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1. Details of new myRA retirement savings vehicle revealed   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
Following up on announcement made by President Barack Obama in his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the White House released details of a new retirement savings account to be made available to employees through their employers. These accounts, myRAs (presumably an abbreviation for “my retirement account”), which are being established under the president’s executive authority, are described as “starter” savings accounts aimed at the 50% of employees who have no access to employer 401(k) plans (White House press release, “Fact Sheet: Opportunity for All: Securing a Dignified Retirement for All Americans,” 1/29/14).MyRAs will be

2. How to protect investors’ assets   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The recent financial crisis magnified the importance of investor protection.Regulators can play a vital role in ensuring that securities firms protect client assets. The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on Wednesday published eight principles to guide regulators as they supervise securities firms on the protection of client assets.The guidance refers to securities firms—including derivatives firms—that are subject to regulatory supervision as “intermediaries.” The principles are as follows:1.

3. SEC issues reminder on investment adviser due diligence   WebExclusive

BY Ken tysiac
Investment advisers need to follow appropriate due-diligence processes when recommending or placing clients’ assets in alternative investments such as hedge funds, private-equity funds, or funds of private funds, the SEC said in a risk alert issued Tuesday.According to the alert from the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE), advisers are:Seeking more information and data directly from the managers of alternative investments.Getting third parties to supplement and validate the information managers of alternative investments provide.Performing additional quantitative analysis and risk assessment of alternative investments and their managers.“Money continues to flow into alternative investments,” OCIE Director Drew

4. How to help clients make the right Social Security election   CPEDirect

BY James Sullivan, CPA/PFS
As the wave of Baby Boomer retirements continues, it is more important than ever for CPAs to understand how to help clients be in the best position to maximize Social Security benefits. Mastering the intricacies of the rules is no easy task, especially for accountants who don’t concentrate full time on financial planning.

5. Final and proposed regs. issued on 3.8% net investment income tax   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
Late on Tuesday, the IRS issued final and proposed regulations giving guidance on the application and computation of the 3.8% net investment income tax imposed by Sec. 1411 (T.D. 9644 and REG-130843-13). The final regulations adopt, with changes, proposed regulations issued late in 2012.Starting in 2013, Sec. 1411 imposes a tax equal to 3.8% of the lesser of an individual’s net investment income for the tax year or the excess (if any) of the individual’s modified adjusted gross income for the tax year over a threshold amount.

6. Federal impasse could crush investor confidence, survey shows   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
The federal government shutdown and the lack of congressional agreement on raising the debt ceiling have the potential to crush investor confidence, according to a new Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) survey.If the shutdown lasts another week, investor confidence in U.S. capital markets would shrink to 60% from 69%, according to a “pulse” survey of 424 respondents performed for the CAQ Oct.

7. Self-directed IRAs: A tax compliance black hole   CPEDirect

BY Warren L. Baker, J.D.
The appeal of investing retirement funds outside of the typical securities market has driven a surge in the use of self-directed IRA (SDIRA) investment structures. These structures come in various forms, but they all start when an IRA account holder forms an SDIRA with a custodian (e.g., a bank or trust company) that is amenable to holding “nontraditional” types of investments.

8. The brave new world of cost basis reporting   CPEDirect

BY Jonathan Horn, CPA, CGMA
Recent tax law changes have made accurately calculating and reporting clients’ capital gains even more critical with higher effective tax rates being imposed on those with higher adjusted gross income (regardless of source) and the new Sec. 1411 net investment income tax taking effect for tax year 2013.

9. The qualified dividend multiplier effect  

BY Seth M. Colwell, CPA, M. Tax.
With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, P.L. 112-240, taxpayers can continue to save significant taxes on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. Excluding the special 25% and 28% rates, Sec. 1(h)(1) now provides for three rates on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains (preferential income): 0%, 15%, and 20%.

10. Many U.S. adults don’t understand basic health insurance terms   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
Many U.S. adults lack a basic understanding of common financial terms found in health insurance plans as they face critical decisions about their future coverage, according to an AICPA survey. More than half of respondents (51%) could not accurately identify at least one of the following terms: premium, deductible, and copay, according to a telephone survey of 1,008 U.S.
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