H&R Block: IRS clears returns affected by glitch [AP]
H&R Block says the Internal Revenue Service has finished processing most returns affected by a software glitch. The Kansas City-based tax preparer said Wednesday that more than 90 percent of affected clients have received their refunds or a notice of a possible refund date.
For public consumption, finance executives are happy to talk about what wonderful teams they have. In private, most are not very impressed with the talent at their disposal. Finance managers rate few of their direct reports as effective in the behaviors and skills that drive excellent performance by the finance function, according to new research by CEB. And on average, finance workers are more skilled in the areas that have the least positive impact on value creation. New PCAOB policy describes rewards for extraordinary cooperation [JofA]
Registered public accounting firms and auditors whose cooperation with PCAOB investigations is deemed “extraordinary” may be rewarded with reduced penalties in disciplinary proceedings. The PCAOB issued a formal policy statement Wednesday that defines extraordinary cooperation and describes incentives for firms and individuals that make voluntary, extra efforts to aid the PCAOB during investigations.
Treasury awards $3.5 billion in tax credits [The Hill]
The $3.5 billion given out under the New Markets Tax Credit will be funneled to 85 organizations in all, located in 28 states and Washington, D.C. “These credits are often critical in turning these redevelopment efforts into a reality,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key supporter of the tax credit, said on a conference call on Wednesday. State gives Facebook $18 million for 31 jobs [Tax Update]
That state would be Iowa and their pols are pretty excited. Joe Kristan is less so: "It gives them an excuse to call a press conference and cut a ribbon, claiming credit for the project like a rooster taking credit for the sunrise. It’s more fun than facing the fact that real economic growth doesn’t come from photo ops. It doesn’t come from paying $580,000 to a wealthy company for each 'job' it brings." Most Americans Oppose Soda, Candy Taxes [U.S. News]
In the online survey of more than 2,100 adults, respondents were opposed to government taxes on sugary drinks and candy by a more than 2-to-1 margin. Between 56 percent and 58 percent said no to such taxes, while only 21 to 23 percent were in favor. "This is a strong vote against the 'nanny state,'" said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll. Things That Make You Nuts [Tax Analysts]
Trying to define candy and groceries for tax purposes. Why We Love Spreadsheets Too Much [Accounting Onion]
We all have our reasons.
Listen, your right-wing friends are going to freak out about this but actually read the article and you'll discover the government isn't really wasting money on account fees for empty accounts because they're government accounts. Or something. [Washington Post]
Those silly Europeans might make public companies change auditors every 25 years. Plan accordingly, EU fraudsters. [FOX Business]
The Economist has a profile of our new friend Russell Golden. No mention of whether or not he wears dad jeans, as if we need an investigate report for that answer. [Schumpeter]
Can someone please explain what's going on in Canada? Might be NAFTA's fault. [MW]
Obama's Budget Would Lead to the Highest Federal Tax Rate in 4 Decades, per the [Atlantic]
TN Rep Phil Roe is shilling for his people over at The Hill, reminding Team Taxalot that higher taxes won't necessarily help the economy [The Hill]
John Veihmeyer Has a Friendly Message To New Associates In the Wake of KPMG's Insider Trading Scandal
A tipster has sent us this lovely email from the Veihz that basically shows when in a crisis, it's best to face it head on and make sure your new associates do not regret their decision to join your firm. Since they're working for KPMG already, it's probably a good idea to reassure them as often and as thoroughly as possible ifyoufeelme.
Let's blow right by the boring bits and get to the good stuff:From: John Veihmeyer (Chairman) Date: Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 2:04 PM Subject: A Message from KPMG Chairman and CEO John Veihmeyer To: n00bs As one of our newest hires, I want to update you on a matter of importance to KPMG and our profession as a whole. As you may have heard recently, a former partner in our Los Angeles business unit provided non-public client information to a third party, who then used that information in stock trades. This appalling situation was the result of a single rogue individual, acting contrary to everything that we stand for as a firm. Once we learned of his unlawful actions, we immediately separated him from the firm, unequivocally condemned his actions, and expressed our deep regret for the impact that his violations of trust and the law have had on our clients and our people. In addition, recognizing that our independence was impaired, we swiftly made the decision to resign as the auditor of two clients for which this individual served as lead partner. As part of KPMG’s comprehensive Ethics and Compliance Program, we have a rigorous system in place to prevent insider trading, including policies, processes, training, monitoring, and enforcement. This individual violated our policies, betrayed the trust of clients as well as colleagues, and acted with deliberate disregard for our long-standing culture of professionalism and integrity that guides the actions of all of our people. JV goes on to remind everyone - again, but using different words this time - that one bad apple doesn't necessarily spoil the bunch and it's how KPMG handled Scott London's idiocy that really matters. Then, after beating the KPMG meat a bit more, he closes with a nice little hoo-rah to get the kids feeling warm and fuzzy about their firm, dumb partners aside. Our success has always been the result of people like you—talented individuals who dedicate themselves to excellence throughout their careers. You represent the future of our firm and the continuation of our long, rich history. I’m glad to welcome you to KPMG, and I’m excited about the opportunities that you’ll have as you begin your career! Congratulations again, and best of luck. John Curious to hear how our tipster took this email, we asked a few questions (nosy assholes that we are). We wanted to know if there has been a lot of communication from the firm since the scandal broke, if the tipster has any unanswered questions that the firm hasn't addressed and if said tipster or any of his fellow first years are feeling any second thoughts about joining the firm now. We also asked for the tipster's take on the firm's response, both publicly and internally. Here's what he told us: Since the scandal, this email has been basically the only communication from the firm about the scandal. I've heard of some new hires having current employees contact them offering to go to lunch and "catch up" since then. However I did not personally have that happen. As far as the second and third questions, I don't think anyone really has any second thoughts or unanswered questions in the situation. We all pretty much get that it was just one rogue partner and not the firm as a whole. The only people who I think have any concerns are the people who I know that are actually going to the LA office. Those people just seem somewhat concerned about how the loss of two major clients will effect the office. However, people like me who are going to other offices in other states have very minimal concerns about the situation. Overall, I'm satisfied with their response. As soon as they found out about the scandal, they immediately distanced themselves from Mr. London and made it clear that he was a rogue partner whose actions were not in line with firm values. Anyone else who received this email, disinterested third parties and the usual trolls who are still enjoying KPMG bashing even though it's an old joke by now are welcome to share their thoughts in the comments.
“My future’s holding a job
Working hard all day
Throwing money in the bank
Toward my 401(k).”
Those are the words to a rap by Blake McGuire, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Indianapolis who was the winner of this year’s Money Matters Music Mogul contest.
The contest is sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Charles Schwab Foundation, which supports “Money Matters: Make it Count,” a financial literacy program for teenagers, at 2,900 clubs nationally.
The rap isn't half bad, though the grammar could use some work but HEY it's rap, right? Money all that matters... or something.
Young Blake hasn't worked a day in his life yet but surely he will use his newfound financial literacy to live a frugal, successful life free from the burden of debt, worry and broke ass hoes.
Mr. McGuire said that before he took the six-week class last fall at a local Boys and Girls Club, he didn’t think much about finances. He said he had done some work for his stepfather but hasn’t held a job yet. “I didn’t know the importance of financial issues,” he said. But in the class, he said, “They taught us about everyday budgeting, spending money, college savings, loans, 401(k)s, C.D.’s, I.R.A.s.”
Please be nice in the comment section, this is a child after all. And a future balla.
Over the years, we've seen a ton of farewell emails. While they run the gamut from self-absorbed nonsense to babbling bullshit and everything in between (heavy on the bullshit, of course), there's one part we always seem to miss: the responses from soon-to-be former colleagues. Not only that but most of the ones that cross our desk tend to be obnoxiously long-winded, like anyone has time to read a goodbye email that's lengthier and more bitter than a Francine McKenna post about PwC.
For once, here is a short and sweet "peace out" that shows a true dedication on the team's part to the art of auditing.
Note: we have permission to print his name. It's probably because he's trying to plug his company but oh well, we'll allow it. Forgive the Scribd, this tool sent me PDFs so that's all I had to work with. Just kidding and happy trails, Niv!
Today in obscure firm merger news, Baker Tilly and New York-based Holtz Rubenstein Reminick have professed their love for each other and are entering into a holy union on June 1st.
"We've been looking for the right merger partner in New York and we found that partner in Holtz Rubenstein Reminick. They have a strong reputation, considerable technical excellence, and a record of success," Timothy L. Christen, Chairman and CEO of Baker Tilly said. "The combination of these two well-respected firms will result in a $300+ million firm with more than 1,600 professionals, deepening our capabilities to better serve our clients."
Also, Crain's reports that BT is sizing up a few other firms in the New York area:
Baker Tilly CEO Tim Christen hopes the firm's first step into the local market will not be his last. He has a "target list" of about a half dozen firms he would like to explore deals with. He hopes to employ about 500 people in the New York area within the next few years.
So if you think your firm is a worthy target, you best ring them up quickly.
Accounting News Roundup: Tax Reform Gets a Boost From Baucus; KPMG's Arthur Andersen Moment?; No More 'Neutrality' Talk | 04.24.13
S.E.C. Gets Plea: Force Companies to Disclose Donations [NYT]
A loose coalition of Democratic elected officials, shareholder activists and pension funds has flooded the Securities and Exchange Commission with calls to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations, a move that could transform the growing world of secret campaign spending. S.E.C. officials have indicated that they could propose a new disclosure rule by the end of April, setting up a major battle with business groups that oppose the proposal and are preparing for a fierce counterattack if the agency’s staff moves ahead. Two S.E.C. commissioners have taken the unusual step of weighing in already, with Daniel Gallagher, a Republican, saying in a speech that the commission had been “led astray” by “politically charged issues.”
Tax reform gets jolt of momentum from Baucus retirement announcement [The Hill]
Lobbyists and Republican senators are more optimistic about the prospects for tax reform now that retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is eyeing it for his legacy. Baucus said Tuesday that his unexpected decision to forgo reelection in a conservative state would allow him to pour his efforts into a broad overhaul of the tax code — a goal he shares with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). “I’ll have a lot more time and energy to do it since I don’t have to campaign,” said Baucus, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Is this KPMG's Arthur Andersen moment? [CBS]
The author is referring to HBOS, with a little nod to l'affaire London, but still the answer is "no."
Aprill: The Deductibility of Contributions to The One Fund Boston [TaxProf]
Let's Stop with the Revenue Neutrality [Tax Analysts]
David Brunori: "Revenue neutrality is, of course, a political construct that has been at the heart of every tax reform proposal at every level of government in modern times. And, it is the reason tax reform never happens. Tax reform is messy. It results in big winners and losers. The losers don’t like to, well, lose, so they fight like heck. But trying to make significant changes to the tax laws under the guise of retaining the same levels of revenue is ridiculous. You can pursue efficiency, fairness, or pro growth tax reform that increases or decreases revenue."
How To Shatter The Public Accounting Glass Ceiling [Forbes]
Peter Reilly: "Why haven’t 100 or 200 women senior managers, directors, principals and income partners with 10 to 20 years experience not just walked out and started a firm ? It would be a power house and the culture it created would transform the industry."
New FASB chairman Golden describes priorities [JofA]
RG: “We are close to issuing a very important, converged solution on revenue recognition, which I have been working on for a number of years and I believe will be a good success, and will improve financial reporting for companies across the world."
Hundreds of service workers strike in Chicago [MSNBC]
Comparing a rough hourly wage of a public accounting employee to a McDonald's employee may be tipping in the latters favor again.
The Bill Gates Handshake: Offensive, or Just Weird? A Photo Investigation [AW]
WGIII's 'rude gesture' of keeping his left hand in while shaking with his right has a lot of South Koreans worked up.
Baucus, Powerful Montana Democrat, Will Leave Senate [DealBook]
KPMG Insider Trading Scandal "Overrated": Chairman [Reuters]
State Income Tax Collections Per Capita [TF]IRS overpaid up to $13.6B in low-income tax credits, report finds [The Hill] Five Things You Should Know About the Online Sales Tax Bill [TaxVox/TPC] BlackBerry's Keyboard Is Back—But Will It Sell? [WSJ] Pooping malt liquor drinker jailed in Vero Beach gunfire brouhaha An Indian River County sheriff's deputy about 9:20 p.m. April 9 went to the Gifford Docks in Vero Beach after a report of shots fired. He found Michael Johnston, 44, who said he'd had eight drinks, including two cans of Colt 45, which he said was "too many apparently!" Another man was with him. [...] Johnston said both men fired weapons on the dock, and that he'd been "drinking and shooting." About 20 shots were fired, he said. The deputy saw bullet holes and other gunfire damage on the dock area. Johnston said the damage came from him shooting at a glass bottle, saying, "the dock (feces) was my (feces)!" Johnston was swaying as the deputy spoke to him and defecated in his trousers, the affidavit states. [TCPalm]
KPMG Global Chairman Doesn't Consider a Partner at His Firm Passing Material Non-public Information About Audit Clients to a Golf Buddy to Be All That Newsworthy
I mean, really.The chairman of KPMG has dismissed as a “one-day wonder” the insider trading scandal involving the former head of the firm’s Los Angeles audit practice. Michael Andrew downplayed the global prominence of the controversy involving Scott London, a senior audit partner who has admitted leaking client secrets to a golfing partner who traded on the information. He told the Financial Times that the story grabbed headlines “because it was a slow news week”. Michael Andrew does, however, think Scott London was enough of a stand-up guy to admit that he did something wrong. The KPMG chairman commended Mr London for taking public blame for what happened. “To his credit, he did go on TV and take full responsibility for it,” he said. Mr Andrew added: “It is very difficult to deal with one rogue guy”. KPMG chief dismisses ‘one-day wonder’ scandal [FT]
Russell Golden will be your new FASB Chairman effective July 1st. He's been at the Board since 2004, after being a partner in Deloitte's National Office Accounting Services department. Since joining the FASB, he's held various technical positions and even chaired the Emerging Issues Task Force for a time. He has all the chops that you'd want for someone who will have to endure the financial reporting ignorance of various congressional subcommittees, pretend to care about convergence, and read a mountain of hate mail from people who take orders from the American Bankers Association.
But on the other hand -- look at this guy! Blue suit. Blue shirt. Sensible haircut with just a little frost.
I imagine that he jogs in the morning and doesn't let his lawn to get out of control during the summer. He never misses parent-teacher conferences or forgets his anniversary.
Even though I have no idea of any of those things are true, I already trust him to pick up my imaginary kids from soccer practice. Undoubtedly, he'll do us right in the further complication of accounting rules.
Actually, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo knows that Ms. Hill is a person with "substantial assets" so she's not sure why it has taken so long to come up with the $504k that she owes in criminal tax liability. Nevertheless, Judge Arleo is giving her two weeks to cough it up and Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman (who is also representing Bryan Shaw, strangely enough) says she's working on obtaining a $650k loan, using two properties as security. Nicolas Cage is NOT impressed. [Star-Ledger]
For some reason, earlier this year we asked you to submit videos of your busy season exploits as part of some fake contest. The idea was haphazardly thrown together and not taken that seriously, but for whatever reason1 the post sat up top for months. Anyhoo, busy season has been over for everyone for at least a week so I guess we'll wrap this thing in old newspaper and put a bow on it, so we can all move on with our lives. Right? Right.
Truth be told, there were some pretty entertaining vids thrown our way in the past few months, so we'll share some our favorites again so that you can waste a few minutes of your day.
It'd be a huge mistake on our part if the Star Trek parody video was not included. Two out of three GC scribes liked this video, but for whatever reason, spending $60,000 on a training video practically started a riot despite the billions wasted by Congress on [insert your preferred waste of taxpayer dollars]. I have to admit, that the acting isn't as good as any member of Congress can muster.
There have been several MTV Video award-caliber videos from James Huang, but an inspired Les Misérables message of crushed busy season dreams really diversifies his repertoire and it's far less irritating than Anne Hathaway. The end of busy season Twilight effort did not satisfy, however, because -- Jesus, enough with vampires already.
Although this video is from a few years ago and the meme is as dead as Hitler himself, it's beyond debate that using an incensed Führer to contemplate decisions around your internal audit function is far more entertaining than reading a whitepaper on the subject.
I don't how this Harlem Shake craze started and I don't want to know. Look, I'm all for putting on crazy costumes and dancing like a bunch of damn fools, but once it becomes ubiquitous on the Internet under false pretenses, then I think we, as a society, need to start doing some serious reflection. HOWEVER, the inexplicable appearance by a baby in a pumpkin shirt:
And a spellbinding performance by a Luigi auditor were a couple of bright spots that made it bearable:
And I suppose that's a nice way to head into compensation season -- ecstatic dancing. Thanks for the solid effort everyone; you're all exceptional performers in our book.
1 Possible explanation: I'm lazy.
Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Chairman: Audit Partner ID Is 'Misleading'; London's Other Clients; Something for the Transfer Pricing Folks | 04.23.13
KPMG chairman says campaign against auditor anonymity misleading [Reuters]
Renewed calls by U.S. regulators for those who sign off on audit reports to be publicly named, sparked by an insider trading scandal at KPMG, will do little to restore investor confidence, the audit firm's chairman said on Tuesday. Michael Andrew said the proposal would do little to fix real problems such as determining what types of financial data need to be audited as well as boosting the flow of information between regulators and government agencies. "I don't think it's important. I think it's quite misleading. There are much more fundamental things that need to be done to restore confidence in investors than just having the individual partner designated on the account sign his name," KPMG's global chairman told Reuters.
Tucked in this interview with PCAOB Chairman Jim Doty, we find this: "[A] person close to the situation told the FT [Scott London] had been lead auditor for three more as-yet unnamed companies in California at the time he was fired, two of which were entirely private while the third had publicly traded debt but no listed stock. The same person said routine checks at KPMG in 2012 had revealed a minor breach by Mr London of internal rules governing the timely disclosure of securities trading. However, the firm’s internal controls were not designed to pick up cash payments such as those he allegedly received from Mr Shaw, the person added. Mr London’s lawyer said it was his understanding that Mr London had indeed been lead auditor for three clients in addition to Herbalife and Skechers. He also confirmed the minor rule breach, saying it related to investments that were not on KPMG's restricted stock list."
"Profit Shifters" Face Global Crackdown [CFO] U.S. multinational companies that routinely allocate their profits to other countries to benefit from low-tax jurisdictions may soon need to change their tactics. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is developing a global tax action plan, scheduled to be released in July, that targets transfer pricing (pricing among entities of a company) aimed at tax avoidance. In February, the Group of 20 nations urged the OECD, comprised of 34 countries including the United States, to develop the plan to help solve some of the tax inequities that exist globally. Sean Foley, principal in charge of KPMG’s global transfer pricing services practice in the United States, says the action plan is very important. “It’s the first time the G20 asked the OECD to give them an action plan. That’s never happened before.”
Governments should disclose debt guaranties-U.S. accounting board [Reuters]
A state or local government that guarantees debt should list the agreement as a liability on its financial statements if it may have to make a payment for it in the future, the board that sets accounting standards for the U.S. public finance sector said on Monday. States, for example, occasionally guarantee bonds sold by local governments and some local governments back mortgage loans to individuals. Because such credit support could stress the governments' finances if they have to step in and make payments on the debt, those governments should put the agreements in their financial statements, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board said.
For the most part, Obama’s tax plan would do exactly what he promised: It would raise taxes by about $1 trillion (at least by his measure) over the next decade. And most, but not quite all, of those new revenues would come from those making $200,000 or more. The president stepped over his no-taxes line-in-the-sand for those making less, but not by much more than the length of his big toe. New FASB rules standardize liquidation reporting [JofA] Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2013-07, Presentation of Financial Statements (Topic 205): Liquidation Basis of Accounting, describes how financial statements must be prepared by a company that is converting its assets to cash or other assets, and is settling its obligations with creditors with the intent of ceasing its activities. In these circumstances, financial statements must be prepared using a basis of accounting that helps financial statement users understand how much the organization will have available to distribute to investors after disposing of its assets and settling its obligations. FASB Chairman Leslie Seidman said in a news release that the standard will reduce diversity in practice and addresses the concerns of stakeholders who had asked for guidance from FASB. Deloitte Not Liable For Mortgage Execs' Fraud, 9th Circ. Says [Law360 (Subscription)]
Deloitte & Touche LLP on Monday dodged claims that it allowed insiders at USA Commercial Mortgage Co. to steal from the now-bankrupt mortgage company and defraud investors when the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling for the auditing giant. Horse Racing and International Tax [Martin Sullivan/Tax Analysts] MS: "Here’s what the IRS can do to prevent transfer pricing abuse. Before any multinational sells IP to a subsidiary in a tax haven for what it is telling the IRS is a fair price, it should allow any third party to purchase those rights at that price. If the price is right, they have nothing to lose." Nation Starting To Realize New Era Of American Innovation Never Gonna Happen [The Onion]
“Listen, I’m sure we’re going to come out with better computers and video games and the internet will get a little faster, and that’s fine, but I assume that’ll just about be the extent of it,” said 29-year-old accountant Jessica Bradford, adding that the concept of American entrepreneurs spurring new, flourishing industries based on inventions comparable to the telephone and the computer chip is “pretty much out the window at this point.” “Who’s supposed to be thinking up all these groundbreaking ideas and investing in these emerging markets? Because I’m not doing it, I can tell you that much.”
Netflix is on the move, in a good way. I'm sure we can thank Kevin Spacey. [CNN]
There is still at least one dude who believes in Microsoft. Maybe a little too much. [WSJ]
Let's just tax online purchases already so we can stop talking about it, mmkay? [US News and World Report]
Headline of the day: "Accountant Allegedly Steals To Pay For Divorce, Breast Implants," it's a far better take on this than the link Colin provided you this morning [AOL]
And from FT (so it's subscriber only), Regulator urges end to auditor anonymity [FT]
Dylan Matthews of WaPo seems to believe high alcohol taxes will curb crime. Might I say that I mostly only drink at home, alone, and pass out before I can commit any crimes? [Washington Post]
Just read FASB Issues Standard on the Liquidation Basis of Accounting and your day is complete [Herald Online]
According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, any burgeoning debit and credit artists out there would do well by attending one of the following schools for their undergraduate studies:1. Brigham Young (Marriott) 1.067 2. Notre Dame (Mendoza) 1.076 3. UC Berkeley (Haas) 1.081 4. Cornell (Dyson) 1.089 5. Illinois – Urbana-Champaign 1.116 6. Tulsa (Collins) 1.118 7. Richmond (Robins) 1.119 8. Southern Methodist (Cox) 1.12 9. Wake Forest 1.138 10. Tulane (Freeman) 1.141 Bragging rights are now set for another year, however, since there were five new schools in this year's list, here's last year's ranking so that recruiters and parents may recalibrate as needed: 1. Emory 2. BYU 3. Notre Dame 4. Southern Methodist 5. Boston College 6. Cornell 7. Richmond 8. NYU 9. University of Denver 10. Texas I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for Emory and Texas disappearing from the list altogether, but we'll have to wait for the full ranking that is due in the coming weeks to see where they landed. Please watch your schadenfreude. The Best Undergraduate B-Schools for Accounting [BBW] Image: Wikipedia
It was nearly two weeks ago when we learned that ex-KPMG partner had dabbled in insider trading of several KPMG clients, including two -- Herbalife and Skechers -- that were audit clients of London's. It set off quite a firestorm, however when the criminal complaint against London came out, we discovered that the manner in which he and his golf buddy/watch guy Bryan Shaw conducted this little conspiracy was not too sophisticated. Phone calls. Meetings in parking lots. Black paper bags filled with cash. The Boss. It's what you might expect from a couple of middle-aged bros who had plenty of laughs together at the 19th hole.But no longer! In a Los Angeles Times report from Saturday, London's lawyer Harald explains that his client and Shaw are "no longer on speaking terms" which means that there will likely be some unfriending and whatnot, which also means there will be less of Scott's charming quips on Facebook: London frequently commented on the Facebook page of Shaw’s wife, Cyndi. In 2009, Cyndi posted a photo of her with Scott London’s wife, Michele, and a third friend at a restaurant and captioned it “The 3 amigas.” The girls’ night out picture elicited a teasing response from Scott London, who commented, “You guys look a little out of focus. Is the world blurry to you?” That same month, underneath a photo showing the Shaws smiling on vacation, London wrote, “Who is that hotty in the sunglasses.” Cyndi Shaw responded, “Your buddy Bryan of course!”Mrs. Shaw is probably relieved she won't have to endure that anymore. Missteps marked KPMG insider-trading scandal [LAT/ST]
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. lost a bid to delay a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking documents in an investigation of the auditor’s former client Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd. U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington today rejected Shanghai-based Deloitte’s argument that the case should be put on hold while an administrative judge considers a separate case the regulator brought against the China-based affiliates of the Big Four accounting firms. “There is no significant burden placed on Deloitte by requiring it to litigate these two very different proceedings simultaneously,” Kessler said. [Bloomberg]
Accounting News Roundup: Being a REIT Is So Hot Right Now; Scott London's Time Away From Skechers; Say Hello to Grant Thornton Kyrgyzstan | 04.22.13
Restyled as Real Estate Trusts, Varied Businesses Avoid Taxes [NYT]
The trust structure has been around for years but, until recently, it was generally used only by funds holding real estate. Now, the likes of the Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates 44 prisons and detention centers across the nation, have quietly received permission from the Internal Revenue Service to put on new corporate clothes and, as a result, save many millions on taxes. The Corrections Corporation, which is making the switch, expects to save $70 million in 2013. Penn National Gaming, which operates 22 casinos, including the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, recently won approval to change its tax designation, too. Changing from a standard corporation to a real estate investment trust, or REIT — a designation signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower — has suddenly become a hot corporate trend. One Wall Street analyst has characterized the label as a “golden ticket” for corporations. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen the interest in REIT conversions as high as it is today,” said Robert O’Brien, the head of the real estate practice at Deloitte & Touche, the big accounting firm.
How did Scott London spend his rotation time away from Skechers? Paul Moore: Why Griffith-Jones must step down as FCA chairman [Ian Fraser] Scott London is really stealing the thunder from KPMG's involvement with the collapsed bank HBOS. Tweedie: Audit reports "hopeless" [Accountancy Age] "The audit report at present is hopeless. It's full of who is repsonsible for what, and it's difficult to find the auditor's opinion," he stated. Deputies: Accountant stole $170K from boss, got breast implants and divorce [OSS]
And new furniture. Marcum Merges in Cornerstone Accounting [AT] The merger takes effect immediately. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Marcum's revenues in 2012 were $275.5 million, but Cornerstone's annual revenues were not disclosed. As part of the deal, the entire Cornerstone team, including five partners and 75 staff members, will join Marcum. Cornerstone managing partner Daniel Vitulli will become national leader of Marcum’s Real Estate industry group and will join Marcum’s executive committee.
How a Firm Makes the Vault Accounting 50 [AWEB]
In case you'd like to improve your firm's position.
Grant Thornton opens new affiliate in Kyrgyzstan under initiative of its affiliates in Armenia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan [GT]
Ed Nusbaum, Grant Thornton global CEO, said, "I am delighted that our three firms in the CIS region have taken a lead in developing our service offering. Kyrgyzstan is growing and represents great opportunities for us as a global organization. I congratulate them on their success in building a strong client base that has enabled us to increase our presence in the region."
The Pot Business Suffers Growing Pains [WSJ]
Like any farmer, Elliott Klug understands the highs and lows of living off the land. But his crop requires a rigorous effort. To keep output going, it is harvested every week. It is also grown only indoors. And though you won't find this tip in the Farmer's Almanac, his workers believe that blaring Grateful Dead songs boosts productivity. "We were the bad guys," says Mr. Klug, chief executive of Pink House Blooms, a 70-person operation that produces and sells marijuana to people who have a prescription for it. "Now we are still the bad guys, but we pay taxes."
Footnotes: Boy Scouts Coming Around to Jim Turley's Point of View; Read Bob Herz's Book; Taxing Ice Cream Cakes in Wisco | 04.19.13
Ex-FASB chairman Bob Herz wrote a memoir. [AICPA]
Frank Kurre, the new OMP of GT's New York office is getting a masters in pastoral studies. [GT]
Lauryn Hill faces eviction on top of tax problems [LAT]
CFTC Charges Tunney Accounting Firm with Audit Failure [AT]
Looking for growth? Then look beyond the Brics, says Grant Thornton [FT]
Elvis Impersonators Who Have Gone To Jail Over Ricin, Other Allegations [HP]
Condition 1: They won't be paid; Condition 2: Jesus, does it matter? They won't be paid.
David Cay Johnston has the scoop:The IRS told employees Friday that it will shut down entirely for five days because of the across-the-board spending cuts mandated by Congress. All IRS employees received an email Friday that cited five dates and said: All public-facing operations will be closed on these dates, including our toll-free operations and Taxpayer Assistance Centers. Some mission-essential IT and security personnel, who maintain systems and building safety, may need to work on these furlough days, however they will be taking furlough days on alternative dates within those pay periods. Everyone is covered by this furlough, and that means everyone from the Acting Commissioner and executives to managers and employees. The five definite days are May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22, and August 30, although DCJ reports that Colleen Kelley, the union president, said two more furlough days are possible. And just for grins -- well, not really -- some IRS employees are taking it to the streets: On Monday IRS workers in lower Manhattan plan a public protest to the cuts and what some of them say is pressure for the highest paid auditors, who make $150,000 annually, to leave the agency. NBD. It's nothing a Deloitte hiring bonanza can't solve! IRS To Close for Five Days [Tax Analysts]