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Tax & Accounting Update

Tax & Accounting Update is provided by Thomson Reuters and based on material published on Checkpoint, its online news and research platform. The Update is a quick-reference guide to the most pressing issues coming down the regulatory and administrative pipeline. Visit https://tax.thom-sonreuters.com/daily-newsstand/ for further information and daily updates.

Tax News

IRS reduces refundable small business healthcare tax credit.

The IRS has revealed that small tax-exempt employers claiming the refundable portion of the small business healthcare tax credit under IRC section 45R will see a 6.8% reduction in the amount of their refund payments. The reduction is a required “sequestration” spending cut under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Reduction Act of 1985. The sequestration reduction rate will be applied unless and until a law is enacted that cancels or otherwise impacts the sequester, at which time the rate is subject to change.

SEC News

Lawmakers push for stronger scrutiny of climate change disclosures.

On October 29, Democrats in Congress urged the SEC to step up its effort to make sure that public companies disclose the risks they face from more damaging storms and rising temperatures and sea levels. “The effects of climate change can pose material and evolving challenges for many companies and investors deserve access to complete and accurate information,” said the letter's lead author, Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee. “Our markets work best when investors have access to reliable information, and we should have every confidence that the SEC is robustly enforcing the disclosure regulations on the books.”

JOBS Act crowdfunding rules approved.

On October 30, the SEC approved its crowdfunding rules under the JOBS Act, opening the doors for startups to raise equity financing online through groups of investors. The decision comes two years after the rules were proposed, and are scheduled to become effective six months after they are published in the Federal Register. Funding portals, which will be used to sell securities to investors, have until January 29, 2016, to register with the SEC.


Details emerge for income tax disclosure proposal.

FASB has approved the main points for an upcoming proposal that will ask businesses to give investors more details in the notes to the financial statement about domestic and foreign tax payments. The proposal is slated to include a requirement to provide information about changes in tax law and their effect on the company. The board also said businesses will have to provide notes that explain how they reported their deferred tax liabilities, what they paid in foreign and domestic taxes, and how much of their deferred taxes they expect to pay.


Standing Advisory Group to discuss audit quality measures.

The PCAOB's Standing Advisory Group is scheduled to discuss the regulatory board's project to establish a set of measurements for assessing the quality of an auditor's work at its next meeting on November 12–13. In July, the board published Release 2015-005, which spells out 28 indicators of audit quality and covers three broad categories dealing with audit professionals, the auditing process, and the quality of audited financial statements. The group also plans to discuss the board's efforts to update its standards governing the use of specialists, such as appraisers and actuaries.


Proposal offers guidance for assessing materiality.

On October 28, the IASB released a proposal to help companies determine when information is important enough to include in the financial statements. The proposal attempts to clarify the characteristics of materiality, which should be the basis for management's decision to include information in financial reports. “Financial statements are meant to be a means of communication, and should not be viewed as a mere compliance exercise,” IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in a statement.

2019 effective date set for lease accounting standard.

Businesses will have an estimated three years between publication of the IASB's much-anticipated lease accounting standard and its effective date. On October 20, the board agreed to a long implementation period because of the significance of the forthcoming changes, the breadth of the changes, and a scheduling conflict with the other significant standards that will become effective in 2018.


Pension accounting proposal aims to simplify reporting for multiemployer plans.

GASB proposed a limited set of amendments to its pension guidance to simplify the reporting for some multiemployer pension plans. The proposal seeks to help state and local governments by focusing employer accounting and financial reporting requirements for some multiemployer pensions on the information that is available to them.

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