Regulatory Roundup, Dec. 20-Jan. 3

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 3, 2017

AICPA

AICPA Asks IRS to Permit Qualified Tax Practitioners to Perform Foreign Equivalency Determinations 

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 19, 2016) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has requested that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permit qualified tax practitioners to perform foreign equivalency determines for the purpose of Internal Revenue Code section 1441 as is currently permitted for the purpose of section 4945.

AICPA Recognizes Accounting Educators for Innovative Teaching Strategies 

New York (December 21, 2016) – Educators from the University of Arkansas, Case Western University, and Kennesaw State University are recipients of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Effective Learning Strategies (ELS) Awards. The ELS Awards are given each year to educators who demonstrate innovative teaching practices and curriculums in one of three educational levels: introductory, upper division, and graduate.

FAF

Financial Accounting Foundation Names Susan J. Carter, Anthony J. Dowd, and T. Eloise Foster As New Trustees

Norwalk, CT—December 22, 2016—The Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) today announced that it has appointed Susan J. Carter, Anthony J. Dowd, and T. Eloise Foster to the FAF Board of Trustees, effective January 1, 2017.

FASB

FASB Issues Technical Improvements to Revenue Recognition Guidance

Norwalk, CT, December 21, 2016—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued a final Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that clarifies aspects of the revenue recognition guidance issued in 2014. The changes are based on input received from FASB stakeholders and its Revenue Recognition Transition Resource Group (TRG).

GAO

Securities and Exchange Commission: Actions Needed to Address Limited Progress in Resolving Long-Standing Personnel Management Challenges

Employee views on the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) organizational culture have generally improved since 2013. Employees GAO surveyed cited improved levels of morale and trust within the agency compared to 2013 and noted that SEC was less hierarchical and risk-averse. However, GAO's survey indicated that SEC still operates in a compartmentalized way and that there is little communication and collaboration between divisions. SEC made limited progress on improving personnel management. SEC has addressed two of seven recommendations from GAO's 2013 report, but it faces added challenges in cross-divisional collaboration and hiring and promotion.

Dodd-Frank Regulations: Agencies' Efforts to Analyze and Coordinate Their Recent Final Rules

Federal financial regulators reported conducting the required regulatory analyses for rules issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) as part of the rulemaking process. For example, of the 30 rules GAO reviewed, which became effective between July 2015 and July 2016, the regulators analyzed the paperwork burden imposed for 12 rules for which they determined this analysis was required. For the remaining 18 rules, they determined that this analysis was not required or applicable.

IASB

New profiles posted for Iran and Kazakhstan; Saudi Arabia profile updated

We have posted new profiles on the use of IFRS Standards in Iran and Kazakhstan. In addition, we have significantly modified our profile on Saudi Arabia to reflect the country’s adoption of IFRS Standards for all publicly accountable entities, including listed companies.

December 2016 IFRS for SMEs Update published

December 22, 2016 - The December 2016 IFRS for SMEs Update has been published.The Update includes information on changes in the frequency of the IFRS for SMEs Update; updated IFRS for SMEs Fact Sheet; update on our implementation support; IFRS for SMEs Standard translations: status report; and where to obtain information about the IFRS for SMEs Standard.

IRS 

IRS Offers Free Tax Help
IR-2016-175, Dec. 29, 2016 — As tax filing season approaches, the IRS reminds taxpayers that free tax help is available online, by phone and in-person.

Tax Professionals Provide Insights on IRS Future State; Feedback Efforts Continue in 2017 as Online Account Shows Strong Early Use
IR-2016-174, Dec. 21, 2016 — As part of ongoing efforts to receive feedback from the tax community and partner groups, the IRS today said tax professionals attending the Nationwide Tax Forums this year highlighted a number of areas to help the agency shape Future State efforts to improve taxpayer service.

Many ITINs Expire Jan. 1; Renew Now to Avoid Refund Delays, IRS Says
IR-2016-173, Dec. 21, 2016 — Time is running out for many ITIN holders who need to file a federal income tax return in 2017 and want to avoid a long wait for a refund, according to the IRS.

Tax Preparedness Series: IRS Face-To-Face Help Now By Appointment
IR-2016-172, Dec. 20, 2016 — As the tax filing season approaches, the IRS reminds taxpayers that an appointment is required for in-person tax help at all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers.

NYC Dept. of Finance 

December 30, 2016--Finance Memoranda regarding Changes to the Mandatory First Installment of Estimated Tax for Businesses.

December 30, 2016--Finance Memoranda regarding Changes to the Mandatory First Installment of Estimated Tax for Businesses.

December 27, 2016--How to claim a new Real Property Transfer Tax (“RPTT”) exemption for transfers of real property subject to certain affordable housing restrictions.

NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance

Da Vance Announces Criminal Charges Against Eight Defendants for Oxycodone, Gambling, and Tax Fraud Schemes

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of eight individuals for multiple schemes involving the distribution of oxycodone pills, illegal gambling, and tax and public benefits fraud.

Go Green, Get Green: NYS Tax Department Reminds New Yorkers of Solar Energy Systems Equipment Credit

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced that New Yorkers have claimed more than $38 million with a tax credit available to those who’ve installed solar energy systems at their primary residence. Between 2012 and 2014, claims for the Solar Energy Systems Equipment Credit increased 194%. The Tax Department received 9,041 claims for the credit in 2014, up from 3,074 in 2012. 

Simplify Tax Time by Gathering Financial Documents Ahead of Filing Season

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today encouraged taxpayers to begin gathering and organizing their 2016 financial records in preparation of tax season. Receiving any tax credit or deduction hinges on the ability of taxpayers to prove their earned income and expenses claimed on their income tax return.

PCAOB

PCAOB Board member Jay D. Hanson resigns from Board.

Washington, Dec. 23, 2016 - PCAOB Board Member Jay D. Hanson notified the PCAOB today of his resignation from the Board. In his letter to the Board, Board Member Hanson wrote: “This is to notify you that I have submitted my resignation as Board Member of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to the Commissioners of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”

SEC

SEC Charges Morgan Stanley With Customer Protection Rule Violations

Washington D.C., Dec. 20, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle charges it used trades involving customer cash to lower the firm’s borrowing costs in violation of the SEC’s Customer Protection Rule.

Company Settles Charges in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Washington D.C., Dec. 20, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that an oil-and-gas company has agreed to settle charges that it used illegal separation agreements and retaliated against a whistleblower who expressed concerns internally about how its reserves were being calculated.

Petrochemical Manufacturer Braskem S.A. to Pay $957 Million to Settle FCPA Charges

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a Brazilian-based petrochemical manufacturer whose stock trades in the U.S. markets has agreed to settle charges that it created false books and records to conceal millions of dollars in illicit bribes paid to Brazilian government officials to win or retain business.

SEC Charges Former New York Pension Official and Two Brokers in Pay-to-Play Scheme

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a former official of the nation’s third largest public pension fund and two brokers accused of orchestrating a pay-to-play scheme to steer billions of dollars to certain firms in exchange for luxury gifts, lavish vacations, and tens of thousands of dollars spent on cocaine and prostitutes.

SEC Charges Operators of Fake Day-Trading Firm With Defrauding Inexperienced Investors

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged two men behind a phony day-trading firm with pocketing more than $1.4 million in deposits from hundreds of defrauded investors worldwide.

Sharon Binger, Director of Philadelphia Regional Office, to Leave SEC

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Sharon B. Binger, Director of the Philadelphia Regional Office, will leave the agency at the end of the year.  Following her departure, G. Jeffrey Boujoukos, the Philadelphia office’s Associate Regional Director for Enforcement, will serve as Regional Director.

G. Jeffrey Boujoukos Named Director of Philadelphia Regional Office

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that G. Jeffrey Boujoukos has been named Director of its Philadelphia Regional Office, where he will oversee enforcement and examinations in the Mid-Atlantic region.  His appointment will be effective following the departure of Sharon B. Binger, who is leaving the agency at the end of the year.

SEC Issues Annual Staff Reports on Credit Rating Agencies

Washington D.C., Dec. 21, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today issued two annual staff reports that demonstrate compliance and competition continue to increase among the credit rating agencies under SEC oversight as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs). 

Teva Pharmaceutical Paying $519 Million to Settle FCPA Charges

Washington D.C., Dec. 22, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited has agreed to pay more than $519 million to settle parallel civil and criminal charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to foreign government officials in Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico.

SEC Names Sara P. Crovitz Deputy Chief Counsel in the Division of Investment Management’s Chief Counsel’s Office

Washington D.C., Dec. 22, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today named  Sara P. Crovitz Deputy Chief Counsel and Associate Director in the Division of Investment Management’s Chief Counsel’s Office.

SEC Names Timothy Husson Associate Director in the Division of Investment Management’s Risk and Examinations Office

Washington D.C., Dec. 22, 2016 —The Securities and Exchange Commission today named Timothy Husson Associate Director in the Division of Investment Management’s Risk and Examinations Office.

Chinese Traders Charged With Trading on Hacked Nonpublic Information Stolen From Two Law Firms

Washington D.C., Dec. 27, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged three Chinese traders with fraudulently trading on hacked nonpublic market-moving information stolen from two prominent New York-based law firms, racking up almost $3 million in illegal profits.  The SEC also is seeking an asset freeze that prevents the traders from cashing in on their illicit gains.  The enforcement action marks the first time the SEC has charged hacking into a law firm’s computer network.

SEC Charges Lawyer With Stealing Investor Money in EB-5 Offerings

Washington D.C., Dec. 27, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a California-based attorney with defrauding investors seeking to participate in the EB-5 immigrant investor program, stealing their money to buy a yacht and prop up his other businesses.

Businessman Settles Charges of Fraudulent EB-5 Offering

Washington D.C., Dec. 28, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a Florida-based businessman has agreed to settle charges that he misused investor funds intended to create U.S. jobs through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

Wire and Cable Manufacturer Settles FCPA and Accounting Charges

Washington D.C., Dec. 29, 2016—The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Kentucky-based General Cable Corporation agreed to pay more than $75 million to resolve parallel SEC and U.S. Department of Justice investigations related to its violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The company agreed to pay an additional $6.5 million penalty to the SEC to settle separate accounting-related violations.

 

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