NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR MONDAY - 7.25.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Jul 25, 2016
NYSSCPA Members in the News
 
Tom Walpole (Rochester)
WROC Rochester News 8
CPA Tom Walpole discussed changes in your tax status to look for as part of a mid-year tax review Monday on News 8 at Sunrise. Walpole said the first step in a mid-year tax review is to make sure your 2015 return is complete.  If you received an extension, it's time to get it done and turn the page toward your 2016 return.  October 17 is the deadline for those who received an extension.
 
Ted Sarenski (Syracuse)
MSN Money
If you're like most people, you'll opt to start receiving Social Security benefits as soon as you can, usually at age 62. If you're like some people, shortly after that you'll wish you hadn't. Is there anything you can do? There is. You can file to withdraw your application for Social Security benefits as long as you do it within 12 months of when you get your first check.
 
Other Accounting and Finance News
 
Accounting Today
The internal audit profession is seeing a bit of a gender shift, as more women become chief audit executives. The global consulting firm Protiviti recently released an update of its annual book, “Internal Auditing Around the World.” The series typically features interviews with chief audit executives at companies across the globe. This year, for the 12th edition, Protiviti interviewed 22 leaders of auditing departments about the impact of technology on their organizations, and all of them are female.
 
Wall Street Journal
The best-paid CEOs tend to run some of the worst-performing companies and vice versa—even when pay and performance are measured over the course of many years, according to a new study. The analysis, from corporate-governance research firm MSCI, examined the pay of some 800 CEOs at 429 large and midsize U.S. companies during the decade ending in 2014, and also looked at the total shareholder return of the companies during the same period.
 
Financial Executives International
As the United States heads into the final stretch of a tumultuous presidential election, many policy priorities are competing with tax reform for attention. The drumbeat to reform and simplify the US tax system continues, however, with much of the activity taking place behind the scenes. Presidential candidates have each put forward tax reform plans, and Congress continues to weigh alternatives.
 
Accounting Today
A roundup of some our favorite recent cases of tax fraud. Birmingham, Ala.: A federal court has permanently barred preparer Jessica Leverett, a.k.a. Jessica Harris, from preparing returns for others after a U.S. complaint alleged that she repeatedly prepared federal income tax returns that understated clients’ liabilities or overstated their refunds.  Leverett owns and operates a number of different prep businesses, including Tax Money Now, Dynamic Tax Services, Dynamic Tax Solutions and Express Money Tax, according to the complaint.
Wall Street Journal
No matter who wins the White House in November, don’t expect to hear new calls for reduced spending. Gone are the fights of yesteryear over striking a “grand bargain” to slash the debt. In their place a new debate has emerged over whether America’s borrowing capacity has gone up—and how the nation might take advantage of it.
 
Law360
Foreign pension funds have not ramped up their direct investment in U.S. real estate despite changes late last year to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, and many firms remain unclear as to how exactly they might qualify for the new tax exemptions under FIRPTA, lawyers say. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, signed into law by President Barack Obama in late December, made qualified foreign pension funds exempt from the standard 15 percent FIRPTA rate of withholding upon the sale.
 
Wall Street Journal
Investors are pouring billions of dollars into funds that promise to minimize market swings, highlighting the anxiety that prevails after seven years of stock gains. So-called low- and minimum-volatility funds are designed to fluctuate less than the market as a whole—not climbing as high during rallies but not falling as far during selloffs. That kind of risk avoidance has been popular this year.
Accounting Today
The Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended EFP Rotenberg LLP and an accountant at the firm for failing to detect fraud in the audit of a public company client, ContinuityX Solutions. As part of the settlement, the firm agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty, while the accountant, Nicholas Bottini, agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty, the SEC said Friday.
 
Wall Street Journal
The Federal Reserve is laying the groundwork to raise rates again. The dollar, rather than bonds, will likely bear the brunt of the increase. While there is little chance the Fed will tighten policy this week, it will likely use the meeting as an opportunity to signal that its next move on rates could happen as early as September.
 
Wall Street Journal
Plummeting bond yields are enabling some cash-strapped governments to reduce their deficits and potentially ease austerity measures. Spain is the trend’s latest beneficiary: It sold a three-year bond with a negative yield for the first time. That is a balm as the Spanish government is sparring with the European Union over missing its deficit targets.

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