Smart Stops on the Web

BY MEGAN PINKSTON

TAX

A TAX TOOLBOX
www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=118004,00.html
This Smart Stop from the IRS provides a host of basic tools for tax professionals, handily compiled onto one page for easy access. The information ranges from recent tax law changes to standards of practice and Circular 230 information to the contact info for the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (see “The Taxpayer Advocacy Panel: An Opportunity to Collaborate With the IRS,” JofA, Sept. 08, page 68). The page contains a host of publications on representing clients before the IRS, as well as requesting client transcripts and copies of their tax returns. Also look under “IRS Collection Tools and Your Clients Rights” for rules on representation and disclosure and Offer in Compromise guidelines.

HOMEBUYERS TAKE NOTE
www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com
Visit this new site from the National Association of Home Builders for an overview of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which authorizes a tax credit for qualified first-time buyers purchasing homes before July 1, 2009. The “Frequently Asked Questions” page answers both general and technical questions regarding the credit, or click on “The Law’s Other Provisions” to go beyond the act’s tax credit provisions and learn about its implications for property taxes, mortgage revenue bonds and Federal Housing Administration modernization. If you’re still looking for information, the “Home Buyer Resources” page hosts a list of links to helpful government Web sites, including state and local homebuyer assistance programs.

GENERAL INTEREST

BACK TO SCHOOL
www.adsphd.org
Check out this Smart Stop for information on the new Accounting Doctoral Scholars program, which aims to reverse the shortage of Ph.D. accounting faculty at U.S. colleges and universities and will enroll its first class in the fall of 2009 (see “Highlights,” JofA, Sept. 08, page 18). The site provides a list of participating universities, firm sponsors, frequently asked questions and the program’s online application. More than 70 of the country’s biggest accounting firms and several state societies have committed almost $15 million to the program, which is administered by the AICPA Foundation.

ITEMIZE YOUR INVENTORY
www.knowyourstuff.org
Sure, you save receipts, write down serial numbers and generally know what you own, but could you list everything in your home or office after a disaster or freak accident? The Know Your Stuff software from the Insurance Information Institute (III) lets you take inventory with ease. Download the software and watch the “Taking Inventory” video guide to get started or print the home inventory lists created by the III by clicking “Download.” As you buy or cast off possessions, it’s easy to update the list. Follow instructions to upload photographs and receipts. Once complete, the inventory can be printed and saved at another location or uploaded to an external drive. As a privacy safeguard, the III does not have access to your personal home inventory files.

A VIEW FROM THE INSIDE
http://viewpoints.bonadio.com
For practical, hands-on observations and information on contemporary accounting, financial management, and wealth management issues, try this site’s “Viewpoints.” Each podcast, from the partners, principals and staff of The Bonadio Group, an upstate New Yorkbased CPA and financial services firm, includes a printable PDF with a downloadable audio file (which can also be played in your browser window). The site has several “channels,” including ones for medium and large private companies, small businesses, not-for-profit organizations and public companies. The Bonadio Group offers free subscriptions to each channel, which pushes new Viewpoint programs to you as soon as they’re available.

ACCESS IFRS
http://pwc.blogs.com/ifrs
Read articles such as “Interim reporting— is compliance enough?” and “U.S. move to IFRS—the ball is rolling” from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s Global Chief Accountant Richard Keys at the firm’s IFRS blog. Keys, also a PwC partner and member of its Global Assurance Leadership Team, delivers IFRS news and analysis from a European perspective. You can link to other PwC blogs on topics such as corporate reporting and finance, and access other IFRS sites and publications, including PwC’s U.S. IFRS Web site, www.pwc.com/usifrs, which has an interactive IFRS financial statements demo.

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VIDEO

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QUIZ

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Even as the IRS reported on success in reducing tax return identity theft in the 2016 season, the Service also warned tax professionals about yet another email phishing scam. See how much you know about recent news with this short quiz.