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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.thomsonreuters.com/checkpoint-news/ for further information and daily updates.

Tax News

IRS warns tax professionals of new e-services e-mail scam.

The IRS has issued an urgent alert to tax professionals who use IRS e-Services to beware of an e-mail asking them to update their accounts and directing them to a fake website. The fraudulent e-mail comes from “Your e-Services Team” and bears the subject line “Security Awareness for Tax Professionals.” It has both an IRS logo and an e-Services logo that hyper-links to a verified phishing site that poses as an e-Services registration page. Users who have already clicked on the fake logo and provided their user name and password should contact the e-Services help desk to reset their accounts. If the same password is used for other accounts, these should be changed as well. As an extra precaution, users should perform a deep security scan on their computers, reevaluate their security controls, and be alert to any other signs of identity theft or data compromise.

SEC News

Regulators want disclosures for revenue standard to explain accounting judgments.

SEC officials continue to remind public companies that they want to see detailed note disclosures in regulatory filings about the adoption of FASB's new revenue recognition standard. Regulators are particularly interested in seeing disclosures that explain the accounting judgments behind the decisions affecting the reported revenue. Wesley Bricker, the SEC's interim chief accountant, told the Practicing Law Institute's Annual Institute on Securities Regulation in New York on November 2 that regulators want companies to explain their accounting decisions in the disclosures. “There's significant content, certainly from the regulatory perspective,” Bricker said.


Comment letters on standards-setting priorities ask for limited agenda.

Businesses, trade groups, and accounting firms writing to FASB about the board's standards-setting priorities have sung a common refrain: Slow down and set limits. Many comment letters responding to FASB's “Invitation to Comment, Agenda Consultation” stress the need for time to implement major accounting standards before the board begins work on new amendments. FASB's agenda consultation document, released in August, asked the public about whether it should try to address four areas that have long frustrated accountants: intangible assets, pensions and other post-retirement benefits, the distinction between liabilities and equity, and performance reporting and cash flows.

Revenue advisory panel stresses use of judgment in applying new revenue standard.

Businesses that have grown accustomed to recognizing revenue from customer contracts all at once under existing GAAP should not presume that they can continue the same practice once FASB's new revenue standard goes into effect, according to the participants in a November 7 meeting of the board's Transition Resource Group (TRG). The standard, which goes into effect for public companies in 2018, says that a business satisfies its obligations when it transfers control of the asset to the customer. The standard includes criteria to determine whether a business transfers control over time or at a point in time. “In the staff's view, this is very clear,” FASB assistant project manager Aarika Friend said.


Investor Advisory Group splits on audits of non-GAAP measures.

On October 27, the PCAOB's Investor Advisory Group (IAG) was unable to form a consensus about whether the audit regulator should formally address the use of non-GAAP measures. More companies and investors are making use of the numbers, but more regulatory officials and investors are growing worried that they may be misleading. “At some point there's going to be a day of reckoning,” one IAG member warned.


IFRS Interpretations Committee agrees to finalize guidance for uncertain tax positions.

The IFRS Interpretations Committee has agreed to finalize amendments to its income tax guidance addressing uncertain tax positions. The draft version of the amendments asks whether the uncertain tax positions should be considered separately or collectively, whether the tax agency that is authorized to examine the reported amounts will have full knowledge of all the information related to them during its examination of an entity's financial statements, and the likelihood that the tax agency will accept the amounts reported in the financial statements. The committee agreed to make the amendments effective in 2019, and it also agreed to permit early adoption. The IASB staff expects to have the final amendment published in the second quarter of 2017.

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