Monthly Archive: September 2011

Sep 29

Goodwill Impairment Tests Become Easier

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The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update 2011-08, entitled “Testing Goodwill for Impairment”. This amends guidance in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) Topic 350 involving goodwill and other intangible assets. Because early adoption is allowed, and the new guidance simplifies significantly the current procedures, expect the new guidance to be widely implemented …

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Sep 28

New Mortgage Limits

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On October 1, 2011, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will reduce the size of mortgages it purchases.  The new lower limit will be $625,500, down from the current $729,750.  For most of the United States, this should be no big deal.  However, in some pricey places, this change can really hurt borrowers.  Limits are set …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/new-mortgage-limits/

Sep 27

Surprising Survey Covering SEC Whistleblower Program

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Accounting and consulting firm BDO USA, LLP conducted an August 2011 annual national telephone survey entitled “The 2011 BDO Board Survey”. Interviewers spoke directly to 101 board members for public companies with revenues ranging from $250 million to $750 million. Although the survey covered other corporate governance matters, this post involves required whistleblower reporting systems. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/surprising-survey-covering-sec-whistleblower-program/

Sep 26

What is the Apple Store?

One of the reasons that it’s so much fun to write about Apple is that they outright flout the normal rules of merchandising.  And yet they succeed spectacularly.  Nowhere is that more evident than in the Apple stores.  The usual retail rules-of-thumb go completely out the window with the Apple stores, and with most of them …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/what-is-the-apple-store/

Sep 23

30,000 Tax Cheats Confess Under IRS Programs

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The IRS has created two disclosure programs where approximately 30,000 tax cheats have come clean.  The IRS has created these voluntary disclosure programs in a larger effort to identify and pursue U.S. taxpayers who avoid paying taxes by hiding assets in overseas accounts.  Efforts by the IRS began in 2009, after Swiss bank UBS AG agreed to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/30000-tax-cheats-confess-under-irs-programs/

Sep 22

$535 million U.S. Loan to Solyndra was predicted to be a failure

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Solyndra was a manufacture of solar cells based in Freemont California. In August & September 2011, Solyndra ceased all business activity, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and laid off all employees. The federal government is Solyndra’s largest creditor, having made the company a $535 million loan guarantee. The interesting thing about this loan is not …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/535-million-u-s-loan-to-solyndra-was-predicted-to-be-a-failure/

Sep 21

Wind Down Plan Required for Largest Banks

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Large banks doing business in the U.S. will now be required to provide reporting to regulators on how they would wind up operations and sell assets if the respective bank was in danger of failing.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) voted to approve rules which were mandated by the financial overhaul congress passed last …

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Sep 20

Ever heard of “Qwikster”? Netflix makes a dreadful business decision.

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In the film “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, one memorable scene has the smooth-talking, escaped convict Everette (George Clooney) offer circular justification for stealing a pocket watch. Everette’s fellow-escapee, Pete, hears out the reasoning before declaring with annoyance and disgust, “That don’t make no sense!” I had a reaction similar to Pete’s upon reading the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/ever-heard-of-%e2%80%9cqwikster%e2%80%9d-netflix-makes-a-dreadful-business-decision/

Sep 19

Changed cell phone tax treatment

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In Notice 2011-72, the IRS provided guidance on the tax treatment of cell phones used for business purposes. The changes are long overdue, and are retroactive to the beginning of 2010. Prior to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, cell phones were included under the section 280F definition of “listed property”. Before the Act, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/changed-cell-phone-tax-treatment/

Sep 16

California Moves to Eliminate 'The Map'

It is a such a familiar part of the ritual of electing a president, the big map with states turning red or blue as the returns come in and votes in the electoral college are declared won. Unfortunately in the mind of the political parties most of those states were already colored in with permanent …

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Permanent link to this article: http://betweenthenumbers.net/2011/09/california-moves-to-eliminate-the-map-2/

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