Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tea Party Finally Bags Lerner

The poster girl for American conservatives, Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service's director of the IRS exempt-organizations division, finally tossed in her towel and retired effective today, IRS officials said in a statement. 
Lerner became a fixture on news broadcasts when she first went into a tirade during her testimony in front of Congress about how she didn't do anything wrong and then almost immediately claimed protection under the Fifth Amendment .
"I am very proud of the work that I have done," Lerner told Congress before pleading the Fifth. "I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws."
Her May 22 statement came as a result of the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration's report that criticized the agency's handling of tea-party groups' applications.
Lerner was placed on paid administrative in May. Acting IRS Commissioner and former quarterback for the Florida Gators Danny Werfel told Congress that she had not been terminated and she was still employed. 
Lerner's office oversaw the review of applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status. Evidence indicates that her office selected tea party affiliated groups for further scrutiny if the term tea party was in their names.
But Lerner's resignation won't have any effect on Republican efforts to investigate the agency's actions. “Just because Lois Lerner is retiring from the IRS does not mean the investigation is over,” Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said. “Far from it. In fact, there are many serious unanswered questions that must be addressed so we can get to the truth.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, a Democratic congressional aide said Ms. Lerner's decision came after an IRS review board had informed her that it was set to propose her removal from the agency. The board had found "neglect of duties" during her tenure as , as well as mismanagement consistent with critical findings of an earlier inspector general's report, the aide said. However, the congressional aide noted the board found no evidence of political bias or willful misconduct.
The IRS scrutiny began in early 2010 and affected dozens of tea-party and other grass-roots conservative groups. Some have remained in limbo for years awaiting a decision on their applications, according to the inspector general's report.
Democrats claim that no evidence of political bias exists because some liberal groups were also scrutinized. But Republicans say the number of conservative grass-roots groups that were swept up in the IRS net is far larger, and the scrutiny more onerous, than what liberal groups experienced, according to Accounting Today.
The IRS said that since May—when —it has taken "decisive actions to correct failures" in management of the exempt-organizations division, including replacing the top managers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What is an IRS audit?

An IRS audit is a review or examination of an organization's or individual's accounts and financial information to ensure information is being reported correctly, according to the tax laws and to verify the amount of tax reported is accurate. At least that's what the IRS says.
In reality, there aren't many things more frightening or humiliating than getting the Certified Letter that makes you catch your breath, while your heart pounds in your chest. It's a scary term - audit. But is an audit really that bad, other than the similarity between an audit and the days when your mother used to root through your underwear drawer?
Just because you've been served notice that you're being audited doesn't automatically infer that you've done anything wrong and your accountant or accounting firm can verify that. Nor does it always suggest that an error has been made.
Returns to audit are chosen through a number of ways, including random selection and computer screening and sometimes returns are selected based solely on a statistical formula. 
Other audits are spurred on by triggering issues. One example of an issue that can trigger an audit is document matching - when payor records, such as Forms W-2 or Form 1099, don't match the information reported on your return. 
Returns may be selected for audit when they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers, such as business partners or investors, whose returns have already been selected for an audit. Like your mother said, watch out who you hang around with - they can get you in trouble!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Twitter Preparing for IPO

In a move that has been long anticipated by business and technology experts worldwide, San Francisco-based Twitter announced Thursday that it has privately filed for its first public sale of shares.

Twitter said Thursday afternoon in a statement that "We've confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale."

Experts project the Twitter IPO to create as much of a stir as the Facebook IPO did but Twitter executives are hoping for a smoother road for the company and investors.

"Twitter's massive growth has produced strong IPO buzz for years, but neighbor Facebook's rough Wall Street debut quieted much of the excitement," according to the Wall Street Journal.

"The Menlo Park company exercised a record-breaking IPO in May 2012 that valued CEO Mark Zuckerberg's creation at more than $100 billion, but problems with initial trades and doubts about Facebook's ability to generate revenues helped push shares from an initial price of $38 to less than $20 in the first year of public availability."

Facebook's Wall Street experience has become less hectic and the company's stock has fully recovered, posting an all time high of $45 Wednesday after recent earnings reports showing strong gains in mobile revenues.

Twitter was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Ev Williams and Biz Stone, and has grown to more than 200 million users who share their thoughts in bursts of no more than 140 characters at least once a month, with estimates of total users surpassing 500 million.

If you need advice about how you should be planning for your financial future, contact Neikirk, Mahoney & Smith CPAs. We'll be happy to assist you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

CPA Poll Indicates Upward Hiring Trend

In a poll conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, accounting executives in US companies are projecting increased hiring despite concerns about the outlook of the American economy. The quarterly AICPA Economic Outlook Survey polls CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other CPAs in U.S. companies who hold executive and senior management accounting roles, according to Accounting Today.
Friday’s monthly jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that current hiring trends are still relatively weak. The AICPA survey, however, serves as a forward-looking indicator of hiring expectations over the next 12 months. 
Some 15 percent of respondents now say they have too few employees and are planning to hire in the next 12 months, up from 12 percent last quarter and 9 percent a year ago. Another 19 percent say they have too few employees but are reluctant to bring on new staff. 
Some 53 percent of business executives indicated their companies have the right number of employees. The largest companies (those with more than $1 billion in annual revenue) are more likely than other businesses to say they have too few employees. On an industry basis, the construction, technology, and professional, technical and scientific services sectors are expected to post the largest job growth.
If you're anticipating hiring additional personnel for your company and you have questions, please give Neikirk, Mahoney & Smith PLLC a call. We'd be happy to advise you. 
See this from Indeed.com (http://indeed.com) 

Job Postings

Accounting job postings have increased 6% since August 2012.
Clicks on Accounting jobs have increased 21% since August 2012.



Top Job Titles


Top Keyword Searches


Top Locations

Statistical approximations are used to compute these results.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How the Affordable Care Act Affects Your Books

Our friends at Accounting Today have announced that they will be offering a free webinar dealing with how the Affordable Care Act will affect your accounting practices.
Participants will learn

  • How the ACA will impact your small and large business clients (hint: it will be different for both)
  • Which requirements your clients have to comply with
  • Which key deadlines are approaching, and which aren¹t an issue yet
  • How your firm can turn health care reform into a profitable service area

Whether your business is large or small, one thing is for certain - that this will affect you! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at (502) 896-2999 or at http://nmscpas.com.

Click here to register.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Same Sex Couples Getting Tax Breaks

Legally married same sex couples are going to get the same federal tax breaks as traditional married different sex couples, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

"Today's ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,"said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in a statement.

Kentucky law does not recognize gay marriage but activists continue to push for related legislation. According to Marriage Equality Kentucky, an organization supporting same sex marriage rights, same sex spouses in Kentucky currently are not allowed accidental death benefit for the surviving spouse of a government employee; appointment as guardian of a minor; beneficial owner status of corporate securities; Bill of Rights benefits for victims and witnesses; consent to post-mortem examination; or control, division, acquisition, and disposition of community property, among other issues.

A gay couple from Louisville recently filed a federal lawsuit against Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage. Gregory Bourke and Michael Deleon's suit claims existing laws deprives them of numerous legal protections that are available to opposite-sex couples in Kentucky.

The Treasury Department and IRS ruling assures tax benefits for all legally married same-sex couples in an effort to ensure their ability to move freely throughout the country without altering their federal filing status.

The ruling states that, beginning with 2013 returns, same sex married couples can file their federal tax returns using either the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status. Same sex married couples can amend previously filed returns as far back as 2010.

Read full article in US News & World Report
Contact Neikirk, Mahoney & Smith PLLC if you have specific questions.