THIS WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES
September 30, 2014
Final regs. allow deduction for local lodging expenses
Under new rules, taxpayers who pay for local lodging because their employer requires it may be able to deduct the cost as an ordinary and necessary business expense.
Board members keenly focused on risk
Corporate board members of U.S. public companies are keenly focused on risk, but many are not comfortable with their understanding of which risks the companies are willing to take, according to new PwC survey results.
September 29, 2014
IRS issues final regs. on vision, dental, and long-term-care benefits
The Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations defining when limited-scope vision, dental, and long-term-care benefits can qualify as excepted benefits not subject to the health coverage portability and nondiscrimination rules.
LAST WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES
September 26, 2014
IRS signals PPACA compliance issues for 2015
Here is an early look at what to expect from the IRS as it starts to enforce the health care reform legislation.
New nonauthoritative guidance related to management representations, EBP accounting
New Technical Questions and Answers (TPAs) have been issued and are available on the AICPA website to provide nonauthoritative guidance.
September 25, 2014
AICPA identifies problems with IRS’s electronic signature rules
Among other things, the method for verifying the identity of a taxpayer who signs remotely raises issues about preserving the privacy of taxpayer data because it seems to require tax practitioners to send taxpayer information to third-party vendors.
September 24, 2014
Doctors lack standing to challenge delay of employer mandate
The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a suit objecting to the IRS’s decision to delay imposing the Sec. 4980H employer mandate penalty until 2015.
September 23, 2014
IRS gives details of new anti-inversion rules
Following up on the Treasury Department announcement that it was prepared to act to stop corporate inversions, which involve corporate reorganizations that move assets overseas to avoid U.S. taxation, the IRS issued detailed guidance on the types of transactions it was attempting to curtail and the regulations it intended to issue to achieve that goal.
Treasury moves to curb tax inversions
The Treasury Department announced that it will take steps to curb corporate tax inversions, a growing tax minimization strategy that has been the subject of many headlines recently.
September 22, 2014
SEC expects to pay whistleblower a record $30 million
The SEC plans a record whistleblower payment of more than $30 million to an informant from outside the United States who provided valuable, original information that led to a successful enforcement action.
Auditors still responsible for going-concern evaluation under PCAOB rules
New U.S. GAAP requirements for management to assess going concern do not change public company auditors’ existing responsibilities to evaluate a company’s ability to continue as a going concern under PCAOB standards, the PCAOB said.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR SEPT. 14–20, 2014
September 19, 2014
Dispositions of property get automatic accounting method change procedures
The Internal Revenue Service issued procedures taxpayers can use to get automatic consent to accounting method changes required when they account for dispositions of tangible property. The procedures take into account changes made by recent final regulations that represent the final piece of the IRS’s update of the “repair” regulations.
Special per diem rates issued for 2014–2015 travel expenses
The IRS issued its annual updates of per diem rates for use in substantiating certain business expenses taxpayers incur when traveling away from home on or after Oct. 1. The notice contains the transportation industry meals and incidental expenses rates, the rate for the incidental-expenses-only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.
IRS announces proposed changes to cafeteria plan elections and lookback period
The IRS is proposing changes to health care coverage rules under the Affordable Care Act. The changes include a new method to calculate the lookback period when determining full-time employment for purposes of the large-employer penalty for not providing health care coverage and a proposed amendment to the rules for changing from an employer’s cafeteria plan health plan to coverage from an exchange.
Changes proposed to allocation rules for rollovers
The IRS announced that it would amend the rules that currently apply to treat distributions from retirement accounts paid in direct rollovers as separate from distributions to taxpayers. The rules govern the allocation of pretax and after-tax contribution amounts to the distributions.
September 18, 2014
Regulations update hybrid defined benefit plan rules
Hybrid pension plans, which are plans for which no individual accounts exist within the pension plans, must meet a number of rules to qualify as defined benefit plans. New proposed and final regulations issued today explain these requirements in detail.
September 16, 2014
PCC approves private company GAAP exception for certain acquired intangible assets
The Private Company Council approved a GAAP alternative that would give private companies the option to elect not to separately recognize and measure certain intangible assets required in a business combination.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR SEPT. 7–13, 2014
September 12, 2014
ASB proposes moving content of AT Section 501 into GAAS
The AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) is proposing moving a section of its attestation standards into generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS).
September 10, 2014
PFIC reporting rules do not apply to certain marked-to-market stock
Holders of stock in passive foreign investment companies (PFICs) that are usually subject to tax under the PFIC rules may be able to avoid both the taxes and the reporting requirements if they mark to market their PFIC stock under other parts of the Internal Revenue Code, the Internal Revenue Service announced.
September 9, 2014
PCAOB alert calls for auditors to focus on revenue
In a staff alert, the PCAOB urged auditors to follow the board’s standards for auditing revenue. Engagement teams and senior management team members should focus on revenue throughout the audit, the alert says.
IRS explains power-of-attorney requirements for corporate taxpayers
The Internal Revenue Service issued a directive distinguishing between corporate employees who are providing information to the IRS and those employees whose actions go further.
September 8, 2014
CPA practitioners sue to stop PTIN fees
Two CPA tax practitioners have sued the IRS over the fees the agency charges to issue and renew preparer tax identification numbers (PTINs). The plaintiffs have asked the court to prevent the IRS from charging the fees and to refund amounts already paid by practitioners.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR AUG. 31–SEPT. 6, 2014
September 4, 2014
CPAs continue to show optimism about the future of their companies
CPAs’ expectations for revenue, profit and hiring continued to rise, helping to push the CPA Outlook Index to its highest point since 2007. All nine components in the index have risen by at least four points in the past year, reflecting improved outlooks across multiple industry sectors and offsetting concerns about regulatory requirements.
September 2, 2014
AICPA seeks comment on next format of CPA exam
The AICPA released a document for public comment on what format should be taken by the next version of the Uniform CPA Examination in order to continue to reflect the skills newly licensed CPAs need.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR AUG. 24–30, 2014
August 29, 2014
FASB releases proposed 2015 GAAP taxonomy
FASB released its proposed 2015 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy and requested public comment.
Capital gain, not amount realized, determines application of 6-year collection statute
The Tax Court held that a notice of deficiency was timely issued for two tax years because the taxpayers had failed to report income that exceeded more than 25% of the gross income reported on their returns for those years and therefore the six-year statute of limitation on assessment applied.
August 28, 2014
COSO transition getting a close look from auditors
Many companies are finished with the early stages of implementation of the updated internal control framework of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). Now companies’ auditors are reviewing the work done during implementation.
August 27, 2014
Five keys to effective auditor judgment
Auditors face many challenges to their professional judgment as they make decisions that are critical to the integrity of capital markets. An effective decision-making process can enable objective, professionally skeptical judgments, according to a new Center for Audit Quality resource.
FASB defines management’s going-concern responsibilities
A new financial reporting standard issued by FASB defines management’s responsibilities for evaluating and providing footnote disclosures about whether there is substantial doubt about an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.
ARSC approves clarified and revised standards for reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements
A clarified and revised Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services addressing reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements has been approved by the AICPA’s Accounting and Review Services Committee and is expected to be issued in the fourth quarter of 2014.
August 26, 2014
IRS issues final regulations on straddles
The regulations allow an issuer’s obligation under a debt instrument to be part of a straddle if the obligation is linked to the value of personal property.
SEC names former Deloitte LLP exec Schnurr as chief accountant
James Schnurr, former vice chairman and senior professional practice director for Deloitte LLP, was named as the SEC’s new chief accountant. He replaces Paul Beswick, who is leaving to join the private sector.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR AUG. 17–23, 2014
August 22, 2014
New IRS appeals process starts Sept. 2
The Appeals Judicial Approach and Culture project aims to stop appeals officers from acting as investigators and to have them take a quasi-judicial approach to cases.
August 20, 2014
FASB proposes simpler accounting for fees paid to cloud service providers
FASB issued a proposal designed to simplify the accounting for fees that public and private companies pay as customers in cloud-computing arrangements with third-party service providers.
How CPAs can provide clients added value
Accountants have opportunities to provide forward-looking services that could create added benefits for their clients, according to a new survey.
August 19, 2014
AICPA membership eclipses 400,000
The AICPA announced that its membership has eclipsed the 400,000 mark. The accounting profession’s largest membership organization worldwide has seen its number of members grow 25% in the past 20 years.
SEC will scrutinize municipal advisers’ rules compliance
The SEC is launching a new initiative that will examine whether municipal advisers are following new rules and regulations.
FASB share-based payments standard challenges private companies
Although a review found that FASB’s share-based payments standard achieves its purpose, private company stakeholders told a post-implementation review team that the standard is sometimes difficult for them to understand and costly to apply.
PCAOB requests comments on auditing accounting estimates and fair value measurements
The PCAOB is seeking input as it weighs possible standard-setting activities related to auditing accounting estimates and fair value measurements.
August 18, 2014
PCAOB calls for improvement in audits of brokers and dealers
The PCAOB urged audit firms to review independence rules and areas with frequent inspection findings related to audits of brokers and dealers. The board’s guidance was issued as a result of the most recent findings from its interim inspection program.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR AUG. 10–16, 2014
August 14, 2014
IRS clarifies retailers’ computation of ending inventory value
The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday issued final regulations governing the retail-inventory method of accounting. The new rules clarify how retailers should handle sales-based vendor allowances and vendor markdown allowances when valuing inventory.
Regs. govern dispositions of depreciable property
Regulations issued provide the final piece of the Internal Revenue Service’s recent overhaul of the tangible property or “repair” regulations.
August 13, 2014
IASB official: Global accounting standards are “achievable,” “inevitable”
Ian Mackintosh, vice-chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), said that the goal of global accounting standards is achievable. Mackintosh said the pace of globalization in business makes adoption of a unified set of standards “inevitable.”
NEWS HEADLINES FOR AUG. 3–9, 2014
August 7, 2014
AICPA seeks feedback on private-entity audit quality initiative
The AICPA released a discussion paper seeking input on its Enhancing Audit Quality initiative, a major effort to coordinate resources and improve performance of private entities, which are defined as non-SEC registrants, including not-for-profits, employee benefit plans, and governmental entities.
Final rules issued on IRS whistleblower awards
The new rules broaden the definition of “collected proceeds” (which determines the amount of the award to the whistleblower) and allow the IRS to take into account not just actual revenues collected but the effect of the reduction of tax attributes such as net operating losses as a result of the whistleblower's information.
August 4, 2014
Proposed new guidance outlines 12 principles for internal auditing
Proposed changes to guidance followed by internal auditors include a new mission statement and a set of 12 core principles that highlight what effective internal auditing looks like in practice.