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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR TUESDAY - 3.1.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Mar 1, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

Westchester Chapter
Tax Hotline coming March 5
The Journal News
With the April 15 tax deadline looming, it’s time to dig out those folders filled with receipts, total up the income on your 1099s and consider making another contribution to your IRA. But questions may loom as you consider how to complete your 1040 and whatever other forms you need to fill out. Tax Watch, in association with the Westchester Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs, will open up our Tax Hotline on Saturday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to noon.

 

Colonel Arthur Carter (NYSSCPA Historic Mention)
A New Heroic Age
Accounting Today
All professions have their heroes and their golden ages. For accountants, it might very well be Fra Luca Pacioli enunciating the principles of double-entry bookkeeping, or Col. Arthur Carter of the New York State Society of CPAs proudly telling the Senate that no one needed to audit auditors: “Our conscience” would take care of that. That last was in 1933, during what many would consider one of accounting’s most heroic moments, when, with the economy broken and public trust in the markets at a shocking low, the profession stepped up to help underpin our financial system by attesting to the veracity of the information presented in corporate financial statements — a function the profession continues to fill almost a century later.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories 

IRS Issues 2016 Covered Compensation Tables
Bloomberg BNA
The Internal Revenue Service Feb. 22 issued compensation tables for calculating certain benefits under qualified pension, profit-sharing and stock bonus plans for plan year 2016. The tables in Revenue Ruling 2016-5 list rounded amounts of covered compensation for birth years and Social Security retirement years.

Hundreds of Local Officials Defend Municipal-Bond Tax Exemption
Wall Street Journal
The prospects for a tax overhaul this year are nil, yet hundreds of state treasurers, mayors and other officials are mobilizing to protect a cornerstone of the $3.9 trillion market for municipal debt: the tax breaks the bonds offer investors. Some 600 state and local officials are calling on Congress to stay away from taxing the interest paid to municipal-bond investors, warning the municipal market is a vital mechanism for financing schools, roads, transit systems and other infrastructure projects that create jobs.

IRS Asks Plans to Walk the Line on Determinations Shift
Bloomberg BNA
The IRS may have stepped into the retirement plan community's ring of fire when it announced changes to the determination letter program last year, but the agency wants to make the transition as smooth as possible for plans. The Internal Revenue Service decided to make changes to its determination letter program after its Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division looked at determinations and found that 63 percent of the workload during a 321-day cycle was for amended plans, and mere hours were being spent on the determinations, Victoria A. Judson, associate chief counsel with IRS’s TE/GE division, said Feb. 26.

Female Startups in New York City Are Increasing
Wall Street Journal
When Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson goes to meet with male investors, they often compliment her business and offer to mentor her. But they don’t offer to invest. “The word on the street is men get funded on potential and women get funded on progress,” said Ms. Edgecliffe-Johnson, 39 years old, founder of RaceYa, a startup that makes educational toy cars. “There’s a problem with that because it’s very hard to get progress without money.” New York City has a growing number of female-founded startups and these companies receive a higher percentage of venture-capital funding than those in other major cities.

Fuzzy-Math Accounting Chided by Buffett Gets Fresh SEC Scrutiny
Bloomberg Business
It’s generally accepted that a lot of accounting isn’t, well, generally accepted. But with more and more companies promoting bookkeeping that deviates from U.S. standards known as GAAP, for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the Securities and Exchange Commission is warning about getting too creative.

SEC Taking ‘Close Look’ at JOBS-Act-Related Offerings, Particularly Crowdfunding
ThinkAdvisor
The Securities and Exchange Commission is “giving special attention” and devoting separate agency staff to crowdfunding-related initiatives set in motion by the JOBS Act, and is in full swing in implementing exams targeting retirement planning and ETFs. The SEC’s enforcement division as well as other agency divisions, including the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, is “taking a close look” at Rule 506(c) private as well as Reg A+ offerings under the JOBS Act, Vincente Martinez, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Office of Market Intelligence, said at the IA Watch compliance summit in Washington Friday.

Jamie Dimon on Finance: ‘Who Owns the Future?’
Bloomberg Business
What is the future of finance? Will Silicon Valley challenge Wall Street? Can China build global banks? There are few better places to contemplate such questions than Jamie Dimon’s office, high in JPMorgan Chase’s headquarters in New York City above Park Avenue. It’s now more than three decades since Dimon, the son and grandson of stockbrokers, teamed with Sandy Weill at American Express. Together they helped transform the financial industry—first at Travelers and then with Citigroup. Ousted by his mentor, Dimon became chief executive officer of Bank One, which he later sold to JPMorgan. In Dimon’s 10 years as CEO,

FASB Sees Dissent on New Leasing Standard
Accounting Today
Not everyone is hailing the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s new lease accounting standard, including one FASB member who voted against the standard, and a key investor group that has also expressed qualms. FASB released the long-awaited leasing standard last week after a decade of work with the International Accounting Standards Board as one of their major convergence projects (see FASB Releases Lease Accounting Standard). Near the end of Section B of the new leasing standard, on page 331, is the summary of a dissent from longtime FASB member Marc Siegel. While the other six board members voted to affirm the standard,

The Next Dodd-Frank Headache for Banks: Living Wills
Wall Street Journal
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act contained more than 365,000 words, but the next big headache for Wall Street banks may turn on just one: “credible.” The question is whether America’s largest banks have drawn up credible plans for winding down their operations without taxpayer help if they start to fail. The “living will” requirement was set up by Dodd-Frank to head off future taxpayer bailouts, and when the largest U.S. banks first received individual feedback on their plans in 2014, they came up short. 

New Set of Skills Sought for Investor Relations
Wall Street Journal
Steve Waldis hit on an increasingly popular way to help soothe anxious shareholders after his company’s stock fell 40% in a single year. The chief executive of Synchronoss Technologies Inc. hired a former stock analyst to head investor relations. Daniel Ives, who started the job two weeks ago, is helping shareholders “see the forest through the trees,” said Mr. Waldis. Before Mr. Ives, Synchronoss, a software and cloud-technology company based in Bridgewater, N.J., outsourced investor-relations duties. These days, more companies are turning to Wall Street analysts, as well as other seasoned financial hands, to manage their dealings with shareholders.