NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR THURSDAY - 8.31.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Aug 31, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Akshay Shirmanker (Queens/Brooklyn)
IRS Creates Dedicated Web Page With Resources For Sharing Economy
Wolters Kluwer - Standard Federal Tax Reports
As the sharing economy grows, the IRS has responded with new resources for taxpayers. The IRS launched a Sharing Economy Tax Center on its website, highlighting tax issues for individuals and companies performing services in the sharing economy. “The IRS and other regulatory agencies are trying to catch-up with developments in the sharing economy,” Akshay Shrimanker, CPA, chair of the Emerging Technology Entrepreneurship Committee of the New York State Society of CPAs, told Wolters Kluwer.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories

U.S. Defends Its Curbs on Money Laundering
Wall Street Journal
U.S. banking regulators sought Tuesday to “dispel certain myths” around anti-money-laundering rules that critics contend have inadvertently cut off access to the U.S. financial system for some countries, businesses and individuals. The Treasury Department, along with four bank regulators, published an unusual, four-page “fact sheet” along with a lengthy blog post to clarify regulatory expectations related to the rules.

Treasury Strikes Back: Proposed Regulations Target Valuation Discounts for Family Businesses
Lexology
On August 4, 2016, the Treasury Department released Proposed Regulations that seek to eliminate valuation discounts for interests in family-controlled entities. The impact of these new rules is significant and far reaching, and if adopted in their current form, will drastically alter the landscape of wealth transfer planning for family business owners.

Benefiting from U.S. Export Tax Incentives
Accounting Today
The United States trade balance is out of whack. Once again, the U.S. is losing big in the world trade arena. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in June 2016, the most recent data we have, the U.S. trade deficit was a loss of $44.5 billion. That’s half a trillion dollars for the year. The U.S. has been running trade deficits for 40 years, and our cumulative trade deficit is costing tens of millions in jobs each and every year.

Regulators Find Deficiencies in 13 Deloitte Audits, 12 by PWC
Wall Street Journal
The government’s audit regulator found deficiencies in 13 audits conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP and 12 audits conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in its latest annual inspections of the Big Four accounting firms. The 13 deficient audits found by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board represent 24% of the 55 audits and partial audits reviewed by the board in its 2015 inspection of Deloitte, issued Tuesday.

Are Life Insurance Proceeds Subject to Taxes?
Forbes
When you purchase life insurance, the money your beneficiary receives when you pass away are referred to as death benefits (unlike the cash available from a whole life policy, whether it is accessed before and after death.) Generally speaking, your beneficiary will not have to pay income tax on death benefits; that money typically passes tax-free.

Apple Hit with $14.5 bn EU Tax Ruling
Accounting Today
On Tuesday, Apple was ordered to repay as much as 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest after the European Commission said Ireland illegally slashed the iPhone maker’s tax bill between 2003-2014. The commission ruled that Ireland provided Apple illegal aid through a favorable tax arrangement, which violated the European Union’s state-aid rules. It's the largest tax penalty in a three-year crackdown on sweetheart fiscal deals granted to multinationals by EU nations.

Sell What Clients Want: Peace of Mind
AccountingWEB
The legendary Zig Ziglar said, “Everybody wants the same things – to be happy, to be healthy, to be at least reasonably prosperous, and to be secure. They want friends, peace of mind, good family relationships, and hope that tomorrow is going to be even better than today.” As an accounting professional, you can play a role in this scenario; you sell peace of mind.

More Employers Boost Benefits for Interns
Wall Street Journal
More companies are offering interns benefits such as health insurance and access to retirement savings plans this year, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Interns are also getting job offers at record levels this year. Some 72% of them—a postrecession high—received offer letters at the end of their internships up from 58.9% in 2015, according to the survey, which looked at internship programs at 271 large companies including International Business Machines Corp. IBM offers its interns health insurance and 401(k) plans.

Accounting for tax expenditures
Public Finance International
The US government forwent $1.23 trillion in revenue last year, yet nowhere is this reflected in the federal government’s financial report. A FASAB-proposed accounting standard aims to change that. Have you read the Fiscal Year 2015 Consolidated Financial Report of the US Government? Perhaps you don’t have time to read all 267 pages? In that case, let’s cut to the chase and focus on the Statement of Long-Term Fiscal Projections, Footnote 24, and the unaudited Required Supplementary Information on the sustainability of current fiscal policy.

IRS Needs Better Checks on Departing Employees’ Laptops
Accounting Today
The Internal Revenue Service generally recovers computers from departing employees, according to a recent report – but that might just be luck. The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, was based on an audit conducted to determine whether IRS management implemented policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance that laptop computers are returned when employees leave from the IRS.

AICPA to Release Results of Quarterly Economic Outlook Survey on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016
AICPA
The American Institute of CPAs will announce the results of its third-quarter Economic Outlook Survey, a measure of sentiment about the U.S. economy and key business performance categories for the coming year, at 7:00 a.m. EDT, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. The AICPA quarterly survey is a forward-looking indicator that tracks the hiring expectations of CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other senior-level CPAs in business and industry over the next 12 months.

FDIC Fund Climbs to Postcrisis High
Wall Street Journal
The federal fund that protects consumers’ U.S. bank deposits reached its highest level since the financial crisis, surpassing a key threshold that means relief for many smaller lenders that pay into it. On Tuesday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said its deposit-insurance fund stood at $77.9 billion at the end of the second quarter and its insurance fund reserve ratio surpassed a critical threshold of 1.15% of the institutions’ estimated insured deposits.

Top 10 Productivity Tools for Accountants
Accounting Today
Work expands to fill the time allotted to it, and in a 24/7 world, that means you’ll be working all the time. To help manage the massive workloads that many modern accountants face, we asked the candidates for our Top 100 Most Influential List in Accounting – presumably some of the most successful people in the field -- to name their favorite productivity tools.

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