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Accounting News Roundup: H&R Block Selling RSM to McGladrey; Job Hating in the Genes; Satyam’s Tax Notice | 08.23.11

H&R Block selling RSM for $610 million [MW]
H&R Block Inc. said on Tuesday that it is selling its RSM McGladrey unit to McGladrey & Pullen, LLP for $610 million. The firm said the deal will result in a $53 million, or 17 cents a share, after tax charge to s expected to close by the end of the year.

Tax Break for Clergy Questioned [WSJ]
As Congress scrutinizes every nook and cranny of the budget for possible revenue, a surprising court decision is allowing clergy members to buy or live in multiple homes tax-free. The U.S. Tax Court ruled that Phil Driscoll, an ordained minister and Grammy Award-winning trumpeter who went to prison for tax evasion, didn’t owe federal income taxes on $408,638 provided to him by his ministry to buy a second home on a lake near Cleveland, Tenn. Under a provision of the tax code known as the parsonage allowance, first passed in 1921, an ordained clergy member may live tax-free in a home owned by his or her religious organization or receive a tax-free annual payment to buy or rent a home if the congregation approves.

Obama Talks to Buffett About Economy [Bloomberg]
“The president and Mr. Buffett discussed the overall outlook on the economy and the reaction to the headwinds we’ve experienced over the last couple of months,” said Josh Earnest, an administration spokesman. “They talked a little bit about some possible measures that would spur investment and increase economic growth and they also talked about some measures that could address the long-term fiscal situation in this country.”

Mandatory Auditor Rotation: If PCAOB Sanctions Were “Case-By-Case” [Re:Balance]
JP: ” [I]f the PCAOB can sustain its proof that long audit tenure was causally related to its definition of “audit failure,” it could include rotation in its toolkit of post-inspection sanctions.”

Hate Your Job? It May Run In the Family [WSJ]
Sayeth a new study.

Sharma to step down as S&P president [FT]
Deven Sharma is stepping down as president of Standard & Poor’s only weeks after the rating agency issued an unprecedented downgrade of the credit of the US, the company said. Mr Sharma will remain as an adviser to S&P’s owner, McGraw-Hill, for four months and leave the company at the end of the year. He will be replaced as S&P president by Douglas Peterson, chief operating officer of Citibank, the banking unit of Citigroup.

Satyam Gets $463.3 Million Tax Notice [WSJ]
India’s Satyam Computer Services Ltd. Monday said it has received a preliminary draft notice from local authorities for a tax claim of 21.13 billion rupees ($463.3 million) disallowing the exemptions claimed by the company and dealing a setback to its attempt to recover from a fraud in 2009.

Accounting News Roundup: Is the Satyam Mess Over?; IRS All Over Kabbalah Centre; PCAOB’s Doty Speaks at Baruch | 05.06.11

Is the Chinese Listing Bubble Going Bust? [CFO Journal]
Suddenly the boom in Chinese listings on U.S. exchanges is looking shaky, and two primary reasons were reinforced in separate developments today. On Wall Street, Renren, dubbed the Chinese Facebook, tanked after its shares debuted at a stratospheric multiple on Wednesday, calling into question the appetite for future Chinese IPOs. Meanwhile, at a New York City financial conference, SEC officials were nearly elbowing each other out of the way to express their concerns about reverse mergers that are allowing Chinese firms to back door their way into U.S. markets.

U.S. Economy Adds 244,000 at 9.0% [NYT]
The United States economy added 244,000 jobs in April after a gain of a revised 221,000 jobs in March, the Department of Labor said on Friday, as the unemployment rate rose to 9 percent in April from 8.8 percent in March.

The Grand Illusion: PwC Settles Satyam U.S. Class Action Claims [Forbes]
Oh boy, “The SEC and the PCAOB would not confirm that their enforcement actions regarding the Satyam audit were finished.”

BDO USA Settles Bankest Suit With Former Client Banco Espirito Santo [Bloomberg]
BDO’s statement emailed to Bloomberg: “BDO USA LLP has entered into confidential settlement agreements with Banco Espirito Santo and Barry Mukamal, the bankruptcy trustee of E.S. Bankest LC, pursuant to which the lawsuits against BDO have been resolved,” sounds a lot like what we published yesterday.

The Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles is the focus of an IRS investigation into tax evasion [LAT]
Sources familiar with the investigation said the criminal division of the IRS is looking into whether nonprofit funds were used for the personal enrichment of the Berg family, which has controlled the Kabbalah Centre for more than four decades, a period in which it expanded from one school of a little-known strain of Judaism to a global brand with A-list followers like Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow and assets that may top $260 million.

New PCAOB Chairman Pushes for Audit Overhaul [AT]
“I do not believe that the global audit firm networks themselves pose a systemic risk to our economy,” said Doty. “Initiatives to shrink the global audit firms would likely weaken their ability to audit large, multinational companies that may be systemically important.” He said governments should instead focus on regulation. “To protect investors, governments should regulate such firms, not cripple them,” said Doty. “There’s no reason to think that if there were more major firms, they would be more likely to stand up to their clients.”

U.S. auditor watchdog hopeful of access to China [Reuters]
U.S. audit watchdogs are hopeful of ending a stalemate that has blocked inspections of auditors in China, the head of the audit oversight agency said on Thursday. With more Chinese companies raising capital in the U.S. markets, “I believe Chinese authorities understand they have a real interest in solving our impasse,” James Doty, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said.

Accounting News Roundup: Wells CEO Says CFO Departure Is ‘So Yesterday,’; Satyam Auditors Ordered Back to Jail; FASB, IASB Re-requests Feedback on Convergence Burden | 04.21.11

GE Posts Fourth Straight Profit Rise as Industrial Orders Gain [Bloomberg]
General Electric Co. (GE) posted a fourth straight quarter of profit growth, beating analysts’ estimates, as equipment orders increased, and boosted the dividend for the third time since July. First-quarter profit from continuing operations rose 58 percent to $3.58 billion, or 33 cents, excluding pension results, up from $2.26 billion, or 20 cents, a year earlier, GE said. That exceeded the average estimate of 28 cents a share from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Regulators Serve Up Alphabet Soup [WSJ]
The financial overhaul of the 1930s first brought in a slew of acronyms now part of today’s financial fabric—FDIC, SEC, FHLB and FHA. But the acronyms created by the recent Dodd-Frank Act means anyone hoping to understand the biggest financial overhaul in almost 80 years will need a language tutor.

Wells’ Stumpf Mum on CFO Departure [TSC]
Wells Fargo […] CEO John Stumpf wouldn’t answer questions Wednesday on the departure of Howard Atkins, the bank’s former financial chief, preferring instead to focus on the bank’s dividend and buyback. “That is so yesterday. We have a terrific CFO; we are going forward and we are looking to the future,” said Stumpf in the bank’s conference call Wednesday.

Treasury pays IRS a backhanded compliment on its tax-season performance [WaPo]
“On the one hand, the IRS is to be commended for its sharpened focus on fraud interception and prevention,” said Inspector General J. Russell George. “On the other, its efforts to prevent improper credits still leave much to be desired, and customer service problems continue.”

Supreme Court cancels bail to former Satyam auditors [NDTV]
The Supreme Court has cancelled the bails granted to PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Subramani Gopalakrishnan and Satyam’s internal auditor V. S. Prabhakar Gupta, directing them to surrender by April 30. A bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B. S. Chauhan cancelled their bail and directed them to surrender within this period, failing which, the central investigative agency will take steps to arrest them.

Calif. court freezes assets of TV’s ‘tax lady’ [AP]
A California court froze the assets and appointed a receiver Wednesday to run the business operated by Roni Deutch, a nationally known tax lawyer who gained a measure of fame on late-night television commercials. Sacramento Superior Court Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ordered Deutch to appear in court June 10 for a hearing to decide if she should be fined and jailed for criminal contempt of court. She acted after the California attorney general said Deutch shredded documents and failed to promptly repay her clients in violation of a court order.

FASB, IASB Want Feedback on Convergence Burden, Timeline [JofA]
FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) posted a survey online to collect views from users about the time and effort that will be involved in adopting several new standards and when those standards should be effective. The boards are seeking further input on these issues because, they said in a press release, a request for comments in a document released last October drew a “limited number of responses” from users and, for FASB, private entities.