Seattle opts for “head tax” repeal

Posted 6/12/2018

Seattle City Council is to repeal a “head tax” on big businesses, responding to a backlash from corporate leaders and residents who say they don’t trust the council to spend wisely. The tax would charge companies with at least $20m in gross revenue about $275 per full-time worker each year, raising roughly $48m annually for affordable housing and homeless services. However, opponents called the Seattle measure a tax on jobs and questioned whether city officials are spending current resources effectively. Council President Bruce Harrell announced the repeal yesterday, with a vote to abolish the levy to take place later today.

US News and World Report Seattle Times

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IRS private debt collectors target low-income taxpayers

Posted 6/11/2018

Private debt collection agencies that are collecting tax debts on behalf of the IRS have been forcing many taxpayers into payment plans they can’t afford, according to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. The IRS revived the private debt collection program last year after Congress passed legislation in 2015 requiring the agency to restart the program, even though it had been shut down twice over the years because it wasn’t cost-effective. Ms Olson says an analysis of taxpayer data who made payments to the IRS after their debts were assigned to private collection agencies through September 28th 2017 showed that 43% had income lower than their allowable living expenses.

Accounting Today

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Boards looking for more data on cybersecurity

Posted 6/7/2018

A survey of around 1,130 C-suite executives by Deloitte found 63% expect their board in the next year to ask for more data about the effectiveness of cybersecurity programs, while 57% expect increased regulatory oversight. Andrew Morrison, the Big Four firm’s Risk and Financial Advisory principal, said: "Boards want to gain a higher level of confidence in their organizations' cyber risk management program effectiveness, so an expectation of more robust and consistent reporting is not surprising”, adding that the drive toward greater transparency and uniformity in cybersecurity reporting is being seen across all industries, particularly in healthcare.

Benzinga

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International CPA group launches new CGMA business model framework

Posted 6/6/2018

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has launched a new guide and toolkit to help business leaders and finance professionals succeed in dealing with the challenges of creating and maintaining value and trust in the marketplace. The CGMA Business Model Framework was developed and refined through a process of global consultation with business leaders, finance professionals and members of the Association; it shares practical advice to help boards, senior executives and support staff understand their organization’s business model and how to better align business strategy with value creation and operations.

CPA Practice Advisor

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AICPA offers funding for assurance-related research

Posted 6/5/2018

AICPA’s Assurance Research Advisory Group is looking for research on assurance-related topics of interest to CPAs, in areas such as emerging technologies, like blockchain and artificial intelligence. The Institute plans to use the research to inform its private company standard-setting process, along with the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality initiative. Approved research proposals can receive up to $15,000 in funding and, where relevant, access to personnel, peer reviewers or firm data gathered by the AICPA Peer Review Program with the consent of the firm.

Accounting Today

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Uni of Kentucky to offer summer accounting program

Posted 6/4/2018

The University of Kentucky is to host the Accounting Career Awareness Program on its campus this summer, July 29th through August 2nd, a course for high school students to learn more about the profession and its career paths from professionals, university faculty and students. The program also looks to boost the number of underrepresented minority groups in the accounting profession.

Accounting Today

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KPMG and Google create GDPR compliance tool

Posted 6/1/2018

KPMG and Google Cloud have partnered up to create an assessment tool, to help customers remain compliant with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into law on May 25th. The three-phase solution could potentially help firms accelerate their compliance initiatives while maintaining string data analytics. Part of KPMG's GDPR plan involves customers creating a GDPR repository in Google Cloud that will eventually become the master version of all customer data.

Tech Republic

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Fed to relax Volcker rule

Posted 5/31/2018

American regulators have proposed a relaxation of the Volcker rule that bans banks from gambling with their own money in the markets. Jay Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said regulators wanted to “allow firms to conduct appropriate activities without undue burden and without sacrificing safety and soundness”. The proposal, “Volcker 2.0,” means large financial institutions will face fewer audits of individual securities and derivatives transactions, and is part of a broader rollback that includes a recently enacted law easing rules on small banks and less aggressive leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. However, critics maintain that the proposals give banks too much leeway and could create loopholes that allow them to engage in risky trading.

Wall Street Journal Los Angeles Times CNBC

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House prices continued to rise in March

Posted 5/30/2018

U.S. house prices continued to rise in March, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index. The measure of average house prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation rose 6.5%, matching the increase reported in February. The 10-city index gained 6.5% over the year, up slightly from 6.4% the prior month, while the 20-city index gained 6.8%, unchanged from the previous month. Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco continue to lead in price gains. Seattle home values rose 13% annually. Twelve of the top 20 cities saw greater annual price increases in March compared with February. House prices continue to be driven by low supply and strong demand, particularly at the lower rungs of the housing ladder, according to David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, who added they are likely to continue rising unless inventory swells or the economy contracts.

Wall Street Journal CNBC

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TAX Updates released on moving, mileage and travel expenses

Posted 5/29/2018

New information about changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the rules for moving expenses, vehicle expenses and unreimbursed employee expenses, along with higher depreciation limits for some vehicles. The new law suspends the deduction for moving expenses for tax years beginning after December 31st 2017, until January 1st 2026. During that suspension period, the IRS won’t allow deductions for use of an automobile as part of a move. The update also notes that the business standard mileage rate listed in Notice 2018-03, which was issued before the tax overhaul passed, can’t be used to claim an itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Finally, the new tax law ups the depreciation limitations for passenger automobiles that have been placed in service after December 31st 2017, for purposes of calculating the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan. The maximum standard automobile cost is lift ed to $50,000, from $27,300.

Accounting Today

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