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Accounting News Roundup: Being a REIT Is So Hot Right Now; Scott London’s Time Away From Skechers; Say Hello to Grant Thornton Kyrgyzstan | 04.22.13

Restyled as Real Estate Trusts, Varied Businesses Avoid Taxes [NYT]
The trust structure has been around for years but, until recently, it was generally used only by funds holding real estate. Now, the likes of the Corrections Corporation of America, which owns and operates 44 prisons and detention centers across the nation, have quietly received permission from the Internal Revenue Service to put on new corporate clothes and, as a result, save many millions on taxes. The Corrections Corporation, which is making the switch, expects to save $70 million in 2013. Penn National Gaming, which operates 22 casinos, including the M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, recently won approval to change its tax designation, too. Changing from a standard corporation to a real estate investment trust, or REIT — a designation signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower — has suddenly become a hot corporate trend. One Wall Street analyst has characterized the label as a “golden ticket” for corporations. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen the interest in REIT conversions as high as it is today,” said Robert O’Brien, the head of the real estate practice at Deloitte & Touche, the big accounting firm.

KPMG's Inside Trader: What The Auditor, and Skechers, Don't Want To Talk About [Forbes]
How did Scott London spend his rotation time away from Skechers?
Paul Moore: Why Griffith-Jones must step down as FCA chairman [Ian Fraser]
Scott London is really stealing the thunder from KPMG's involvement with the collapsed bank HBOS.
Tweedie: Audit reports "hopeless" [Accountancy Age]
"The audit report at present is hopeless. It's full of who is repsonsible for what, and it's difficult to find the auditor's opinion," he stated.
Deputies: Accountant stole $170K from boss, got breast implants and divorce [OSS]
And new furniture.
Marcum Merges in Cornerstone Accounting [AT]

The merger takes effect immediately. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Marcum's revenues in 2012 were $275.5 million, but Cornerstone's annual revenues were not disclosed. As part of the deal, the entire Cornerstone team, including five partners and 75 staff members, will join Marcum. Cornerstone managing partner Daniel Vitulli will become national leader of Marcum’s Real Estate industry group and will join Marcum’s executive committee.
How a Firm Makes the Vault Accounting 50 [AWEB]
In case you'd like to improve your firm's position.

Grant Thornton opens new affiliate in Kyrgyzstan under initiative of its affiliates in Armenia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan [GT]
Ed Nusbaum, Grant Thornton global CEO, said, "I am delighted that our three firms in the CIS region have taken a lead in developing our service offering. Kyrgyzstan is growing and represents great opportunities for us as a global organization. I congratulate them on their success in building a strong client base that has enabled us to increase our presence in the region." 

The Pot Business Suffers Growing Pains [WSJ]
Like any farmer, Elliott Klug understands the highs and lows of living off the land. But his crop requires a rigorous effort. To keep output going, it is harvested every week. It is also grown only indoors. And though you won't find this tip in the Farmer's Almanac, his workers believe that blaring Grateful Dead songs boosts productivity. "We were the bad guys," says Mr. Klug, chief executive of Pink House Blooms, a 70-person operation that produces and sells marijuana to people who have a prescription for it. "Now we are still the bad guys, but we pay taxes."

Talking Taxes With California Beach Goers [TaxProf]

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