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NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR FRIDAY - 2.5.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Feb 5, 2016

3 Biggest Trends in Accounting Technology for 2016

Accounting Web

The world of accounting software is just like the world of retail in this regard. What accounting software companies and accountants want is to sell more things and to keep us coming back for more. In 2016, those two ideas are going to drive most of the change we see in the market. At SleeterCon last November, I had a chance to see the newest and greatest little tricks coming down the pipeline, and they’re all designed to make your life easier while keeping you closer to software companies. I’m actually upbeat about this year in accounting technology. The space has lagged behind many of its colleagues, with change taking its sweet time to sweep through. This year looks like it could be the year accounting finally gets things in gear and starts to take itself a little more seriously.


Update: IRS Website Back Online, Tax Refunds Unaffected

Forbes

Yesterday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that several of the services and tools on the IRS website at www.irs.gov were not working. The IRS confirmed that there had been a hardware failure affecting several parts of the site. So what’s the status today? Here’s the latest on the IRS system outages. First, a quick update from IRS. Earlier this afternoon, an IRS spokesperson issued the following statement: IRS teams continued working throughout the night and this morning on the system outage, and many of our tools and applications came back up this morning, including “Where’s My Refund” on IRS.gov. We are continuing our work and analysis of our return processing system; we hope to have that back up again running at some point today. We will provide a further update later today. While the e-file system for individual and business returns remains unavailable, the IRS reminds taxpayers they can still prepare and file tax returns as they normally would.


IRS And The Tea Party - Scandal Enters A New Millennium

Forbes

Big milestone over at the Tax Prof yesterday.  The IRS Scandal, a day by day chronicle, has hit 1,000.  The event is marked by a an article in The College Fix titled – “The IRS Scandal, Day 1000: Every single day for nearly three years prof chronicles IRS scandal”-.  I was most pleased with this passage referring to Day 883, “It’s the day it was suggested in Forbes that his blog had “jumped the shark.” That suggestion.  That was I. That was me.  That was the author of this blog. The Ever Enlarging Scandal - My objections to the day by day scandal narrative is that the string has often been maintained by stories that barely have a tenuous relationship to what I call the “core scandal” – delays and excessive questioning in the handling of tax-exempt applications of Tea Party and similar groups.  My choice for the shark jumping day was Day 880 which was a story about Ben Carson calling for the IRS to immediately revoke the exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations because of its statement about his candidacy.


Fraudsters Undeterred by IRS's New Security Measures

Accounting Today

The Internal Revenue Service’s new security measures this tax season to counter identity theft and tax fraud appear to be having little impact so far on criminals, according to a security expert who monitors the online chat rooms where fraudsters swap taxpayers’ sensitive personal and financial information. SecurityScorecard, a computer security service based in New York City, has detected a significant spike in chatter relating to IRS tax fraud this tax season, as in past years. “Since it’s tax season again, we’re noticing again that they are focusing on defrauding the IRS and more specifically defrauding U.S. taxpayers and the services that they use to process their tax returns in order to basically fill prepaid cards and cash them out with the returns before the actual person is able to,” said SecurityScorecard chief research officer Alex Heid.


IRS Changes Allocation Rules for Partners' Foreign Taxes

Bloomberg BNA

The special rule for preferential allocations of creditable foreign tax expenditures in a partnership applies only to allocations to a partner that are deductible under foreign law, and not to other items that give rise to deductions under foreign law, the IRS said in temporary and proposed rules. The guidance, under tax code Section 704(b), is intended to clear up ambiguities in the way partnerships address creditable foreign tax expenditures, or CFTEs. The final and temporary regulations (T.D. 9748, RIN 1545-BM57) make some substantive changes and are necessary to improve the operation of an existing safe harbor used to determine if allocations of CFTEs are in line with partners' interests, the Internal Revenue Service said Feb. 3. “The special rules were not intended to permit taxpayers to adjust or fail to adjust income in a CFTE category in a manner that distorts a partner's share of the income to which the CFTEs assigned to that category relate,” the rules, effective Feb. 4, said.


Recognize Your Tax Season Resources

CPA Trendlines

We have many resources and need to recognize that. And we need to treat each with its own importance. Even if you did everything yourself, you’d still need to rely. Your tax software company, FedEx and the Postal Service, stationery supplier, computer consultant, the Internet and email, cell phone provider and copier/scanner machine are just a few of the resources we rely on. Managing your resources well creates an aura of security and consistency to your practice. Here are some more resources that need to be managed: Staff - “I know what I mean” is a common thought when people tell others what to do. But, does the person who is going to do the work know what you mean? When you have people working for you it is important they know what to do. Your instructions must be clear enough for them to be able to do what you want them to do.


City Landlords Brace for Tax Increases

Morningstar

As landlords across New York City open the white envelopes with their official "notice of property value," many are learning they face steep increases in property taxes at a time when Mayor Bill de Blasio administration's has pushed through a rent freeze on rent-regulated apartments. Only a few weeks ago, Mr. Blasio celebrated that he had been able to leave unchanged for another year the city's overall property-tax rates as he detailed his budget plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. But for many landlords, there is another side to the story. City tax assessors have posted a 10.8% increase in preliminary assessments--and projected taxes--on apartment buildings, the biggest rise in at least two decades. That followed two years of above-average increases.


Rate Expectations: Not So Fast, Fed

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street is increasingly skeptical about the pace of Federal Reserve interest-rate increases this year, the latest blow to the central bank’s yearslong efforts to unwind its easy-money policies and return the economy to a normal footing. At the start of 2016, the market viewed the Fed as likely to deliver another interest-rate increase at its March meeting, following December’s first rise in the federal-funds rate since 2006. Fed officials have pointed to as many as four rate increases this year, while saying they would closely survey economic data before making any decision. But in recent weeks, Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. all have pushed back their forecasts for the next rate increase to June, while market-based measures of interest-rate expectations have fallen significantly.


Why the Fed Can’t Save Markets Right Now

Wall Street Journal

Investors are pretty much convinced that the Federal Reserve won't be raising rates when it meets next month. Still, the central bank might do a lot to soothe global markets if it would just come out and say that. But doing that may not be so simple. Troubled emerging economies, falling commodity prices, Troubled emerging economies, falling commodity prices, global debt strains and a rising dollar have combined to create a series of feedback that have rattled financial markets this year. The danger is that these will spill over into the U.S.