March 2012 archive

ACA will force even more employers to drop health insurance

On March 13, 2012, in connection with the President’s budget proposals, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) revised estimates of the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA – aka ObamaCare). One of the key questions is how many employers will give up on providing health care insurance …

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Mets owners insist on being treated like “losers” as part of their Madoff settlement

Once a Ponzi scheme is uncovered, most investors find that they have lost their money.  However, there are also usually some “winners”, ie those that benefited from the scheme by removing both their initial investment and (usually high) returns prior to the scheme’s collapse. The Court in the Madoff case previously confirmed that the determination …

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IRS ignoring payments required by its whistleblower program

A former bank executive filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for failing to pay him a whistleblower award for information submitted in 2007. As initially reported in the Washington Post, Joseph Insinga … alleged that Rabobank Group, where he worked as an executive for more than a decade, helped seven companies avoid hundreds …

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Hidden Fee will Cause Mortgage Rates to Rise

A mortgage rate is made up of 3 components: (i) the rate paid for the use of the money for the duration of the loan, which usually goes to the bank or investors who buy the loan (the largest component), (ii) a servicing fee that goes to the mortgage servicer who collects the monthly payment, …

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4 Banks Fail the Stress Test

The Federal Reserve just released their annual stress test results for the 19 largest U.S. banks.  The stress test came as a result of the 2008 US financial crisis.  The test looks at the financial health of each bank and tests if it would be able to withstand a scenario where (i) the U.S. economy …

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IRS ends unpopular 1099 reconciliation

The IRS recently eliminated an unpopular rule relating to how credit card and debit card payments are accounted for on tax returns. The new process was otherwise going to go into effect in 2012, and would require companies to explain the differences between 1099-K forms and their internal records. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act …

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Big Four Attempt to Increase Their Influence

The “Big Four” accounting and audit firms are spending more than they have since 2002 (the year they lost one of their own in the Enron debacle) on lobbying the US government.  According to a Reuters analysis of congressional disclosure reports, the four accounting powerhouses spent a combined $9.4 million last year on in-house and outside …

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NJ Supreme Court case requires privity of contract in accounting malpractice suits

On February 16, 2012, in Cast Art Industries, LLC v. KPMG LLP (A-51/52-10) (066891), the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously reversed an Appellate Court decision that had upheld liability against KPMG failing to uncover accounting fraud involving an acquisition by Cast Art Industries of KPMG client Papel. The decision upheld the privity requirements of New …

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L.A.’s pizza is worse than Anchorage’s and why your expert’s survey may be unreliable

Los Angelenos think highly of their hamburgers. Not so much their pizza. According to resident responses, L.A. hamburgers rank fifth best of 35 U.S. cities based on a report by Travelandleisure.com. But L.A.’s pizza ranks 28th, seven spots from dead last. It is no surprise that L.A. residents are less proud of their pizza than …

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Finally! A poll asks the question we really care about

Undoubtedly, one of the decisive issues in the upcoming November 2012 presidential election will be about taxes:  Should some pay higher taxes than others?  If yes, who, why, and how much more? Until recently, practically every national poll asked whether tax rates should be increased, decreased, or kept the same.   For example, one of the …

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