeping health-care law.

In a 46-52 vote, the majority overcame an effort by Senate Republicans to scrap the reporting requirement which was inserted to the health-care legislation that was signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

The Republicans would have needed 60 ‘yes’ votes to be successful. Seven Democrats sided with the Republicans to support removing the requirement.

The Republican effort was led by Sen. Mike Johanns (R., Neb.), who has argued it is simply piling on unnecessary red tape on small-business owners at the same time as the federal government looks to them to lead the job-creation recovery.

The rule requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service payments to suppliers and service providers that exceed $600 in a single year. It is set to be implemented in 2012.

Senate Defeats GOP Bid to Lift Tax-Reporting Rule [WSJ]

Accounting News Roundup: PwC Chips in $12.5 Million for J.P. Morgan’s FSA Fine; IRS Not Returning to Austin Crash Site; Senate Working on Proposal to Scale Back 1099 Requirements | 08.09.10

PwC To Provide Up To $12.5M To JPMorgan For FSA Fine [Dow Jones]
“J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) disclosed in a regulatory filing Friday that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP agreed to provide up to an aggregate of $12.5 million to the bank related to a fine J.P. Morgan had to pay to the U.K. Financial Services Authority.”

Late Ponzi schemer’s accountant surrenders license [Nashville Business Journal]
This accountant managed to surrender his CPA in just under four months for his role in a Ponzi scheme. Dave Friehling had to be stripped of his license nearly 9 months after pleading guilty. NY DoE should get with Tennessee and see how they do things.

IRS to stay at new Austin site after plane crash [AP]
“An Internal Revenue Service office will not return to the Texas building where a tax protester killed himself by crashing his plane into the structure.

IRS spokeswoman Lea Crusberg said Thursday that the agency has signed a two-year lease on another office space in Austin. She declined to identify the location.”


Senate Democrats Propose Scaling Back IRS Reporting Law [WSJ]
“The Nelson proposal would exempt from the reporting rules firms with fewer than 25 employees. For larger businesses, it would require information returns only in cases where payments to a single vendor exceeded $5,000 in a given year—down from $600 in the health-care law.”

Richtermeyer to Chair Management Accountants [Web CPA]
“The Institute of Management Accountants has named accounting professor Sandra Richtermeyer as the chair of its board of directors for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Richtermeyer, who also chairs the Department of Accountancy in the Williams College of Business at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is only the fourth woman ever to hold the position of IMA chair since the organization’s inception in 1919.”

BKD looks to grow health care practice with purchase of Grant Thornton team [Wichita Business Journal (partial subscription required)]
According to the message sent from Stephen Chipman, that we reported on at the end of July, this is the final transition that Grant Thornton will be making. What happens from here is anyone’s guess.

The AICPA Goes to Bat for Small Business; Requests Repeal of Expanded 1099 Reporting

In these pages last week, we brought up the expanded 1099 reporting requirements that could possibly bury some small busineocumentation. The question remains, how big is this pile? Will it require a shovel to dig out of the pile of paper or a bulldozer?

Based on the AICPA’s letter to the U.S. Senate that made the rounds yesterday, it will require a team of angry Ohioans – all with their own dozer – to unbury small business owners.


Alan Einhorn, the Chair of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee wrote the letter and in extremely tactful terms, expresses his discontent, “[W]e believe section 9006 of the Act should be repealed because the provision imposes extremely burdensome information reporting requirements on business taxpayers that cannot be justified in terms of the limited utility such information reports will provide to government.”

Adrienne boils that down in a less tactful manner, “You don’t have to be a CPA to see why this is a completely moronic idea. What happened to paperwork reduction? I love the use of ‘extremely burdensome’ – as most of you probably know, it’s got to be REALLY annoying to get the accountants to bust out the ‘extremely’ in a complaint.”

She makes a good point. Not to get all English-y on you but the adverb “extremely” doesn’t exactly make it a more effective sentence. Alan was clearly going for exaggeration in order to get his point across that this portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the most useless section of the entire act. And for some of you, that’s really saying something.

AICPA Letter to Congress Supporting Repeal of Expanded 1099 Reporting by Businesses

Non-Profits Get Picked On (And Deserve Some of It)

When budgets are tight, it only makes sense that non-profits would become targets since they tend to get the most free rides. We’ve seen it with this 990 push (kind of like 404(b) for < $75 million and new health care rules that require companies to send in 1099s for every vendor purchase over $600, it feels a little like bureaucratic busywork to me) and now non-profit executive compensation is in New Jersey tie’s crosshairs.

A provision in his state’s recently passed budget limits executive salaries at nonprofits that do business with the state.

Firedoglake foamed at the mouth over recent comments by Tom Coburn after he shot down $425 million in fresh money for the Boys and Girls Clubs. FDL appeared absolutely incapable of comprehending caps on non-profit salaries when for-profit CEOs earn “500 times” more than their non-profit counterparts.

On Capitol Hill, four senators this spring refused to approve a $425 million package of federal grants for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America after staff members looked at the organization’s tax forms as part of a routine vetting process and were surprised to learn that the organization paid its chief executive almost $1 million in 2008 — $510,774 in salary and bonus and $477,817 in retirement and other benefits.

“A nearly $1 million salary and benefit package for a nonprofit executive is not only questionable on its face but also raises questions about how the organization manages its finances in other areas,” said Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma.

We covered S.2924 back in March when Chuck Grassley wrote a nasty note asking for – gasp – accounting details. While I totally support FDL’s outrage towards for-profit CEOs, I have to remind them that we already have the accounting details of for-profit corporations; so if Jamie Dimon gets $42 bazillion a year, we can just dig into his financial statements to figure out why. Chances are assets > liabilities so he can do that (unless he’s asking for a bailout but I don’t recall hearing him ask in 2008). With the Boys and Girls Club posting a $13 million loss in 2008, President Roxanne Spillett still earned $593,926. You don’t think that might warrant a little investigation?

FDL goes on to wonder out loud if all non-profits are created equal:

If Senator Coburn is going to stagger down that path, arms flapping wildly at the injustice of these non-profit salaries, then by his reckoning, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre should forego his $1,139,568 annual salary (as of 2008), and Robert Mazzuca of the Boy Scouts of America needs to pay back that $1,577,600 he received in 2009. (Note: Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, only pulls down $350K a year. Methinks someone’s not living up to his objectivist potential.)

I’m all for reform but only when applied equally across the board. The alternative is letting the market decide by being an informed donor (using tools like Charity Navigator to see how much particular non-profit execs are making and how they are using their money). If you don’t believe in a non-profit’s compensation practices, don’t give them a thing.

The government can continue to do so without caring or it can get smart about the money that it does not have and start taking a closer look at how non-profits operate. If you ask me, the entire thing is a gaping hole of waste and confusion and you could possibly confirm that with anyone familiar with non-profit accounting.

Death to the Death Tax Fails

South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint had the perfect solution to this estate tax fiasco. GET RID OF THE DAMN THING ENTIRELY!

Unfortunately for DeMint, not too many people think the permanent abolishment of the estate tax is that hot of an idea.


Namely, a whole bunch of Democrats (minus Lincoln and Nelson of Neb) led by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The amendment failed 39-59 in a vote yesterday but no worries lovers of tax-free death! A few races in this fall’s election could kick around the this particular political pigskin, including Reid’s in Nevada where Tea Party darling Sharron Angle supports the permanent repeal.

It’s worth noting that J DeM considered the abolishment of the tax not to be a ‘tax cut’ but a “continuation of current policy since Congress let the tax lapse this year.” In that context, it sounds like Senator DeMint is embracing the fact that Congress screwed the pooch on the whole damn thing and figured that continuing the impotence of Congress was easier than having the same debate over and over.

Estate Tax Vote: An Issue in Fall Vote? [Washington Wire/WSJ]
Senate rejects permanent estate tax death [Don’t Mess With Taxes]
Also see: Senate Rejects Measure to Permanently Abolish Estate Tax [TaxProf]

Accounting News Roundup: Senate Starts Voting on Financial Reform; Risk Management Succumbs to Risk Intelligence; Six Flags Emerges from Bankruptcy | 05.04.10

Voting begins in Senate on Wall Street reform [Reuters]
The latest partisan bickering effort in Congress will get underway today, although the first votes are not likely to be controversial. The first amendment to Senator Chris Dodd’s (D-CT) 1,600 page epic has been proposed by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and it state “that no taxpayer funds could be used again to bail out financial institutions,” something that anyone up for reelection will likely get behind.

PwC partner Colin Tenner sues over redundancy [Times Online]
Mr Tenner claims that he was let go because of his suffering from depression and anxiety. He claims “mismanagement at PwC and bullying by a client led to him to take sick leave in September 2007. He alleges that he approached PwC in spring 2008 to arrange a phased return to work but says that these discussions broke down, leading to his redundancy.”

Of interest is how the tribunal will decide, “what responsibilities partners at a professional services firm have when one of their number displays signs of stress or becomes mentally ill but wishes to remain in the partnership.” This seems odd primarily because most partners are constantly showing signs of stress and if they’re not, one just assumes they’re mentally ill.


Picower Estate to Pay Billions to Madoff Investors [WSJ]
The estate of Jeffery Picower, a Madoff investor who drowned in his pool last fall, will pay $2 billion to the Madoff trustee in charge of recovering money for investors. This will more than double the $1.5 billion recovered so far.

New Career Path: ‘Risk Intelligence Officer’ [FINS]
Much can be learned from the financial crisis; not least of which is that a lot of companies sucked at managing their risk. Case in point, “risk management” is a prehistoric idea now and one Deloitte principal argues that a “risk intelligence officer” is new sage in this area:

The job of a risk intelligence officer is to assess the organization’s risks and inform business line managers where they need to focus their risk-management efforts.

“They need somebody who can see the big picture and connect the dots,” said [Rick] Funston, who is a principal with Deloitte in Detroit. Deloitte has been encouraging its clients to develop the new role, he said…

Effective risk professionals find a way to discuss systemic failures and take steps to strengthen the organization’s resilience and agility. Part of the job is to understand a company’s vulnerabilities and make it OK to talk about them, institutionalizing the discussion.

Six Flags Emerges From Bankruptcy [Reuters]
Six Flags has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy just in time for summer and now “has more financial flexibility to pursue a shift in strategy toward attracting more families to its amusement parks.” Not sure who an amusement park company would target other than families but it’s nice to see you back in the game, 6F.

Accounting News Roundup: Goldman CFO’s ‘Unfortunate’ Response; EU Prepares to Scrutinize Auditors; SEC Chief Accountant: June 2011 Deadline for Convergence Is ‘Arbitrary’ | 04.28.10

Carl Levin To Goldman CFO: When You See ‘Sh–ty Deal’ E-mail, ‘Do You Feel Anything?’ [TPM]
Late in the proceedings of yesterday’s epic Senate subcommittee hearing (involving some of the Almighty’s finest), Goldman CFO David Viniar may have had a bit of a Freudian slip when he responded to potty-mouth Senator Carl Levin’s badgering.

Levin asked Viniar how he reacts to hearing about the email. “Do you feel anything?” Levin asked. Viniar replied: “I think that’s very unfortunate thich got a smattering of laughter from around the room. Levin asked Viniar how he reacts to hearing about the email. “Do you feel anything?” Levin asked. Viniar replied: “I think that’s very unfortunate to have on e-mail,” which got a smattering of laughter from around the room. “On an e-mail?” Levin shot back angrily. “How about feeling that way?” Viniar started to backtrack: “I think that’s a very unfortunate thing for anyone to have said in any form.” “How about to believe that and sell that?” Levin asked. “I think that’s unfortunate as well,” Viniar responded.

That unfortunateness is in no particular order.

Brussels to scrutinise role of auditors [FT]
The EU has had it with auditors in their current form and is turning their stink eye towards the profession with a whole lot of skepticism, especially since Ernst & Young got in trouble over you-know-what.

Michel Barnier, the new EU internal market commissioner, joined the debate on Tuesday saying that the role of auditors needed closer scrutiny now that the financial turmoil of the past two years was subsiding.

“I’m convinced that it is the right time to launch a real debate at European level on the subject of audit. This conviction is reinforced by the questions recently raised in the context of the audit of the accounts of US bank Lehman Brothers,” Mr Barnier said.

The FT reports that the EU is kicking off this increased level of scrutiny by publishing a green paper this fall on the subject that will examine the way “audit firms are owned and governed…the concentration in the audit market and its implications on financial stability, the emergence of small and medium-sized practitioners, the audit of smaller companies and international standards on auditing,” and also the supervision of global audit firms.

PwC pays £427,000 damages over valuation work [Accountancy Age]
The original suit was for £35 million; that would a W for P. Dubs.

Miami accountant’s workers accused of aiding fraud [Miami Herald]
Two employees of “Miami’s go-to forensic accountant if you want to get ripped off” Lewis Freeman have been charged with conspiring with him in the embezzlement scheme that he pleaded guilty to last month.

SEC Chief Accountant Says Convergence Need Not Be Completed by June 2011 [Journal of Accountancy]
No rush on that, sayeth James Kroeker, on convergence by June 2011:

SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker told the JofA Tuesday that he would support the boards’ cutting the number of projects due in June 2011, provided there was good rationale for a delay.

“June 30, 2011, is an arbitrary deadline and it’s not one that’s been put in place by the SEC or by our road map,” said Kroeker.

Accounting News Roundup: Haiti Relief Passes Senate; Accounting Job Surge? CPAs Basically Control People’s Lives | 01.22.10

Senate votes for faster tax breaks for Haiti gifts [WaPo]
As expected, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation yesterday that allows taxpayers to deduct donations made for Haiti relief efforts. You have until the end of February to donate so that it may be included on your 2009 return.

Maybe it’s bad legislation but we’ve been over that.

CPA Jobs Set for Surge. But When? [CPA Trendlines]
That’s the question, isn’t it? Rick Telberg, who has done a great job of tracking the Bureau of Labor Statistics on accountants, points out that while the latest BLS forecasts a 22% increase (279,400 jobs) by 2018, there’s no indication that it’s happening now:

[M]any tax, accounting and finance professionals are still slogging through the Great Recession. The Association for Financial Professionals, for instance, reported that about one in four respondents say their organizations will contract in 2010. At the same time, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of private companies found 43 percent of CEOs and CFOs still budgeting no expansion over the next 12 months to 18 months. The data just seem to reinforce economic uncertainties and a weak outlook.


The BLS is looking past the past the recession for the jump in opportunities but just when the hell will that be? Just because the economy isn’t contracting currently, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future and this “recovery” has been tepid at best.

Theismann to CPAs: You Are the Conscience of America [Web CPA]
Joe Theismann gets it. He knows that without all of you out there in CPA land, your clients don’t stand a chance. They’d be finished. Finished!

“You’re the conscience of America,” Theismann told conference-goers. “You are the survivors in tough times. With accountants, I’m not looking for someone to file taxes and do my financials. I can do that myself online. In your position you can basically control people’s lives.”

So get out there and control somebody’s life. Joe Theismann is expecting it.

Homebuyer Credit to Continue Helping People Get into Crazy Debt?

Thumbnail image for overwhelmed.jpgMaybe! The opportunity to take advantage of the current credit expires on November 30th. Luckily, the brain trust known as the U.S. Senate is all over this and is going to get a new plan in place come hell or high water.
The best part is that under the Senate’s latest proposal, the credit will now be “extended beyond first time buyers,” as reported by Bloomberg.
So, if you’ve lived in your current shack for five years and you’re looking to upgrade, you’ll be eligible for a $6,500 credit. First time homebuyers will still receive an $8,000 The new extension of the credit would be available for home purchases under contract by April 30, 2010 and close by the end of June.


But that’s not all! Under the new plan, the credit would be available for individuals earning $125k up from $75k and couples earning $250k up from $150k. Presumably more McMansions will get purchased this way.
More good news: this thing has bipartisan support:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, agreed that most lawmakers support the unemployment and homebuyer measures. “We’re not that far away from an agreement,” he said earlier today.

Who knew it was possible? The problem is, not everyone thinks this is a good idea, including Joe Kristan over at Tax Update Blog:

It’s nice to know that a majority of the millionaires in the Senate think it’s wise to spend $40,000 to $80,000 of our money for each new home sale caused by the credit, even though the credit is rife with fraud.
The credit extension would be tied to an extension of unemployment benefits; the provisions may still be changed, and it has to be reconciled with a House bill that has no homebuyer credit provision.
If they extend it this time, does anybody believe they won’t try to extend it again every time it is set to expire?

And Tax Girl:

Does that cover everybody? Does everyone get a tax credit now? Cause we wouldn’t want to be handing out that free money and leave someone out.

And Don’t Mess with Taxes:

My concern is that if people need the credit to get into a first home or move up to a larger one, are they getting in over their heads in debt? And isn’t that what got us into the economic trouble we’re in now?

Call us party poopers but we’ll go with accountants over the U.S. Senate any day.
Homebuyer Credit Extension a Done Deal? NOL Carrybacks Enhanced? [Tax Update Blog]
First Time Homebuyer’s Credit Likely Expanded [Tax Girl]
Reconfigured home buyer tax credit [Don’t Mess With Taxes]
Also see: Lawmakers Find A Way To Outfox 4-Year Old Tax Cheats [DB]