AICPA publishes guidance on UN sustainability targets

Posted 5/2/2018

AICPA has released a guide to how management accountants can help their organizations fulfill the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The new guide discusses the business advantages of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which address issues such as overty, hunger, health, education, climate change, and gender equality; it also gives examples of how entities in various sectors and regions are meeting the UN’s sustainable development requirements.

Accounting Today 

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IRS clarifies tip jar tax treatment

Posted 5/1/2018

The IRS has released new guidance on the tax treatment of cash left in tip jars. In Chief Counsel Advice 20186010, the agency clarifies that cash amounts constituted tips that are subject to IRS notice and demand procedures. Tips received by employees in the course of employment are considered remuneration that has been paid by the employer for FICA tax purposes. The remuneration is generally deemed to be paid when a written statement including the tips is furnished to the employer by employees. Otherwise, tips are treated as being paid on the date on which IRS issues a notice and demand for taxes to the employer.

CPA Practice Advisor Forbes

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IRS seeks recommendations on priority guidanceon new tax law

Posted 4/30/2018

The IRS and the Treasury Department are seeking recommendations for items to include on their 2018-2019 Priority Guidance Plan, a summary of the tax issues that should be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices, and other published administrative guidance. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted, the Treasury and the IRS have received a number of letters specific ally asking for guidance related to the implementation of its provisions. Taxpayers may submit their recommendations before June 15th.

Accounting Today

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Ways and Means looks for answers following Tax Day IRS glitch

Posted 4/25/2018

The House Ways and Means Committee is seeking answers from the IRS regarding the technical difficulties that forced the agency to extend the tax filing deadline. Issues with IRS systems that allow taxpayers to pay their bills online meant the original deadline of April 17th was extended by 24 hours. The lawmakers are pressing the IRS for answers to a series of questions about the delay by May 4, including whether there were any software issues in addition to a hardware failure, the age of the technology that failed, how the IRS identified and fixed the issue and whether any taxpayer data was compromised. Relatedly, legislation to modernize the IRS technology, which codifies the duties and responsibilities of a newly-created CIO role is currently before the Senate. The House has passed a bill penned by Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI) that would alter the current set-up, in which a chief technology officer and two deputies report to the deputy IRS commissioner f or operations support. The position includes the development and implementation of a multi-year strategic plan that provides specific IT performance measurements, as well as an annual progress report.

The Hill Wall Street Journal

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Private companies falling behind on new accounting standards

Posted 4/24/2018

Most private companies haven’t made significant progress preparing to adopt the new revenue recognition and lease accounting standards, according to a new survey from consulting firm MorganFranklin. A poll of almost 70 finance and accounting leaders at emerging and middle-market U.S. companies, and found that 63% of participants haven’t made significant progress in implementing the new standard. Only 9 percent have completed adoption of the rev rec standard, while only 6% have adopted the lease accounting standard. Calendar year-end public companies were required to adopt the revenue recognition standard by the beginning of this year, and private companies are supposed to implement it for reporting periods after December 15th.

Accounting Today

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Third of female accountants have experienced sexual harassment

Posted 4/23/2018

Thirty-four per cent of women working in the accounting industry have reported being victims of some form of sexual harassment in their careers, according to a recent SourceMedia survey of sexual harassment across white-collar professions. However, two-thirds of accountants believe there is only a low prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry. The SourceMedia survey says that one major reason for the gulf between perception and the reality of sexual harassment in the workplace is likely due to incidents being underreported. Ken Bond, senior vice president of corporate development at Aon, said: “Certainly we have seen different kinds of harassment claims over the years — different professional service firms see different rates,” Bond explained. “I wouldn’t say we’ve seen a high volume in the current environment, where there’s a lot of press around the issue. We’re having conversations with our clients but haven ’t yet seen any spike [regarding] sexual harassment claims.”

Accounting Today

 

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Global debt rising

Posted 4/19/2018

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy is in more debt than it was before the financial crisis, and that risks to global financial stability have increased. Total debt levels globally came in at a record $164tn in 2016, amounting to 225% of global GDP. Vitor Gaspar, director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF, said the findings, taken together with the business cycle upswing, meant that governments should build buffers and cut public debt levels to face "challenges that will unavoidably come in the future.” He added: "The United States is the only country where the public debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to go up, from 108% of GDP in 2017 to 117% in 2023."

CNBC

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IRS offers guidance on “blended” tax rates

Posted 4/17/2018

The IRS has issued a notice to corporate taxpayers to provide more information about the tax rates they will be paying as they transition to the new tax law. Under the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a corporation with a fiscal year that includes January 1st 2018 is supposed to pay federal income taxes using a blended tax rate and not the flat 21 percent tax rate under the TCJA that would generally apply to taxable years beginning after December 31st 2017.

Accounting Today

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IRS updates inflation adjustments for new tax law

Posted 4/16/2018

With tax deadline day for 2017 returns falling tomorrow, the IRS has updated the annual inflation adjustments for the 2018 tax year, to reflect changes from the recent tax reform law. For 2018, the foreign earned income exclusion will be $103,900. The maximum earned income credit amount will be $6,431 for taxpayers who have three or more qualifying children, for 2018. Further, participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan needs to have an annual deductible of no less than $2,300, but not more than $3,450. For self-only coverage, the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount is $4,550. For tax year 2018, participants with family coverage, the floor for the annual deductible is $4,550, and the deductible cannot be more than $6,850.

Accounting Today

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PICPA offers feedback on Taxpayer First Act

Posted 4/13/2018

The Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs says that while it supports many elements in the IRS reform bills published by the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this week, it also has concerns with provisions on debt collection and identity theft. PICPA said it “fully supports” the proposed establishment of an independent appeals process that would allow taxpayers to appeal tax disputes, and also indicated support for a more comprehensive customer service strategy that would include establishing metrics and benchmarks. However, it expressed disagreement with the establishment of income thresholds for referral to private debt collection, specifically the exemption of low-income individuals from private debt collection unless such a taxpayers’ dependents or other debts are causing insolvency, and proposed public-private stakeholder partnerships to address ID theft refund fraud.

Accounting Today

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