The SEC enhanced the Internet-based search capability of its EDGAR database of company filings. Users now can search the contents of disclosure documents with a full-text search tool. The newly searchable information includes registration statements, annual and quarterly reports and other filings by companies and mutual funds during the past four years. The SEC plans further enhancements based on user feedback. E-mail requests, comments and suggestions to textsearch@sec.gov . The EDGAR full-text search tool is available at http://searchwww.sec.gov/EDGARFSClient/jsp/EDGAR_MainAccess.jsp .

Some employers may need to keep closer tabs on their reimbursements of employees’ work-related expenses, the IRS said in revenue ruling 2006-56. The guidance notes that reimbursements that exceed actual expenses or IRS guidelines for per diem rates are subject to income and employment tax. Where an employer’s expense reimbursement plan has no mechanism or process in place for determining when employee reimbursements exceed appropriate amounts, the failure of the plan to treat the excess allowances as wages for employment tax purposes may cause all payments made to employees under the plan to be subject to taxation.

The AICPA published a practice guide to FASB Interpretation no. 48 (FIN 48). FIN 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes, applies to all companies that report in U.S. GAAP, including closely held businesses. It requires a higher standard for accruing a tax benefit in financial statements than the IRS imposes on tax returns. For tax years beginning after December 15, 2006, the tax accrual may contain only positions meeting the “more likely than not” standard, and the financial statements must include quantitative and qualitative disclosures related to unrecognized tax benefits. For calendar-year corporations, the new rules take effect with first quarter 2007 results.

However, the new rules require calendar-year corporations to have a “clean” starting point for their tax accounts on January 1, 2007. In other words, the deferred tax asset and deferred tax liability accounts on that date must be determined in accordance with the standards of FIN 48.

The AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has clarified GAAS A by issuing Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) no. 113, Omnibus 2006. It amplifies terminology of SAS no. 95, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, in accordance with SAS no. 102, Defining Professional Requirements in Statements on Auditing Standards.

The ASB also issued Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) no. 14, SSAE Hierarchy. For copies of the new standards, contact the AICPA at 888-777-7077.

The IRS applied tax liens and levies correctly most of the time during fiscal 2004, a GAO study concluded. In 98% of the Collection Due Process cases that were appealed, the IRS Appeals Office determined that the Service’s collection personnel followed proper procedures, the GAO said. Roughly 60% of liens and levies were upheld on appeal, often because taxpayers did not qualify for a collection alternative since they did not file all required tax returns. For about 27% of taxpayers, the Appeals Office negotiated a collection alternative, thereby avoiding the lien or levy. Another 11% of taxpayers withdrew their appeals. When taxpayers raised the same arguments as before they appealed, the position of the IRS collection personnel was upheld more than 80% of the time. The report is available at www.gao.gov/new.items/d07112.pdf .

The International Federation of Accountants’ (IFAC) Professional Accountants in Business Committee issued an exposure draft, Defining and Developing an Effective Code of Conduct, highlighting the role professional accountants in business play in driving and supporting organizational ethics and conducting ethics programs. The committee revised the guidance following significant comments received on an ED on the same topic issued in January 2006; it now recommends an approach based on a values-driven code. Comments are due February 16, 2007. The ED is available at www.ifac.org/EDs .

Four CPAs will be part of the 110th Congress, two fewer than the last Congress, following the re-election in the House of John Campbell (R-Calif.), Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). Among other changes in the new Congress: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is expected to succeed Rep. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Frank has stated concerns about the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, especially with regard to smaller companies, but he has expressed confidence in the ability of the SEC and PCAOB to address the requirements through the regulatory process. Following the retirement of Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) will be the ranking Democrat and likely chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

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Catherine Allen, Kenneth D. Askelson, James Bean, John C. Boma, Steven J. Brown, Jolene C. Brucks, Thomas F. Burrage, Linda Burt, J. Gregory Bushong, R. Patrick Cargill, Benson J. Chapman, Rosemarie T. Dunn, Thomas Emmerling, Elizabeth Fender, Robert J. Freeman, Kim Gibson, Alan Glazer, Randi K. Grant, Patrick T. Hanratty, DeAnn Hill, James E. Hunton, Sandra Johnigan, Susan S. Jones, G. William Kennedy, Frank J. Kopczynski, Jeffrey B. Kraut, Dennis B. Kremer, Alan Levin, John Lewison, Joseph P. Liotta, Mano Mahadeva, Jane M. Mancino, Benjamin F. Mathews, David McIntee, Anita Meola, Debra Mitchell, Roger H. Molvar, Brenda Morris, Craig Murray, Glenn Newman, Lyne P. Noella, Edward T. Odmark, Mary P. Ricciardello, Mark L. Richardson, Marshall B. Romney, Steven E. Sacks, Peggy Scott, Carolyn Sechler, Gary Shamis, Ivan J. Sotomayor, Alan Steiger, Paul C. Sullivan, Barry S. Sziklay, Gary R. Trugman, Joseph T. Wells, Robert Willens, Mark A. Yahoudy, Alan S. Zipp
Accounting: John Althoff, J. Gregory Bushong, Alan Glazer, Russell Golden, Debra Mitchell, Daniel Noll, Edward T. Odmark, Alan Steiger; Auditing: Catherine Allen, Susan S. Jones, Charles E. Landes, Joseph P. Liotta, Douglas Prawitt, Thomas Ratcliffe, Edward T. Odmark, Ivan J. Sotomayor; Business & Industry: Kenneth D. Askelson, Stuart R. Benton, Benson J. Chapman, Jeffrey B. Kraut, Alan Steiger; Business Valuation/Litigation Services: Thomas F. Burrage, Robert Gray, Edward Mendlowitz, Robert F. Reilly, Linda Trugman; Personal Financial Planning: John C. Boma, R. Patrick Cargill, Thomas Emmerling, Patrick T. Hanratty, Peggy Scott, Mark A. Yahoudy; Practice Management: Richard V. Kretz, Bea L. Nahon, William Pirolli, Carolyn Sechler, Gary Shamis; Tax: Steven J. Brown, Benson J. Chapman, DeAnn Hill, Sidney Kess, William Stromsem, Steven Thompson


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

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