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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR MONDAY - 12.5.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Dec 5, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Michelle Staebell (Rochester)
Year-end tax tips for 2016
WROC Rochester First
CPA Michelle Staebell from the New York State Society of CPAs discussed some year-end tax tips Monday on News 8 at Sunrise. "There's so many decisions happening right now," said Staebell. "For employees, they can elect retirement contributions for next year, their health savings accounts, deductible benefits for their child care expenses, and flex savings accounts. All these things will effect 2017 returns but the decisions have to be now." Staebell discussed health insurance considerations.  "As far as we can tell, the Affordable Care Act is going to be in place and everyone needs to have health insurance," she said.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories

In the Weeds: The Cannabis Industry Needs Accountants
Accounting Today
This year, the major accounting technology conference Accountex (formerly SleeterCon) happened concurrently – and down the street from – the largest cannabis industry conference in the United States, the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Seemingly an unrelated coincidence, the timing turned out to be kismet: Accountex attendee Penny Breslin, a financial technology consultant based in San Diego, found herself fielding questions from Expo attendees asking whether she “knew any good accountants.” As it turns out, Breslin told me, the marijuana business is in desperate need of accounting (and legal) services as the drug becomes legal state by state at a rapid pace.

Taxes Under Trump: Almost Everyone Pays Less and the Richest Pay a Lot Less
Wall Street Journal
Steven Mnuchin, the likely next Treasury secretary, this week said rich U.S. taxpayers won’t get “an absolute tax cut” under President-elect Donald Trump. But that is not what Mr. Trump says in his taxation plan. In fact, under his approach the wealthy would receive an average tax cut of about $215,000 per household, experts say. In Mr. Trump’s plan, Americans in different income ranges would divide up several hundred billion dollars of revenue cuts for 2017.

Why a new agreement on 421-a isn't a done deal
Crain’s New York Business
You may have heard there is a deal to reinstate the controversial 421-a tax break that would require builders to include a significant percentage of low-rent units and for some developers to pay specified wages to construction workers. “Deal,” it turns out, isn’t exactly the right word. Here’s the story—and you can decide what is. “Deal” was in all the early-November headlines when Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Real Estate Board of New York and construction unions supposedly agreed on terms.

Seven Crazy Tax Laws Trump Should Change
Forbes
President Elect Trump and Republicans say big tax changes are coming. It's about time. The U.S. tax code is the most complex in the world, chock full of perks to special interests and social engineering. It is incomprehensible, and often produces unjust results. In 1913, our entire tax law was 27 pages. It’s now over 4 million words, 9,000 bloated pages. From 2001-2012 alone, there were 4,600 changes, more than one a day. Individuals spend 6.1 billion hours a year doing their tax filings, the equivalent of a year’s work for 3 million full-time workers. Many Fortune 500 companies manage to pay zero tax or get refunds.

Exxon CEO Now a Contender for Donald Trump’s Secretary of State
Wall Street Journal
President-elect Donald Trump is widening the circle of candidates for secretary of state and will interview more prospects this week, transition officials said, a sign that after multiple meetings with high-profile hopefuls he still isn’t sold on whom he wants as the nation’s top diplomat. Though Mr. Trump’s transition team said last week that the search had narrowed to four finalists, new candidates have emerged, including Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., one transition adviser said.

Companies Should Rethink Paying C.E.O.s Extra for Acquisitions
New York Times
Chief executives do not deserve bonuses just for going shopping. Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard, however, will now receive an extra payout if he makes a “transformative” transaction. Sensible mergers and acquisitions should be part of what chief executives are already paid for. Activision, which produces interactive games, has done well under Mr. Kotick. The company is valued at $26 billion and its stock has nearly tripled over the last five years as franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Skylanders have delivered solid growth. Mr. Kotick has prospered, too, receiving nearly $25 million in total compensation over the last three years.

Global Dominance of U.S. Stocks Is Boosted by Postelection Rally
Wall Street Journal
U.S. stocks have increased their share of the global equities marketplace, reflecting a dual boost from price gains and a jump in the value of their primary currency. The market capitalization of U.S. stocks, at nearly $25.2 trillion Friday, made up 40.01% of the value of global equities, according to calculations based on the latest data from FactSet. That measure touched its highest level since 2006, at 40.29%, on Nov. 23. U.S. share values dwarf those of other countries, none of which currently make up more than 10%.

Bonds Rise, Dollar Falls, Stocks Little Changed on U.S. Jobs
Bloomberg Markets
Treasuries rose, the dollar fell and stocks were little changed after the latest jobs report delivered a mixed picture on the strength of the labor market as investors assess the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates.  U.S. government bond yields slumped the most in three months, the S&P 500 Index hovered near a two-week low and the greenback dropped against major peers.

Need a Long-Term-Care Policy? Here Are Some Tips
Wall Street Journal
If you bought a long-term care policy in the past two decades, now isn’t the time to let it lapse. In the last decade, hundreds of thousands of middle-class families annually bought these policies, alleviating worries about future payments for nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and in-home aides. Since then, however, there have been double-digit-percentage rate increases, a retreat from the market by many insurance companies, and now an expected liquidation of two units of Penn Treaty American Corp.