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Accounting News Roundup: Buffett’s ‘Sacrifice’; Groupon’s Slump; PwC’s German, Dutch Firms Merging | 05.07.12

Buffett Defends His Tax View [WSJ]
The meeting was Berkshire's first since Mr. Buffett made headlines by saying those earning more than $1 million a year should pay a tax rate of at least 30%. One questioner asked whether a CEO should keep his political views "muted," prompting Mr. Buffett to respond that he has a duty to share his views on economic questions. Mr. Buffett said higher taxes on high earners are part of necessary "sacrifice" at a time when a fifth of households subsist on $21,000 or less annually. He added that high earners paid higher rates up until tax-code changes over the past two decades sharply reduced the proportion of income paid by top earners.

Groupon Loses Half of Value Since IPO on Accounting Woes [Bloomberg]
“They’re in a penalty box time frame where they need to re-earn investors’ trust because of all the accounting restatements,” said Herman Leung, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group in San Francisco. “They want us to focus on revenue, and then those revenue numbers are the ones that are restated. How can investors be comfortable with that?”

Customer Divide at MF Global [WSJ]
In the fight to get their missing money back, not all customers at MF Global Holdings Ltd. were created equal. Andrew McCormick, a commodity-fund manager in Seattle, had about $480,000 at MF Global when the firm collapsed in October. Half of his money was invested in the U.S., and the other half went into non-U.S. investments. So far, the 27-year-old Mr. McCormick has recovered about $175,000 on his U.S. holdings—or 72% of what he is owed. On the rest, "I haven't seen a penny," he said. Instead of hunting for new clients, he spends more time trying to get his money back and making sure other brokerage firms are safe to deal with.

PwC in Germany, Netherlands to merge – magazine [Reuters]
The German and Dutch members of the PricewaterhouseCoopers network of consulting and auditing firms plan to merge to compete for auditing contracts with KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte, the head of PwC Germany told WirtschaftsWoche magazine. "The global PwC network comprises independent companies, but we want to grow into one global firm," Norbert Winkeljohann said, according to an excerpt of an interview to be published in the magazine's Monday edition.

92-year-old to be sentenced in suicide kit case [AP]
A 92-year-old woman who sold $40 kits for people to kill themselves is being sentenced in San Diego for failing to file federal tax returns. Prosecutors recommend that Sharlotte Hydorn be ordered to pay more than $25,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service Monday and be sentenced to five years' probation.

No booze for lawmakers on taxpayers' dime [CV]
No names were mentioned or caucuses identified, but an auditor hired by the [Pennsylvania] Legislature raised eyebrows last week when he said there were a few instances where individuals charged a drink to a legislative account. Not huge purchases of alcohol by lots of lawmakers, more like a glass of wine here or there, said Auditor Steve Baloga with Ernst & Young LLP. He suggested it would make sense to have a policy prohibiting it.

Why thoughts of death may be good for you [MSNBC]
Reminders of death can improve life, according to a review of research on how people respond to both the conscious and unconscious awareness of their own mortality. "The dance with death can be a delicate but potentially elegant stride toward living the good life," write American and Dutch researchers in a study published online April 5 in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review. Scientists have suggested, in what is called terror management theory, that awareness of the inevitability of death motivates people to turn to cultural beliefs that give their lives meaning and significance, and to identify with something larger than themselves, such as nations or religions.
Long Island 'hooker' accused of selling sex out of hot-dog truck — again [NYP]
A Long Island hooker sold more than just sausage at her roadside hot-dog truck — using the truck to peddle her own flesh even though she’d been busted on the same rap eight years ago, cops said yesterday. Catherine Scalia, 45, was arrested Thursday night when she offered the off-menu special to an undercover cop and took him back to her East Rockaway pad for some home cooking.


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