THIS WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES
March 10, 2014
New procedure permits automatic recognition of consolidated return filing status
Affiliated groups that fail to file a required Form 1122, by which a subsidiary consents to be included in a consolidated return, will get a break from the Internal Revenue Service.
FASB to research fair value standard’s relevance for certain investors
Some investors told a review team that FASB’s fair value measurements standard produces information that is not relevant or meaningful for employee benefit plans, not-for-profits, or private companies. FASB plans to perform research and outreach on this issue, according to Russell Golden, the board’s chairman.
LAST WEEK'S NEWS HEADLINES
March 6, 2014
U.S. economic sentiment continues incremental rise
Economic optimism among finance professionals in business and industry continued a steady rise in the latest quarterly survey by the AICPA. Regulatory requirements continue to be a concern, but CPA decision-makers are generally upbeat about their organizations’ prospects in the coming 12 months.
March 5, 2014
Simplified employer health care coverage reporting announced
The rules provide for combined reporting of information on employee coverage under Sections 6055 and 6056 and allow certain employers alternative reporting options that do not require monthly reporting of employee-specific information.
March 4, 2014
FASB takes step forward in streamlining of disclosures
FASB is attempting to make disclosures in financial statement notes more useful to investors. The board took a step forward in the project with a proposal that indicates how the board would determine which notes need to be included in financial statements.
How to turn data privacy into a competitive advantage
Amid a barrage of customer data breaches, companies have a chance to create a competitive advantage by building and keeping customer trust with strong data protection policies and controls.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR FEB 13–MARCH 1, 2014
February 28, 2014
Guidance on repair regs. updates accounting method change procedures
The new procedures deal with dispositions of assets and depreciation of leasehold improvements, among other topics.
GASB proposes new GAAP hierarchy for state and local governments
GASB proposed reducing from four to two the categories of authoritative GAAP that apply to the financial reporting of state and local governments.
February 27, 2014
IRS issues final instructions for net investment income tax form
Many tax preparation companies have held returns with this form until the final instructions were released, and this means these returns can now be filed.
PCAOB to hold round table on auditor’s reporting model
The PCAOB will hold a round-table discussion on its auditor’s reporting model proposal on April 2–3 in Washington.
Plans bear responsibilities in multiple-employer pension reporting
New GASB rules are increasing transparency in state and local government pension reporting. Learn best practices for allocating amounts in multiple-employer cost-sharing plans.
February 26, 2014
2014 car, truck depreciation limits issued
The IRS issued the 2014 inflation adjustments to the depreciation limitations and lease inclusion amounts for certain automobiles.
February 25, 2014
Final substantial-risk-of-forfeiture rules are released
The IRS finalized regulations that clarify when a substantial risk of forfeiture exists on the transfer of stock to an employee that is treated as compensation under Sec. 83.
Fair value standard fulfills purpose, review finds
A Financial Accounting Foundation review team’s positive feedback on FASB’s fair value measurements standard was tempered by one finding: Some investors question its usefulness for financial statements of employee benefit plans, not-for-profits, and private companies.
Report reveals breadth of criminal tax activities
The IRS Criminal Investigation division’s annual report reviewing its accomplishments in 2013 reveals the wide range of criminal tax activities it investigated in the past year.
February 24, 2014
How real work experience can help students, businesses
Internships and other in-college work opportunities can provide accounting and finance students an advantage in the post-graduation job market, a new survey shows.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR FEB. 16–22, 2014
February 21, 2014
AICPA, CPA Canada to collaborate in forensics, technology advisory services
An agreement gives CPA Canada members access to AICPA technical resources and credentials in forensic and technology advisory services.
February 20, 2014
Final FATCA rules are issued
One set of regulations contains amendments to the last year’s final FATCA regulations. The other set addresses the overlap between FATCA’s rules and existing foreign reporting, withholding, and information-reporting requirements.
February 19, 2014
“Dirty Dozen” tax scam list now includes telephone scams
Identity theft tax fraud topped the list, and telephone scams were added this year because the IRS says it has recently seen an increase in phone scams across the country.
FASB endorses private company VIE alternative for lease arrangements
FASB endorsed a GAAP alternative that is designed to reduce financial reporting complexity for private companies by exempting them from a requirement to consolidate variable-interest entities in common-control leasing arrangements.
New international framework takes broad look at audit quality
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has released a new framework that demonstrates how auditors, audit clients, audit firms and regulators can work together to improve audit quality.
FASB to focus on targeted GAAP improvements for insurance
FASB voted to pursue targeted changes to U.S. GAAP rather than a comprehensive overhaul in its project to improve financial reporting requirements for insurance contracts.
February 18, 2014
Can you draw a perfect score in the accounting game?
Take a 10-question quiz based on an online game created for high school students in accounting. The game is available to educators to help teach material in an engaging fashion.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR FEB. 9–15, 2014
February 13, 2014
ASB proposes amendments to clarified auditing standard on letters for underwriters
The AICPA Auditing Standards Board proposed amendments to AU-C Section 920, Letters for Underwriters and Certain Other Requesting Parties, that are intended to further clarify the standard, help auditors in implementation, and avoid unintended changes to previous practice.
February 12, 2014
ASB issues clarified auditing standard on using the work of internal auditors
The AICPA Auditing Standards Board has released a new auditing standard addressing the external auditor’s responsibilities if using the work of internal auditors. The release completes the clarity project’s redrafting of the final AU section in the AICPA Professional Standards.
February 11, 2014
Five key defenses against risk
Maintaining a healthy tension between entrepreneurial risk and protection of enterprise value is a challenging task for risk management and internal control. Organizations can use five lines of defense to achieve the appropriate tension.
D.C. Circuit affirms decision striking down tax return preparer regs.
A federal appeals court in Washington held that the Internal Revenue Service exceeded its statutory authority when it issued regulations in 2011 attempting to regulate unenrolled tax return preparers by requiring them to pass a certification test, pay a fee, and take continuing education courses.
February 10, 2014
IRS announces additional one-year delay in health coverage penalty for midsize employers
The IRS announced that, for mid-size companies, it is further delaying for one year the shared-responsibility penalty imposed on applicable employers who do not provide minimum essential health care coverage for their employees.
Unnecessary disclosures targeted by SEC
The SEC has begun an initiative to reduce unnecessary corporate disclosures. SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher discusses some of the areas he would like to target in this effort.
IRS postpones start of new information document request procedures
The IRS announced in an email to practitioners that it is pushing back the effective date for its new information document request (IDR) procedures to March 3. The new procedures had been scheduled to start Jan. 2.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR FEB. 2–8, 2014
February 5, 2014
Three possible changes to lease accounting proposal
Some of the concerns about the converged lease accounting proposal can be fixed, International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said. He described three changes the IASB and FASB might make to address concerns about implementation costs.
Crowdfunding poses benefits, risks
Although financial return crowdfunding does not pose systemic risks to the world economy yet, it does create problems for investor protection that need to be addressed, according to a new report.
Regulation leads list of top 10 risks for 2014
Regulatory pressures are still keeping business leaders up at night, according to a new survey. Find out what else executives and board members are most concerned about in the months ahead.
New proposed rules determine UBTI of certain exempt employee benefit organizations
The IRS has issued proposed regulations that would affect how much exempt function income can be set aside by voluntary employee beneficiary associations and supplemental unemployment benefit trusts when they are calculating their unrelated business taxable income.
February 4, 2014
Seven ways for small businesses to rein in health care costs
The once-delayed employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2015. Here are ways small businesses can lower their health care costs with the new requirement looming.
February 3, 2014
SEC plans to consider whether global standards are achievable
An initiative described in a draft of the SEC’s five-year strategic plan says the commission plans to consider whether a single set of high-quality global accounting standards is achievable.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR JAN. 26–FEB. 1, 2014
January 31, 2014
PCAOB extends comment period on engagement partner ID proposal
A deadline extension by the PCAOB will give stakeholders more time to comment on the board’s proposal to require the engagement partner and certain other participants in the audit to be identified in the audit report. The new deadline is March 17.
January 30, 2014
Details of new myRA retirement savings vehicle revealed
Following up on announcement made by President Barack Obama in his annual State of the Union speech, the White House released details of a new retirement savings account to be made available to employees through their employers.
IASB gives rate-regulated activities guidance, reviews business combinations rules
Interim guidance issued by the International Accounting Standards Board is designed to enhance comparability in financial reporting for rate-regulated activities for first-time adopters of IFRS.
GASB publishes guide for pension standards implementation
A guide GASB is designed to help preparers and auditors of state and local government financial statements apply the board’s new accounting and reporting standards for pensions.
Why employers may consider public health care exchanges
New public health care insurance exchanges may provide more affordable coverage than plans employers currently use, according to a new report.
January 29, 2014
Lessors, lessees see difficulties in proposed changes
Implementing proposed changes to lease accounting rules will be at least somewhat difficult for more than three-fourths of companies that participated in a recent survey.
Proposed rules address disguised sales and partnership liabilities
The IRS issued proposed regulations on the treatment of disguised sales of property by or to a partnership, readdressing a topic that was the subject of rules withdrawn in 2009.
ASB exposes additional clarified standards as part of attestation clarity project
The AICPA Auditing Standards Board issued the second exposure draft of clarified attestation standards resulting from its clarity project. The proposal would restructure the content of three subject-matter-specific standards.
How to protect investors’ assets
The International Organization of Securities Commissions published eight principles to guide regulators in their supervision of securities firms’ asset protection procedures.
FASB to consider disclosure requirements for government assistance
Businesses may one day have specific requirements under GAAP for making disclosures in their financial statements about the government assistance they receive, because of a new project that FASB added to its technical agenda.
January 28, 2014
FAF to pay up to $3 million to help IASB’s convergence work
The Financial Accounting Foundation will pay up to $3 million this year to support the International Accounting Standards Board’s work on four remaining convergence projects.
SEC issues reminder on investment adviser due diligence
The SEC reminded investment advisers to conduct appropriate due diligence when recommending or placing clients’ assets in alternative investments such as hedge funds, private-equity funds, or funds of private funds.
PCC modifies prerequisites for private-company VIE exception
The Private Company Council (PCC) changed the prerequisites to use an exemption from consolidation of variable-interest entities in common-control leasing agreements. The change would open the GAAP exception to more private companies if FASB endorses the exception.
January 27, 2014
Final version of net investment income tax form released
Just in time for the start of tax season, the IRS has released the final version of Form 8960, Net Investment Income Tax—Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, which will be used by individuals and trusts and estates to compute the new 3.8% tax and then to report the tax on Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and 1041, U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.
Simplified method offered for requesting extended time to make portability election
Executors of certain estates that failed to file Form 706 to elect portability of a deceased spouse's estate tax exclusion will have a limited-time opportunity to file Form 706 and make the election, instead of requesting a letter ruling granting an extension.
NEWS HEADLINES FOR JAN. 19–25, 2014
January 24, 2014
IRS issues guidance on health care individual mandate
Proposed regulations released answer questions about the "shared-responsibility payments" individuals are liable for if they fail to maintain minimum essential health care coverage.
Audit firm rotation proposal takes another step forward in EU
The full European Parliament’s vote on European Union audit market reforms probably will take place in April, according to a Parliament news release.
Guidance issued on accounting method changes under repair regs.
The IRS issued long-awaited guidance on accounting method changes under the so-called repair regulations, which govern the treatment of expenditures incurred in acquiring, producing, or improving tangible assets.
January 21, 2014
AICPA issues personal financial planning standards
The standards, which will take effect July 1, cover all aspects of the planning process—from obtaining information to communicating and implementing recommendations.