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Accounting News Roundup: Big 4’s UK Business Picked Up; Ways and Means Hearing on Profit Shifting; Is Joint Filing Obsolete? | 06.13.13

Big Four fee growth outpaces smaller firms [Accountancy Age]
The Big Four accounting firms registered an impressive 7.7% increase in fee income over the last financial year, while smaller firms struggled with minimal growth of 0.6%, according to figures published by the accountancy regulator. In its latest report into the accountancy profession, the FRC found that PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young improved their earnings from audit work by 4.9%, while audit fees for the larger firms outside the Big Four fell by 5%.

Darrell Issa's IRS Investigation Is Falling Apart [BBW]
[A]fter a burst of attention, Issa’s investigation appears to have stalled. Although he turned up embarrassing material—has any government official been humiliated quite like the IRS commissioner in the dorky video dressed up as Spock?—Issa hasn’t made the all-important connection to imply White House complicity—suggests that what they contain may in fact exonerate the administration of the very charge Issa is laboring so hard to prosecute.

IRS Scandal Could Boost Tax-Code Overhaul Efforts [WSJ]
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R., Ohio) said that the scandal is reinforcing the notion in lawmakers’ and voters’ minds that the IRS has too much discretion and that the wider tax code is broken. “When you have the IRS scandal, it puts this at the top of people’s minds, it just reinforces that the IRS is broken, that the tax code is broken,” said Mr. Tiberi, speaking to reporters at a tax policy conference in Washington. He said that while he didn’t think there would be an attempt to strip the IRS of the authority to determine which groups receive tax-exempt status as part of the overhaul effort, a bid to simplify the tax code would result in the maligned agency having less discretion. The lawmaker said that he thought the House Ways and Means Committee, the tax-law writing panel that he serves on, would approve a bill that would overhaul the tax code by year’s end.

Deloitte promotes 48 partners in UK and Switzerland [Economia]
Based on the timing we saw last year, this news is early compared to the U.S.

Insurers Inflating Books, New York Regulator Says [DealBook]
New York State regulators are calling for a nationwide moratorium on transactions that life insurers are using to alter their books by billions of dollars, saying that the deals put policyholders at risk and could lead to another taxpayer bailout. Insurers’ use of the secretive transactions has become widespread, nearly doubling over the last five years. The deals now affect life insurance policies worth trillions of dollars, according to an analysis done for The New York Times by SNL Financial, a research and data firm.

UK lawmakers' report criticizes Google's tax affairs [Yahoo]

British lawmakers described Google's tax affairs as "contrived" in a report released on Thursday and called on the UK tax authority to vigorously investigate whether the company was acting within the law. The parliamentary investigation was prompted by a Reuters report, which showed the company employed staff in sales roles in London, even though it had told lawmakers in November its British staff were not selling to UK clients – an activity that could boost its tax bill substantially.

Camp Announces Hearing on Tax Reform: Tax Havens, Base Erosion and Profit-Shifting [Ways and Means]
FUN! "The hearing will examine different tax planning strategies used by multinational corporations to shift income out of the United States and into low-tax jurisdictions.  The hearing also will consider when profit shifting truly is eroding the U.S. tax base and when companies are shifting profits amongst different foreign jurisdictions without affecting U.S. tax collections."

5 Points You Need to Know Ahead of the Ways and Means Hearing on Profit Shifting [TF
More fun!

Oral surgeon cannot deduct expenses for traveling between home and job [JofA]
Not even for a 130-mile commute.

As Marriage Changes, Should Joint Filing Go The Way of Ozzie And Harriet? [TaxVox]
"While marriage may be sacred to many, there is nothing consecrated about joint filing."

Retirement Will Kill You [Bloomberg]
Get back to work!

Posted in ANR