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News Headlines From the Journal of Accountancy

THIS WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES

November 21, 2014

IRS provides new rules on transit fare smart cards and debit cards
The Internal Revenue Service issued new rules on the tax treatment of smart cards and debit cards used to purchase transportation for employees.

Pope Francis on the role of accountants in society
In an address in Rome to participants of the World Congress of Accountants, Pope Francis reminded accountants that their work is a service to the community and encouraged accountants to use this perspective, along with their creativity, to tackle the urgent problems facing society.

November 20, 2014

GASB gives preliminary views on leases, fiduciary responsibilities
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued “Preliminary Views” statements proposing changes for the way state and local governments account for leases—and for activities in which they have a fiduciary responsibility.

November 19, 2014

Alert focuses on independence rules for auditors of certain nonissuers
In a joint alert, the Center for Audit Quality and the AICPA gave audit firms an overview of how SEC and PCAOB independence rules apply to audits of certain nonissuers.

GASB names board member to vice chair role
Jan Sylvis has been named to a vice chair position that has been re-created on the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

November 18, 2014

IRS finalizes rules on relief from failure to file GRAs
The IRS issued final regulations on the consequences to U.S. persons that fail to file gain recognition agreements or satisfy other reporting requirements when they transfer property to foreign corporations in certain nonrecognition transactions. Journal of Accountancy online.

FASB publishes new rules for pushdown accounting
New accounting rules published by FASB establish whether and at what threshold an acquired business or not-for-profit organization can apply pushdown accounting.

Internal auditors’ job satisfaction higher with incentive pay, survey finds
Internal auditors who receive incentives based on profits or revenue report higher job satisfaction and loyalty to their organizations without having their objectivity compromised, according to a new survey report.

November 17, 2014

Defining roles in prevention of financial reporting fraud
Fraud-resistant organizations possess an ethical culture, encourage skepticism and have all participants in the financial reporting supply chain engaged in preventing fraud, a new report says.

G-20 leaders commit to automatic exchange of tax information
The leaders of the G20 economies agreed at their Brisbane summit to start automatically exchanging tax and financial information by the end of 2018.

 

LAST WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES

November 14, 2014

Ingredients of an effective audit committee
A popular session at the 2014 World Congress of Accountants in Rome explored the changing demands being placed on the audit committee and how to ensure committee members have the right blend of skills to effectively safeguard stakeholders.

November 13, 2014

Evolving role of finance is key theme at World Congress of Accountants
In closing remarks at the World Congress of Accountants, Olivia Kirtley, CPA, CGMA, the new president of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), highlighted a key theme at the conference: Finance is increasingly taking the driver’s seat at businesses around the globe.

November 11, 2014

IRS announces transition rule for 2015 IRA rollovers
The IRS explained how the new rules will apply to rollovers occurring on or after Jan. 1, 2015, and when 2014 rollovers will be disregarded for purposes of the rule.

November 10, 2014

Regulations finalize rules on all-cash D reorganizations
Final regulations issued aim to prevent inappropriate basis allocations in all-cash D reorganizations, which are corporate reorganizations in which no stock or securities are actually exchanged.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR NOV. 2–8, 2014

November 7, 2014

Former AICPA chair named IFAC president
Olivia Kirtley, CPA, CGMA, a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ governing council and former chairwoman of the AICPA board of directors, has been elected president of the board of the International Federation of Accountants.

IRS issues regulations on allocation of E&P 
The IRS issued final rules governing the allocation of a corporation’s earnings and profits in a tax-free reorganization and defining which is the “acquiring corporation” for those purposes.

November 6, 2014

How to make corporate disclosures more effective
Corporate financial reporting in 10-K annual reports mandated by the SEC can become more effective and useful to investors by implementing 11 recommendations, a new report says.

November 5, 2014

How to take a forward-looking approach to cybersecurity
To address an increasing number of threats, organizations need to take a more anticipatory approach to cybersecurity, according to a new report.

November 4, 2014

Filing season complications loom, IRS commissioner tells AICPA
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told an AICPA conference that the 2015 filing season will be complicated and possibly delayed if Congress does not act quickly to pass extenders legislation.

Data security, regulation spark investor confidence in US stock exchanges
Investors’ confidence in U.S. stock exchanges is surging, according to a recent Center for Audit Quality survey. A new poll of investors examines the reasons behind the surge.

November 3, 2014

2014 MAP survey: Firms experience growth, stock up on cash
U.S. accounting firms posted small but steady gains in net client revenue from 2012 to 2013, according to the 2014 National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR OCT. 26–NOV. 1, 2014

October 31, 2014

GASB proposes disclosures for tax abatements by governments
New accounting rules proposed Friday by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board would require disclosures of tax abatements that governments provide to businesses and individuals.

IRS proposes to change treatment of partnership items under Sec. 751
The Internal Revenue Service released regulations that would change the rules that apply to a partner when the partner reduces its interest in unrealized receivables and inventory items.

October 30, 2014

IRS releases 2015 inflation adjustments
The IRS issued its annual revenue procedure adjusting various tax items for inflation, including the income tax tables and the amounts for various tax credits.

District court dismisses AICPA lawsuit against IRS
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion dismissing the AICPA’s lawsuit against the IRS seeking to halt the IRS’s Annual Filing Season Program for tax return preparers.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR OCT. 19–25, 2014

October 24, 2014

Defined contribution plans can offer deferred annuities to older participants
The annuities must be held in “target date funds” that meet a series of requirements spelled out in the notice.

October 23, 2014

Pension plan limitations are increased for inflation
The IRS annually adjusts the limitations on pension plan contributions in cases where cost-of-living increases meet the statutory requirements for inflation adjustment.

Standards revised for reviews, compilations, engagements to prepare financial statements
Accounting (preparation) and reporting (compilation) services will be separated by a bright line as a result of clarified and revised standards released by the AICPA Accounting and Review Services Committee.

Social Security Administration announces 2015 wage base
The Social Security Administration announced that the maximum amount of wages subject to taxes for old age, survivors, and disability insurance will go up in 2015.

October 22, 2014

Four principles to improve the decision-making process
The American Institute of CPAs and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants released the Global Management Accounting Principles, designed to help organisations improve their decision-making processes.

October 21, 2014

Reducing unnecessary complexity remains a key focus of FASB
Reducing complexity and cost — while retaining the relevance of financial reporting to users — will remain a focus of FASB in the coming years, FASB Chairman Russell Golden explained at the AICPA fall Council meeting.

COSO’s ERM framework to undergo update
The Enterprise Risk Management framework provided by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission is undergoing an update to improve its relevance in an increasingly complex environment.

October 20. 2014

Examine clichés in approach to innovation
To find business areas ripe for disruption, examine assumptions about your processes, your prices or your products, innovation expert Luke
Williams said in a speech Monday to the AICPA’s governing body.

How to deliver successful diversity and inclusion results and benchmark your progress
Accounting profession leaders working to improve diversity and inclusion in the profession and at their organization have new tools at their disposal.

October 19, 2014

Council vote updates resolution in AICPA code to match definition of attest
Changes to a resolution in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct that were approved Sunday will conform the code to the definition of attest in the Uniform Accountancy Act, which was recently revised.


NEWS HEADLINES FOR OCT. 12–18, 2014

October 16, 2014

How to prepare for auditing in a digital world of Big Data
Changes in technology and the availability of unprecedented amounts of data present new challenges for auditors. How can technology be used to transform auditing and improve audit effectiveness?

SEC filed record number of enforcement actions in fiscal year 2014
New investigative approaches and analytical tools helped the SEC file a record number of enforcement actions in fiscal year 2014, which ended in September. The SEC filed 755 enforcement actions totaling $4.16 billion in disgorgement and penalties.

October 14, 2014

Proposed regs. would eliminate 36-month testing period from COD reporting requirements
In response to concerns that the existing rule was confusing, the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed rules removing the 36-month nonpayment testing period from the list of triggering factors for issuing debtors Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt.

October 13, 2014

Certain FATCA deadlines are postponed
The Internal Revenue Service said it will revise temporary regulations issued in March to ensure that a number of the requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act for identifying foreign account holders will not apply before Jan 1, 2015.

Changes made to IRS streamlined offshore compliance procedures
The IRS updated its streamlined offshore compliance program to provide procedures taxpayers residing both inside and outside the United States should use to participate in the program.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR OCT. 5–OCT. 11, 2014

October 9, 2014

Notice defines terms for economic substance doctrine
The Internal Revenue Service issued a notice explaining how it would interpret the meaning of “transactions” for purposes of applying the codified economic substance doctrine in Sec. 7701(o) and “similar rule of law” for purposes of the accuracy-related penalty in Sec. 6662(b)(2).

AICPA asks for raise in repair regulations’ de minimis safe harbor threshold
AICPA wrote to the IRS conerning
the low amount of the de minimis safe harbor threshold in the tangible property regulations that were issued in September 2013, and about the retrospective application of the new rules.

Investors’ confidence in U.S. public companies grows
Investors’ confidence in investing in U.S. public companies—and in audited financial information released by those companies—has risen to a seven-year high in 2014.

October 8, 2014

Global cyberattacks rose 48% in 2014
The number of reported information security incidents around the world rose 48%, according to PwC’s The Global State of Information Security Survey 2015.

Ibanez ruling set precedent for right of CPAs to advertise dual credentials
A 1994 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a case pitting a state board of accountancy against an attorney with a CPA credential created a now well-established precedent protecting professionals’ rights to advertise their dual credentials.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR SEPT. 28–OCT. 4, 2014

October 2, 2014

Accounting salary forecast predicts rise for 2015
Starting salaries for various corporate and public accounting positions will continue to rise in the United States and Canada in 2015, according to a new forecast.

Companies paid higher audit fees in 2013, survey shows
PCAOB regulatory compliance drove fees higher for public companies, and inflation contributed to the rise for private companies and not-for-profits.

October 1, 2014

PCAOB may consider different mechanism for naming engagement partner
PCAOB Chairman James Doty plans to ask the board to consider seeking public comment on a new form that would be created to name the engagement partner and other firms participating in the audit, a board spokesman said.

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.

 

NEWS HEADLINES FOR SEPT. 21–27, 2014

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.

 

 

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