Regulatory Roundup, Dec. 7-12

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Dec 12, 2016

The following is a compilation of relevant regulatory announcements, including those from the IRS, the  AICPA and the SEC, of the past week:

IRS

2017 Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 23 for Nation’s Taxpayers, Tax Returns Due April 18
The IRS announced that the nation’s tax season will begin Jan. 23, 2017 and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits to expect a longer wait for refunds.

Protect Your Clients: Security Summit Partners Warn Tax Pros of Cybercriminals, Launch New Awareness Tips
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry warned tax professionals of the continuing threat from cybercriminals and launched a series of security tips in encouraging stronger measures to protect taxpayer data.

IRS Warns Taxpayers of Numerous Tax Scams Nationwide; Provides Summary of Most Recent Schemes
As tax season approaches, the IRS, states and the tax industry reminded taxpayers to be on the lookout for an array of evolving tax scams related to identity theft and refund fraud.

IRS Advice to Those with Expiring ITINs: Apply Now to Avoid Refund Delays; Agency Offers Tips on Avoiding Common Errors
The IRS urged any taxpayer with an expiring Individual Taxpayer Identification Number and a need to file a return in the upcoming filing season to file a renewal application in the next few weeks to avoid refund and processing delays.

Plan Now to Use Health Flexible Spending Arrangements in 2017; Contribute Up to $2,600; $500 Carryover Option Available to Many
The IRS reminded eligible employees that now is the time to begin planning to take full advantage of their employer’s health flexible spending arrangement during 2017.

National Tax Security Week Concludes; IRS, Security Summit Partners Continues Work to Protect Taxpayers in 2017
The IRS and Security Summit partners urged taxpayers to take immediate steps to protect their personal data in order to strengthen expanded efforts being taken this upcoming tax season by federal, state and tax industry leaders against identity theft and refund fraud.

AICPA

Five Students Receive AICPA’s Carey Scholarship Award to Pursue Graduate Accounting Degrees
AICPA announces the five winners of the John L. Carey Scholarship Award. 

Business Executives Express Strong Optimism in US Economy in AICPA Post-Election Survey
Business executives reported a strong surge in optimism about prospects for the U.S. economy over the coming year, according to the AICPA’s fourth-quarter Economic Outlook Survey. 

Client Accounting Services Emerging as Significant Revenue Category Across CPA Firm Segments, Survey by AICPA and CPA.com Shows
Client accounting services have become an important line of business for CPA firms in all size segments, even as overall client fees are growing, according to a survey sponsored by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section and CPA.com. 

AICPA Board Chair Urges Financial Professionals to Be Relentless in Driving Quality and Trust 
AICPA Board Chair Kimberly Ellison-Taylor addressed the 2016 AICPA SEC-PCAOB Conference, outlining four key initiatives for collaboration—cybersecurity, audit quality, management accounting and talent.

FASB

Registration Opens for March 15 FASB Roundtable on Proposed Improvements to Insurance Accounting
The Financial Accounting Standards Board will host on March 15 a public roundtable meeting on its proposed improvements to accounting for long-duration contracts issued by insurance entities. Registration is now open for both participants and non-participating observers interested in attending the event.

FASB Issues Proposed Accounting Standards Update—Distinguishing Liabilities From Equity (Topic 480)
The FASB decided to undertake a project to address issues identified as a result of the complexity associated with applying generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for certain financial instruments with characteristics of liabilities and equity.

Registration Opens for Dec. 19 FASB Webcast for Private Companies and Not-For-Profit Organizations
Registration is open for a Dec. 19 FASB webcast that provides an update on the FASB’s standard-setting activities pertaining to private companies and not-for-profit organizations.

IASB

International Accounting Standards Board Issues Minor Changes to IFRS Standards
The International Accounting Standards Board issued several amendments to IFRS Standards and an interpretation that clarifies the requirements in particular standards. These changes are part of the board’s process to maintain IFRS Standards.

IFRS Taxonomy 2016 Updated for Applying IFRS 9 Financial Instruments With IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts
The International Accounting Standards Board published an IFRS Taxonomy Update to the IFRS Taxonomy 2016.

GASB

GASB Issues Guidance on Certain Asset Retirement Obligations
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued a guidance for state and local governments addressing liabilities known as “asset retirement obligations.”

SEC

Firm Settles Charges for Selling Unregistered Swaps Involving Pre-IPO Companies
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that a San Francisco-based firm agreed to settle charges that it violated federal securities laws by failing to register security-based swaps that were offered and sold online to shareholders in pre-IPO companies.

SEC Awards Nearly $1 Million to Whistleblower 
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced an award of more than $900,000 to a whistleblower whose tip enabled the SEC to bring multiple enforcement actions against wrongdoers.

GAO 

State and Local Governments' Fiscal Outlook
Fiscal sustainability presents a national challenge shared by all levels of government. The Government Accountability Office’s simulations of long-term fiscal trends in the state and local government sector—published since 2007—have consistently shown that state and local governments face long-term fiscal pressures driven largely by the rising health-related costs of Medicaid and the costs of healthcare compensation for employees and retirees. Absent any policy changes, the state and local government sector faces a gap between expenditures and receipts in future years. Closing this gap will require state and local governments to make policy changes to assure that receipts are at least equal to expenditures.

Permanent Funding Authorities: Some Selected Entities Should Review Financial Management, Oversight, and Transparency Policies
Although Congress appropriates much of the federal budget on an annual basis, it provides some federal agencies and programs with permanent funding authority—which gives them greater autonomy to collect and obligate fees, fines, and penalties. For example, the Crime Victims Fund collects funds from multiple sources, including criminal fines and forfeited bail bonds.

TIGTA

Improvements Are Needed to Ensure the Protection of Data the IRS Transfers to External Partners
When the IRS shares data, including Personally Identifiable Information, taxpayer information, and other sensitive data, with external entities, it has not always adequately protected the data through secure file transfer technology, according to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Employees Sometimes Did Not Adhere to E-Mail Policies, Which Increased the Risk of Improper Disclosure of Taxpayer Information
IRS employees sometimes did not protect sensitive taxpayer information in sending e-mail messages, according to an audit report by TIGTA.

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