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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2.4.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Feb 4, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News


Barry Picker (Queens/Brooklyn)

5 pros you might need for money help

Bankrate

You get no extra credit for tackling the complexities of your financial life alone. Are you planning for retirement? Considering how to divide your assets after your death? Grasping for a plan to pay down debt? There are professionals who can help with just about any money concern. Their advice may cost you money, but a good expert can steer you away from pitfalls or offer reassurance you've made the right financial moves. Read ahead for the 5 pros it pays to know. We'll break down what they can do for you, what to look for when shopping for advice and where to find a quality expert.


Other Accounting and Finance News


Top 3 reasons CFOs migrate to a cloud-based accounting system

CIO

Over the past few years, there has been a massive increase in the adoption of software-as-a-service and cloud-based accounting systems. Organizations large and small are exploring the cloud and its many advantages, but what started this trend? If a CFOs had a choice between changing core accounting system and being attacked by a swarm of bees – I suspect that most might go with the bees and suffer the consequences. In this blog series, we cover the top five reasons organizations are moving to the cloud despite their risk adverse nature. Reason #1: The current vendor no longer supports the product. Cloud applications are here to stay. In the next few years, the vast majority of companies will be running their back office systems in the cloud.


ADP Finds Private Sector Added 205,000 Jobs in January

Accounting Today

Private sector employment grew by 205,000 jobs in January, according to payroll giant ADP, in another healthy sign of employment growth despite a turbulent stock market. ADP reported Wednesday that small businesses added 79,000 jobs in January, including 47,000 at businesses with between one and 19 employees and 32,000 at businesses with between 20 and 49 employees. The 79,000 jobs added in January were down from December’s upwardly revised total of 101,000. Employment at midsize businesses with between 50 and 499 employees increased by 82,000 jobs, an increase from December's upwardly revised gain of 77,000 jobs. Employment at large companies—those with 500 or more employees—grew by 44,000 jobs, representing half of December’s downwardly revised gain of 88,000 jobs. Businesses with between 500 and 999 employees added 15,000 jobs in December, while companies with 1,000 employees or more gained 30,000 jobs.


Earning Money in the Sharing Economy Can Complicate Your Taxes

Time

Many newcomers to the gig economy end up scrambling at tax time. Uncle Sam is waiting for his cut from American taxpayers, including those who participate in the so-called sharing economy – doing side gigs like renting out their apartments, driving for Uber or running random errands for strangers on TaskRabbit.com. According to a recent data, Intuit Inc, the owner of the TurboTax tax-preparation software, estimates that 3.2 million Americans are already part of the sharing economy, with the number expected to grow to 7.6 million by 2020. The key to what a person owes is in a 1099-K tax statement which details their earnings. It then sets off a cascade of other tax forms, like the Schedule C, which taxpayers use to offset the income with allowable expenses.


Technical difficulties hit IRS in the midst of tax season

CNN Money

Talk about bad timing. Technical difficulties have hit the Internal Revenue Service as people across the United States are trying to file their 2015 taxes. The agency said Wednesday it experienced a hardware failure that brought down some of its tax processing systems, including the one that enables people to file their returns electronically. The IRS said it was trying to fix the problems but warned some of the systems were likely to remain down until Thursday. The IRS isn't exactly at the cutting edge of tech. Thanks to persistent budget cuts, the agency's efforts to modernize its technologies have been held up, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a Senate panel in February 2015. "We're running applications we were running when John F. Kennedy was president," Koskinen told lawmakers when asked why there had been a delay in sending out new tax identification numbers to victims of identity theft.


Investors Shun Bank Stocks

Wall Street Journal

Investors are sending a clear message to the big U.S. banks: We don’t believe you. Despite a series of pronouncements from bank executives expressing confidence in the health of Wall Street and the broader economy, investors on Wednesday extended a prolonged rout in financial shares. The KBW Nasdaq Bank index of U.S. bank stocks has fallen 16% since the start of 2016, more than double the drop in the S&P 500 Index. On Wednesday, financial stocks in the S&P fell nearly 3% before ending the day down less than 0.1%. Indeed, many bank stocks didn’t fully participate in a midday reversal that drove the broader market higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 183.12 points, or 1.1%, to 16336.66, while the S&P 500 added 9.50 points, or 0.5%, to 1912.53—ending a two-day skid for both.


The Year-Round Tax Problem

Accounting Today

While this is the time of the year when income taxes capture everyone’s attention, sales and use taxes make themselves annoying all the time. The ubiquity and variety of these sales and use taxes creates problems for everyone — the customer, your client and your practice. While most accounting software today provides at least some modicum of sales tax tracking, unless your client conducts business in a single taxing authority with fixed rates on all taxable items, the integral sales tax capabilities of many products are just not going to do the job, so your clients (and you) may still need to have a research service in place to determine the taxability of transactions. And that doesn’t begin to address the necessity of dealing with non-taxable entities such as nonprofits, which have sales tax exemption certificates. If your client has dealings with many entities that have exemptions from sales and use taxes, a software application that stores and tracks exemptions might be worth investing in.


Phishing Scams Target Taxpayers

CPA Practice Advisor

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These “phishing” schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2016 filing season. Criminals pose as a person or organization you trust and/or recognize. They may hack an email account and send mass emails under another person’s name.  They may pose as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate but contain phony log-in pages. These criminals hope victims will take the bait to get the victim’s money, passwords, Social Security number and identity. "Criminals are constantly looking for new ways to trick you out of your personal financial information so be extremely cautious about opening strange emails," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.


Fed’s Brainard Makes Case for ‘Watchful Waiting’

Wall Street Journal

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard thinks there are strong reasons to go slowly on further interest-rate increases. That opinion is an important one: The 54-year-old economist is emerging as a significant influence at an uncertain time for monetary policy and market tumult, and her arguments have traction with the Fed’s leadership. Her concern is that stresses in emerging markets including China and slow growth in developed economies could spill over to the U.S. “This translates into weaker exports, business investment and manufacturing in the United States, slower progress on hitting the inflation target, and financial tightening through the exchange rate and rising risk spreads on financial assets,” Ms. Brainard said Monday in response to questions from The Wall Street Journal.


Investors Cast Wary Eye on Fed Rate Increases

Wall Street Journal

Investors are rethinking their expectations for interest-rate increases this year, converging on a view that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise rates in March and possibly not even for the rest of the year. The shift was evident in a broad decline in the dollar on Wednesday and in the sharp drop this year in U.S. Treasury yields. Futures markets now are predicting there is little chance that the Fed will raise interest rates at its meeting next month and a less-than-even chance that it will raise rates this year, a sharp reversal from six weeks ago. Some analysts have been rolling back their predictions for Fed rate increases, a gauge closely ­followed by investors because of its implications for the health of the US economy. Goldman Sachs economists said they no longer expected the Fed to raise rates next month, citing soft economic data and tighter financial conditions as a result of the rise over the past year of the US dollar.