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Accounting News Roundup: Bank Accounting? Manipulative? Get Out; Happy Form 7004 Day!; Argo Tax Yourself | 03.15.13

Hidden Numbers Make Banks Even Bigger [NYT]
FN: "Under American accounting rules, banks that trade a lot of derivatives can keep literally trillions of dollars in assets and liabilities off their balance sheets. Since 2009, they have at least been required to make disclosures about how large those amounts are, but the disclosures leave out some things and — amazingly enough — in some cases do not seem to add up."

Commerzbank, Eric Holder, and Too-Big-to-Jail [Bloomberg]
[Dennis] Lerner, 60, pleaded guilty this week to public-corruption charges. Commerzbank hired him from the Internal Revenue Service in 2011 while he was an examiner responsible for negotiating a tax-fraud settlement with the bank, according to the criminal complaint that prosecutors filed in September. Commerzbank paid the IRS $210 million one day before offering Lerner the job, which he accepted immediately. The figure was 62 percent of the potential taxes due. Bank employees later told federal investigators it had been willing to pay much more money to settle the audit. “We will not tolerate corrupt government employees and will prosecute and punish them to the full extent of the law,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a March 12 news release. Notably, Bharara said nothing about prosecuting the people and companies that participate in corrupting them.

Boehner Says Losses in Election Won’t Affect Budget Stance [NYT]
Speaker John A. Boehner said Thursday that election losses last November would not deter his party from pressing its vision of reducing the size of government and turning government health care programs largely over to the private sector — with no more tax increases. In an interview, Mr. Boehner said that candidates and personalities — not Republican proposals on Medicare and spending cuts — accounted for the party’s defeats, taking a hard line on further budget talks even as Senate Republicans met with President Obama in a search for common ground. “There are a lot of things that decide an election, especially the two candidates that you have, the personalities that they have, positions they have taken,” he said.

Calendar-year corporation returns are due today! [Tax Update]
Form 7004. Use it.

5 convicted of inventing movie to hide tax fraud [AP]
Prosecutors and tax authorities say the fraudsters claimed to be producing a made-in-Britain movie with unnamed A-list actors and a 19 million-pound budget supplied by a Jordanian firm. In fact, officials say, the project was a sham, set up to claim almost 1.5 million pounds in goods and services tax for work that had not been done, as well as 1.3 million pounds under a government program that allows filmmakers to claim back up to 25 percent of their expenditure as tax relief.

The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio [HBR]
6-1. Now quit sucking at giving praise.
Will a relationship neutral tax code save traditional marriage? [DMWT]
No. Next Question.
Flight attendant cannot claim foreign earned income exclusion for wages earned in international airspace and U.S. [JofA]

On Wednesday, the Tax Court held that a flight attendant who was a resident of Hong Kong and a U.S. citizen could not claim 100% of her wages were excludable under the Sec. 911 foreign earned income exclusion. The court also upheld an accuracy-related penalty under Sec. 6662, pointing to the taxpayer’s earlier Tax Court case in which she had made the same claim of 100% exclusion under the same facts.

Arrest of Dancing Mascot Puts Liberty Tax Wavers In The Spotlight [Forbes]
Zee Tax Girl: "
Channing Gould, age 19, was arrested this week after he was shooed off of a corner at North Tarrant Parkway and Park Vista Boulevard in Fort Worth, Texas. Gould was accused of disrupting traffic, a charge he disputes. Gould says he was simply doing his job as a Liberty Tax waver."


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