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Accounting News Roundup: Anschutz Loses Appeal; Perry’s Campaign Costing Texans; Owning Up to Your Firings | 12.28.11

Just a friendly reminder that the Daily Grind eNewsletter is taking the week off and we'll be posting infrequently to close out the year. Of course, if there's something urgent you think we should know about – including EOY employee appreciation efforts – get in touch

IRS writes new accounting rules for asset repairs [Reuters]
The Internal Revenue Service issued new rules to clarify the difference between a business expense that is a repair and tax-deductible and one that is an improvement but not deductible right away. Most of the new rules, which touch on everything from the repair of plane engine to a retailer's new roof, take effect on January 1. An ordinary business repair of an asset is generally tax deductible. An improvement is usually classified as a capital expenditure and not immediately deductible. The 255 pages of new regulations, published in the federal register on Tuesday, are temporary, meaning the IRS can edit the rules if sufficiently persuaded by the business community.
Appeals court says Philip Anschutz owes $17.3 million in taxes [AP]
At issue were stock deals that were structured to spread the tax liability out over several years. Judges agreed with tax regulators that that the transactions were sales, not pending transactions as Anschutz argued. Such transactions executed through so-called variable prepaid forward contracts and share-lending agreements are a fairly common practice by large shareholders hoping to raise money while deferring taxes, according to Robert Willens, a former Lehman Bros. director who now heads a Wall Street tax and accounting firm. According to the court documents, the Internal Revenue Service in 2003 issued guidance on how the transactions should be structured to avoid taxes, but Willens said the IRS in 2006 issued another letter warning that the arrangements could result in taxable income. In a friend-of-the-court filing in the case, Liberty Media Corp. argued the transactions amount to loans, not sales, and that they provide an important way for companies to raise money and create jobs.

Patriotic Millionaires Support Higher Taxes, But Won't Donate to Treasury [TaxProf]
Conservative observers are waiting!

Rick Perry's presidential campaign costing Texas taxpayers millions [DMWT]
Kay Bell: "The Texas governor, however, says he's doing this not for his political future, but for our great state. It's 'appropriate' for the state's public safety department to pay for his security, he says, because Texans would benefit from his travels."

A Problem with Audit Model [The Summa]
There are others. But Professor Albrecht starts here.

'Must I Say My Last Boss Fired Me?' [WSJ]
Be loud and proud of your firings!



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