NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR WEDNESDAY - 7.20.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Jul 20, 2016
Accounting and Finance News Stories

IRS Alerts 501(c)(4) Organizations to New Notification Process
AccountingWEB
New final and temporary regulations from the IRS alerts Section 501(c)(4) organizations to new compliance requirements under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act enacted last December. The regulations took effect on July 8. The PATH Act added Section 506 to the Internal Revenue Code, which requires that 501(c)(4) groups must notify the IRS of their formation within 60 days after the date of organization.

Job Satisfaction Hits a 10-Year High—But It’s Still Below 50%
Wall Street Journal
Just under half of U.S. workers said they felt satisfied with their jobs last year—the happiest they’ve been in a decade, according to a new report from the Conference Board, a research group that focuses on economics and business conditions. Some 49.6% of workers reported being satisfied with their jobs overall last year, edging up from 48.3% in 2014.

Ohio CPA Society Proposes Tax Changes to Boost Business
CPA Practice Advisor
The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) in June released a comprehensive white paper to state leaders outlining a series of tax changes CPAs believe will drive a more competitive business environment in Ohio. The recommendations are the work of OSCPA’s member-led Ohio Tax Reform Task Force, formed after Ohio’s 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission asked the Society to evaluate the state’s tax structures.

Are Americans Finally Getting Smarter About Money?
Bloomberg
Over the past decade, Americans got a crash course in money management. The financial crisis and the great recession offered a ton of lessons—the dangers of debt being a big one—while making it impossible to ignore the topic of finance. That’s still the case today—just look at the popularity of movies like Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short.

CEOs Who Challenge Norms Help Company’s Bottom Line, Study Says
Wall Street Journal
CEOs who challenge their organizations’ cultural norms are better for the bottom line, according to a new study published in the June 2016 Journal of Applied Psychology. Researchers surveyed 114 technology company leaders and their management teams and asked them to rate a number of statements about the CEO’s leadership style and company culture.

SASB Releases Engagement Guide for Investors
Accounting Today
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has published new guidance to help investors use SASB standards to engage better with the companies where they own and manage shares. The SASB Engagement Guide for Asset Owners & Asset Managers includes industry-specific guidance for asset owners and managers.

New Tax-Free Distribution Rules Raise Valuation Concerns
Law360
While newly proposed Internal Revenue Service rules governing tax-free corporate spinoffs provide some clarity in a fuzzy area of tax law, experts say fresh questions about how assets will be valued and defined mean the guidelines may ultimately not make the planning of such transactions any easier. The revenue agency on Thursday unveiled a proposal under Section 355 of the Internal Revenue Code to require at least 5 percent of a spun-off company’s assets to represent active trades or business, and it also introduced a “per se device.”

The Central Bankers’ Bold New Idea: Print Bitcoins
Wall Street Journal
When it comes to bitcoin and digital currencies, central banks might be considering the adage: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” In a research paper published on Monday, economists at the Bank of England advocated that central banks issue their own kind of digital currency. Using the U.S. as a case study, they argued it could give a permanent boost to the economy of around 3%, as well as providing policy makers with more effective tools to tame financial booms and busts.

Paying Employees to Opt Out of Insurance? Beware
Lexology
In December 2015 the IRS announced that any unconditional payment to employees to opt out of employer-sponsored insurance was basically a salary reduction towards the payment of health insurance costs, since it is lost if the employee takes employer insurance. Thus, the amount of any unconditional opt-out payment should be counted along with any other employee premium contribution obligations towards whether employer-offered insurance is ”affordable.”

IRS Looking to Ease Concerns About Final Basis Rules
Bloomberg BNA
The IRS is committed to addressing concerns stemming from controversial estate basis consistency regulations, an official said. To do that, the agency is looking for more comments on “where there is a hitch” with proposed rules (REG-127923-15) issued in March, Theresa Melchiorre, an attorney in the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel (Passthroughs and Special Industries), said July 18 at the American Institute of CPAs Advanced Estate Planning Conference.

Internal Audit Function Varies Globally
Accounting Today
The maturity of the internal audit function differs in various parts of the world, according to a new study. The report, released Tuesday by the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, found a variety of factors affecting the maturity levels of internal audit in different parts of the globe, including the age and size of the internal audit function, the type of industry, the size of the organization, and other variables.

Congress Reaches New Low In Proposed Censure Of IRS Commissioner
Forbes
Among the pile of work waiting for Congress to take up in September is a real stinker. It is H. Res. 737, a proposal to censure the current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. It was voted out of committee on June 15, 2016.  Still pending in Committee is a resolution of impeachment, H. Res. 494.

HSBC Foreign-Exchange Executive Charged With Front-Running Order
Wall Street Journal
U.S. authorities arrested and charged HSBC PLC’s global head of foreign exchange cash trading Tuesday night, alleging he and others front ran a client order and netted millions in profits. Mark Johnson was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents Tuesday night at John F. Kennedy international airport in New York, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Markets Throttle Down After Mixed Earnings Reports
New York Times
Stocks ended mixed on Tuesday as investors let up on the accelerator after a three-week rally sent indexes to new highs. The Dow Jones industrial average inched 25.96 points higher, or 0.1 percent, for its eighth consecutive gain, setting another record at 18,559.01.

Click here to see more of the latest news from the NYSSCPA.