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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR TUESDAY - 3.29.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Mar 29, 2016
NYSSCPA Members in the News

Anthony Mangiameli (Rochester)
What to do if you owe taxes
WROC Rochester First
CPA Anthony Mangiameli of Insero & Company discussed your options if you owe money to the government after filing your income tax return Monday on News 8 at Sunrise. Mangiameli said the best advice is to file on time and pay as much as as possible to avoid a late filing penalty. You can pay by phone, online, check or money order.  If you don't have any cash, you can get a loan or use a credit card to pay for your taxes.

Other Accounting and Finance News Stories

Wait Times Are Down, But IRS Still Faces Serious Challenges
Wall Street Journal
Christine Giovetti, an accountant in Catonsville, Md., has heard more than her share of “One to One,” the IRS’s saccharine hold music. “You get tired of it, no matter how nice it is,” she said. The good news for taxpayers during this year’s tax-filing season is that she and others are hearing fewer repeats from the royalty-free song collection called “Fresh Optimism.”

The IRS just paid out a record $40 billion in tax refunds in a single day
Business Insider
The Internal Revenue Service made an astonishingly large number of people happy on February 10. On that day, the IRS paid out $40 billion in tax refunds, a record for the largest one-day payout ever according to JP Morgan Economist Daniel Silver. "The IRS had some technical and security issues early in this tax season which likely delayed the processing of tax returns and caused some people to postpone their filings," said Silver in a recent note to clients.

IRS Improves Phone Call Responsiveness
Accounting Today
“So far this filing season, the level of service on our toll-free help lines is over 70 percent, and the average for the entire filing season will probably be at or above 65 percent, which is a vast improvement over last year,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters during a speech last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Last December Congress approved $290 million in additional funding for the IRS for fiscal year 2016, earmarking the funds for improving taxpayer service, strengthening cybersecurity and expanding efforts against identity theft.

Regulator Moves to Create New Fintech Framework
Wall Street Journal
One of the top U.S. banking regulators will issue a formal call this week for officials to start crafting a new framework aimed at governing the rapidly growing financial-technology sector—a nod to complaints from traditional banks and startups alike that current rules both stifle innovation and provide insufficient oversight for new forms of finance. “What we’re talking about now is receptivity to exploring these issues and understanding these different models as opposed to saying ‘no’ right off the bat,” Amy Friend, chief counsel with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Investors Put Tax Season to Good Use
ThinkAdvisor
Tax season is a dreaded time of year for some people, but many others use the time to focus on their broader financial circumstances. A new poll released by Charles Schwab found that 47% of investors surveyed (and 50% of those with $250,000 or more in assets) believed tax planning and financial planning were one and the same activity, and 44% said tax planning significantly influenced how they invested and managed their wealth over time. Koski Research interviewed 1,066 general investors in mid-February, using a third-party online panel. Participants were screened to ensure they had minimum investable assets of $50,000.

IAASB Revises Auditing Standard on Summary Financial Statements
Accounting Today
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has released ISA 810 (Revised), Engagements to Report on Summary Financial Statements. The standard deals with the auditor’s responsibilities relating to an engagement to report on summary financial statements derived from financial statements audited in accordance with International Standards on Auditing, or ISAs, by that same auditor.

Companies Invent Their Own Performance Benchmarks
Wall Street Journal
Adobe Systems Inc., which built its reputation on getting people to buy its photo and video-editing software, says it will no longer tell the public how many customers it has. About two-thirds of Adobe’s revenue comes from online subscriptions, instead of packaged discs. Still, the company eliminated quarterly subscriber numbers in favor of reporting “annualized recurring revenue,” a performance indicator that combines subscription fees with corporate contracts. “What I don’t want, frankly, is to mislead investors with this huge subscriber number,” said Adobe finance chief Mark Garrett. Adobe is just the latest company to change the way it defines success.

Criminals Accessed IRS Taxpayer Info 720,000 Times in 2015
The Fiscal Times
Back in February 2015, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen disclosed that unauthorized individuals or groups had illegally gained access to sensitive taxpayer information such as Social Security numbers, birthdates and street addresses. In all, Koskinen said, about 100,000 tax accounts from its “Get Transcript” application were tampered with by criminals. But an August update found that the number of taxpayer accounts violated was closer to 114,000.

SASB Debuts Advisory Partner Program
Accounting Today
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has launched an Advisory Partner Program to encourage corporate and investor application of SASB's standards and guidance on sustainability accounting. SASB Advisory Partners will lend their expertise, tools and perspective to support the consideration and application of SASB standards. "Now that SASB's first set of provisional standards is nearly complete, we're increasingly focusing on supporting use of the standards by companies and investors," said SASB CEO Dr. Jean Rogers in a statement.

Speculating About FASB’S Conceptual Framework
Bloomberg BNA
Practitioners have said the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s conceptual framework of accounting standards doesn’t have direct impact on practice, because it’s simply a type of internal guide the board uses to develop accounting rules. But since the conceptual framework is an internal guide used to develop accounting rules, could the conceptual framework be more important than practitioners theorize?

Justice Department to Get More Aggressive on Employment-Tax Fraud
Wall Street Journal
The Justice Department is stepping up investigations and prosecutions of company executives who cheat on paying taxes withheld for their employees, senior officials said Monday. “Employers across the country need a loud and clear message that this is not just a civil violation—that the willful failure to comply with the employment-tax laws is a crime and we’re going to hold folks accountable,’’ said Caroline Ciraolo, the head of the Justice Department’s tax division.

Estate Denied Discounts For Marketable Security Family Limited Partnership
Forbes
Estate planners will want to take a close look at the Tax Court decision in Estate of Sarah D. Holliday.  It is an instance of the IRS attacking a family limited partnership discount and winning in a case where the execution of the plan was not really that weak.  This decision makes me nervous about getting discounts for any family limited partnership that consists solely of marketable securities. It Is All About The Discounts - I’m going to cut through the bovine excrement here and outright say that the reason for most family limited partnerships is to get substantial discounts in estate valuation.