Short takes



F Y I

Short takes, notes and items of interest

Small Businesses Pay the Piper
  If a small business such as a hair salon plays a radio as background music, the business owner may have to pay a royalty even though the radio station is already paying a licensing fee. However, Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has introduced the Fairness in Music Licensing Act (HR 789) to eliminate royalties on incidental music. At Journal press time, the bill was still being discussed in a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Know Your Benefits-and Everyone Else's
  The Employee Benefits Research Institute published the fifth edition of Fundamentals of Employee Benefits Programs . This 557-page book, which describes a wide variety of private- and public-sector employee programs, covers the Small Business Job Protection and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability acts. For more information, call the EBRI at 410-516-6946.

Play "Space Invaders" on Your Own Time
  It's been estimated that 23% of PC game players use their office computers to play. Now DVD Software has released its AntiGame 3.0 program, which is designed to strip thousands of games off office computers. For more information, call DVD at 714-757-0615.

Cook Gets Another Chair
  J. Michael Cook, in addition to heading Deloitte & Touche, is also chairman and president of the Financial Accounting Foundation and a past chairman of the AICPA. Recently, he also became chairman of the board of governors of United Way of America.

FASAC's New Head Comes From Biotech
  Robert C. Butler, senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Celgene Corp., a biotechnology company, was named chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, which advises the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Butler formerly was senior vice-president and chief financial officer of International Paper Co.

Their Cup Overfloweth
  For the first time since its 1974 creation, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which guarantees pension benefits, has a surplus-$869 million. The improved condition is a result of increased premiums exceeding $1.1 billion, investment income of more than $900 million and an absence of major plan terminations. In 1993, the PBGC's deficit was a record $2.9 billion.

 

OK
  Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) has introduced legislation (HR 883) that would permit governments to pass fees and surcharges on to people who make mandatory payments, such as taxes, fines and penalties, to governments with their credit cards. The bill would require governments to disclose the fee amounts and limit the amounts that can be charged for credit cards to settle such payments.

Keep Your Standards at Hand
  The International Accounting Standards Committee published its 1997 Bound Volume of International Accounting Standards . The volume can be obtained for $64, including postage, by calling the IASC at +44-171-353-0565 or by e-mail at iasc@netcomuk.co.uk .

FASB Gets New Assistant Director
  Financial Accounting Standards Board staffer Leslie F. Seidman, CPA, is the FASB's new assistant director of research and technical activities, replacing the retiring JT Ball (read more here ). In her new position, she will supervise staff members involved with implementation and practice issues. Before joining the FASB in 1994, Seidman was a vice-president in the accounting policies department of J. P. Morgan and an auditor with Ernst & Young.

Kaplan Will Head AcSEC
  David B. Kaplan, a partner and associate national director of accounting services at Price Waterhouse, will succeed G. Michael Crooch as chairman of the American Institute of CPAs accounting standards executive committee on October 1. Kaplan currently serves on AcSEC's planning subcommittee. This month, Crooch became an AICPA delegate to the International Accounting Standards Committee.

There's a Bug in My System!
  The Intenal Revenue Service will not impose deposit penalties on companies enrolled in the electronic federal tax payment system that make errors when attempting to use the system before the official start date. According to information release 97-20, IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson said there was no reason to impose penalties on businesses that were simply trying to get comfortable with EFTPS but made mistakes doing so. Approximately 1.2 million businesses are required to begin using the new payment system by July 1.



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