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The Daily

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR WEDNESDAY - 12.14.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Dec 14, 2016

NYSSCPA Members in the News

NYSSCPA Marijuana Symposium
Savino: Sessions could throw medical marijuana programs into 'disarray'
POLITICO
State Sen. Diane Savino, the chamber's sponsor of the state's Compassionate Care Act, said Tuesday she is concerned about the new administration's impact on medical marijuana laws. "While the current president-elect, Donald Trump, has not said anything hostile about medical marijuana and, in fact, his comments have been pretty positive about medical marijuana ...his selection for Attorney General is a real concern for myself, and I know for people in the industry," Savino, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, said during a panel discussion sponsored by the New York State Society of CPAs.

David Barral (Manhattan/Bronx)
Why New Yorkers are rushing to divorce before New Year’s Day
New York Post
"Santa baby, slip a divorce judgment under the tree, for me. While January is known as “Divorce Month” across the U.S. because couples typically wait until after the holidays to say “I Don’t” — New Yorkers rush to finalize their pending divorce cases in December, to cash in on income tax savings. “If you’re divorced as of 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31st you can file as single for the entire year,” said Manhattan divorce lawyer Susan Moss.

NYSSCPA Marijuana Symposium
IGC’s CEO to Participate as Panelist at NY CPA Society Marijuana Symposium
Nasdaq Global Newswire
India Globalization Capital, Inc. announces today that Ram Mukunda, CEO of IGC, will participate as a panelist at the New York State Society of CPAs’ Marijuana Symposium to be held Dec. 13 in New York City.  To date, 28 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use. The Compassionate Care Act was passed in New York State in July 2014, allowing the controlled use of medical marijuana.

Other Accounting and Financial News Stories

Will Estate Tax Valuation Rules Survive Under Trump?
Bloomberg BNA
A pervasive thought on Capitol Hill and among trade groups is that the IRS’s unpopular estate tax rules on valuation discounts could get pulled when Donald Trump takes office, but it is unclear whether they will disappear for good. The proposed guidance under tax code Section 2704 was intended to stem abuses in which valuation discounts were being used solely to avoid paying estate tax on transfers of interests in closely held businesses.

Dow’s Rise Puts It Near 20000 Milestone
Wall Street Journal
The Dow Jones Industrial Average came tantalizingly close to 20000 Tuesday, climbing within 50 points of the milestone before paring gains in afternoon trading. The blue-chip index, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at records, the sixth such trifecta since the U.S. election. The stock market has rallied as investors bet that President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals to cut corporate taxes and ramp up fiscal stimulus would accelerate growth.

Report Shows Worst Corporate Tax Havens
CPA Practice Advisor
Bermuda, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg are among the world’s 15 worst corporate tax havens, according to new Oxfam research published today.  The report ‘Tax Battles,’ reveals how these tax havens are leading a global race to the bottom on corporate tax that is starving countries out of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality.

SEC’s Bricker: CPAs Play Vital Role in US Capital Markets
AccountingWEB
Newly appointed US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker made clear in a far-ranging speech last week that high-quality financial information is the lifeblood of the capital markets and every aspect of the US economy. “Our markets are strong. In 2015 alone, businesses raised $2.27 trillion of funding in the US capital markets, and by one estimate, the US capital markets accounted for 42 percent of the global bond market and 40 percent of global equity market capitalization,” Bricker said during the American Institute of CPAs’ Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington, DC, on Dec. 5.

IRS’s Budget Likely ‘Miserable’ for 2017 and Beyond
Bloomberg BNA
The Internal Revenue Service’s budget for 2017, perhaps unsurprisingly, doesn’t look too pretty. President Barack Obama on Dec. 10 signed a continuing budget resolution to fund the federal government through April 28, meaning funding will continue at 2016 levels. While a flat budget may be better than a cut, it is still detrimental to an agency that has had its funding reduced by $900 million since 2010.

Debt and Equity Financings: A Primer to Prevent Accounting Surprises
Accounting Today
Organizations seeking funding have much to think about, and the long-term accounting considerations related to the debt and equity instruments they issue is not likely at the top of that list. However, as many common terms and provisions give rise to unknown or unexpected accounting consequences, a basic understanding of these provisions can set the stage for the practical requirements going forward.

Two-Year U.S. Government Bond Yield Rises to Six-Year High; Rate Increase Seen
Wall Street Journal
The yield on the two-year U.S. government note rose to a six-year high Tuesday as investors prepare for the likelihood of an interest-rate increase by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. Short-term debt bore the brunt of the selling as their yields are highly sensitive to the Fed’s interest-rate policy outlook. The yield on the two-year note was 1.169% late Tuesday, compared with 1.143% Monday. It marks the yield’s highest close since April 2010. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

FATCA: Final Deadline to Obtain a GIIN for Sponsored Investment Funds
JD Supra Business Advisor
Under transitional relief, certain non-U.S. investment funds, including certain Cayman Islands funds, which qualify as foreign financial institutions (FFIs), did not have to obtain a Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN); instead, they were permitted to certify their status under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to withholding agents by providing the GIIN of a FATCA sponsor. As of January 1, 2017, sponsored FFIs should expect FATCA withholding agents (including prime brokers, custodians and International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) counterparties) to require withholding tax forms that include a separate GIIN for both the FATCA sponsor and the sponsored FFI.

Big Banks Fight to Block Crisis-Era Lawsuits From Continuing
New York Times
Big banks are fighting tens of billions of dollars of potential legal costs linked to at least a dozen pending lawsuits arising from the financial crisis. Now they want the Supreme Court to weigh in, arguing that regulators took too long to file their claims. A handful of banks, including Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, have asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court decision that said the regulators filed their claims on time despite a Depression-era securities law that gave them only a three-year window.

Companies Manage With No CEO
Wall Street Journal
Are chief executives necessary? Swiss watch-and-jewelry maker Cie. Financière Richemont SA recently decided its answer, announcing last month that CEO Richard Lepeu won’t have a successor when he steps down in 2017. Richemont joins a rare group of companies operating without a single top boss. DPR Construction and software maker Peakon rely on committees and consensus to govern themselves, structures that their leaders say boost collaboration and enhance decision-making at all levels.

Don’t Race Through IRS Restructuring, Agency Chief Says
Bloomberg BNA
Lawmakers should take their time when considering a reshuffle of the Internal Revenue Service, instead of plowing ahead with changes as part of tax overhaul efforts next legislative session, the agency commissioner said in an interview with Bloomberg BNA. The IRS would be broken up into three “units,” according to a GOP proposal released in June. But the document—meant to serve as a marker of priorities—ignores critical agency areas such as criminal investigation, tax-exempt entities and the National Taxpayer Advocate, and glosses over the need for some enforcement abilities, Commissioner John Koskinen said Dec. 13.