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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR THURSDAY - 3.24.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Mar 24, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Michael Marcus, Glenn Noakes, Tracey Niemotko, James Passikoff (Mid-Hudson)
Steve Shinder (Rockland)
Dial-A-CPA night answers your tax questions
Poughkeepsie Journal
Area CPAs answered some taxing questions as they helped callers navigate their annual income tax forms Wednesday night. Questions on the annual Dial-A-CPA night ranged from deducting medical expenses and retirement contributions to whether taxpayers qualify for exemptions under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act. 

Alan Straus (Rockland)
Sell Stocks Year-Round to Minimize Tax Losses
Yahoo! Finance
Is it time to harvest some tax losses? Could be, given the volatile stock market. The strategy -- selling losing investments to reduce taxes on winners -- gets lots of attention at the end of the year. But there's no reason not to do it at the start of the year, or in the middle. Remember, Dec. 31 is just a deadline -- it's the last date for a sale that can be claimed in the return due the next April. The math works just as well no matter when you do it.

Other Accounting and Finance News Stories

2016 Presidential Election is a Factor in Business Forecasting and Budgeting for Coming Fiscal Year, Majority of Business Executives Say
Yahoo! Finance
A majority of U.S. business executives say the upcoming 2016 presidential election has an impact on their company’s business planning for the next fiscal year – but not when it comes to hiring or capital expenditures, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of CPAs. Sixty-four percent of chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other senior-level CPAs in U.S. companies polled by the AICPA in the first quarter said the outcome of the 2016 presidential election is a consideration or factor in their company’s business planning, budgeting or forecasting for the next fiscal year

Accountants to Pay $2.45M for Assisting Ponzi Scheme
The Legal Intelligencer
A federal jury has awarded $2.45 million to the bankruptcy estate of a man who is currently serving jail time for running a Ponzi scheme, finding that his accountants helped him to carry out the scheme, which affected a number of victims including several lawyers. The seven-member jury late on March 18 found in favor of plaintiff Lynn E. Feldman, trustee for the bankruptcy estates of Ira Pressman and PJI Distribution Corp.

Taxfyle Intros Tax Mobile App that Connects Millennials with CPAs
Accounting Today
A Miami-based startup has launched Taxfyle, an iPhone app aimed at Millennials that allows them to connect with a network of 300 CPAs who can help them prepare and file their taxes. The Taxfyle app is available on the Apple App Store. Users download the app, take photos of their forms if they have them, answer a few yes or no questions, and receive a quote from a CPA who will file their taxes within seven days. Customers are automatically enrolled in Taxfyle’s audit protection plan.

Goldman Places Head of U.S. Inflation Trading on Leave Amid Review
Wall Street Journal
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. put its head of U.S. inflation trading on leave as it reviews the way certain trades were booked, according to people familiar with the matter. Josh Schiffrin, who was named a partner in 2012, still is employed at the firm, the people said. He was placed on leave in January, some of the people said. Mr. Schiffrin didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. Goldman’s compliance executives are seeking to determine whether Mr. Schiffrin’s desk may have violated the firm’s policies in booking certain inflation trades, in which government bonds and their derivatives are used as hedges, the people said.

ACA Reporting: IRS Deadline of March 31 Looms for Applicable Large Employers
JD Supra Business Advisor
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes new reporting requirements on applicable large employers, generally those employers with 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees. The first deadline for the new reporting requirements is March 31, 2016. The penalties for failing to meet the 2016 deadlines were recently increased to $250 per return, up to a maximum of $6 million. Only in limited circumstances will employers be able to get these penalties abated.

RSM Launches Mid-Market Economic Business Index
CPA Practice Advisor
The national accounting firm RSM US LLP (RSM) has released the first RSM Middle Market Business Index (MMBI). Developed in partnership with Moody's Analytics, the index is designed to reflect business conditions in the U.S. middle market, while providing a statistically significant measure of the health and outlook for these businesses. RSM provides audit, tax and consulting services to the middle market. Going forward, the consultancy says the index will serve as a leading indicator for the middle market (the real economy), a vital segment of the U.S. economy that represents more than 200,000 firms, 40 million jobs and one-third of private sector gross receipts.

Tax Season Prompts Focus on Financial Planning
Accounting Today
Close to half of U.S. investors assess their broader wealth and financial situation during tax season, according to a new survey. The survey by Charles Schwab of more than 1,000 investors found that 46 percent of them said they focus on their overall wealth and financial situation when having their taxes prepared, while 41 percent of investors with a financial plan are “extremely confident” when preparing their taxes, compared to 25 percent without a plan.  More than half (59 percent) of the investors surveyed expect to receive a federal tax refund this year.

Big Investors Question Corporate Board Tenures
Wall Street Journal
Large U.S. companies increasingly are governed by board members who have held their seats for a decade or more, even as some big investors question whether these directors serve shareholders’ best interests. At 24% of the biggest U.S. companies, a majority of the board has been in place for at least 10 years, a Wall Street Journal analysis found. It is a marked changed from 2005, when long-term directors made up a board majority at 11% of large companies. One factor driving the change is low turnover among directors. “Having some long-term board members is not bad in and of itself—but too many raises red flags about the board’s independence and succession planning,” says Scott Stringer, who oversees more than $150 billion in public pension funds as the comptroller for New York City.

IRS Criminal Prosecutions Continue Downward Slide
Accounting Web
The odds of a taxpayer being recommended for criminal prosecution by the IRS have dropped to their lowest level since President Obama took office, according to new research by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). As a result of cuts to the IRS’s budget, the number of IRS matters referred to federal prosecutors decreased from 13.3 per million population in fiscal year 2013 – the highest number in the past five years – to 9.2 per million in fiscal year 2015.

Helping Online Retail Clients Become Sales Tax Compliant
Accounting Today
Selling products online (“e-tailing”) is a potential goldmine of opportunity, and technology has made it easier than ever via dynamic software platforms, intelligent fulfillment solutions, and ubiquitous mobile devices. The ease of entry into the virtual marketplace, however, does not limit the potential sales tax compliance obligations of your e-tailing clients. In fact, many states are specifically targeting e-tailers as states seek to grow their own sales tax collections.

AICPA Offers Recommendations to IRS on Country-by-Country Reporting
Accounting Today
The American Institute of CPAs has written to the Internal Revenue Service recommending some changes in the IRS’s proposed regulations for country-by-country reporting by multinational corporations of financial information to curb tax avoidance. The proposed regulations were issued last December as part of an effort by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to crack down on tax avoidance by multinational corporations. The U.S. Treasury Department has worked with the OECD and the Group of 20 nations on those efforts, which also included the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, or BEPS, action plan.

Wall Street Faces New Rules on Pay
Wall Street Journal
Wall Street bonuses are about to get locked up for even longer. As part of a hard-fought update of crisis-era compensation rules expected in April, regulators plan to require banks to hold back much of an executive’s bonus beyond the three years already adopted by many firms, people familiar with the matter said. The new holding period has yet to be determined, though it likely will be shorter than the European standard of a decade, one person familiar with the matter said. Also unclear is the portion that will be deferred. The original draft of the rules five years ago said it should be as much as 50%.