July 2012 archive

Could Credit Card Surcharges Mean a Renaissance for Cash?

As part of a recent proposed settlement with credit card giants such as Visa and Mastercard, retailers will now be able to pass on the credit card surcharges [the charge incurred by the retailer when a transaction involves a credit card] to the customer.  The charges, usually 1-3%, used to be absorbed by businesses as …

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Self-employed can deduct Medicare premiums

The IRS recently reversed a long-held position that self-employed individuals may deduct Medicare premiums from their self-employment income. Self-employed who did not deduct the Medicare premiums before, and still have the prior tax returns within the statute of limitation, may file amended returns to claim the deduction. Chief Counsel Advice 201228037 clarifies an IRS position …

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SEC Staff Report a Big Disappointment to Those Seeking Rapid IFRS Adoption

On July 13, 2012, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a long-awaited report regarding adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the United States. Currently, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the U.S. is determined by the Financial Accounting standards Board (FASB), with support of the SEC. The report surprised …

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Has the IOC Cheapened Olympic Medals by Including New Events?

Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on average increased the total number of medals awarded by 8.6% with each passing Games. In 1896, the IOC awarded 122 medals. Most recently, in the Beijing Games of 2008, the total medal count rose to 956. The chart below shows the …

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UK’s Grading System Gets an F

A recent article in the Guardian addressed the UK’s current university grading system and its flaws.  For those unfamiliar with how the British grading system works, both the Fullbright Commission and World Education Services provide explanations and conversions to US letter grades.  Basically, university students in the UK receive percentage grades throughout their studies, and …

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Proposed Changes to Accounting and Disclosures of Pending Litigation Are Dropped

In July 2012, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted to drop a controversial project that would have required companies to disclose more about contingent losses, including most notably those arising from litigation. The now-withdrawn proposal would have required significant additional disclosure of litigation. The vast majority of those commenting on the proposal opposed it, …

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Even the NCAA stats keepers stick it to Penn State

One of the classic and inevitable moments of backyard football (the height of my own football career) is “the dog pile”. Somebody fumbles the ball and a few players dive for it. A pile of bodies forms as players fight in earnest. The mass grows as more bodies join the fray. Eventually it becomes ridiculous …

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Which Country Is Most Successful at the Summer Olympics?

It depends on how success is measured. If the total number of medals won is the metric used, the United States is the most successful by far with a total of 2,299 medals since 1896. This is certainly an accomplishment of which the US and its athletes should be proud. However, it doesn’t exactly seem …

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Bankruptcy: coming soon to a city near you

Three California cities have declared bankruptcy in a month. The most recent California city to declare bankruptcy is San Bernadino, following declarations by Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. According to the Los Angeles Times, San Bernardino’s budget is short $45 million, about ⅓ of its annual general fund budget, and may not make payroll in August. …

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Food price increases coming…but is it a result of the drought?

Over the last couple of days, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been warning Americans to be aware of potential food price gouging from stores taking advantage of the historic drought.  According to the National Climatic Data Center’s most recent monthly drought report, 55 percent of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought at …

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