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Accounting News Roundup: GE’s Tax Planning – Everybody’s Doing It; More on the House of Lords Smackdown; KPMG Sued for Hicks Sports Audit | 03.31.11

Sokol Resigns From Berkshire After Investing in Lubrizol [Bloomberg]
David Sokol, once a candidate to succeed Warren Buffett as the head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), resigned as it was disclosed he helped negotiate a takeover while buying stock in the target company. Sokol, 54, bought about 96,000 Lubrizol Corp. (LZ) shares in January before recommending the company as a takeover target, Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, said yesterday in a statement. Sokol had initiated confidential talks with Lubrizol the month before. Berkshire agreed to buy the firm for $9 billion on March 14.

GE-Whizzes: Everyone’s Looking for an Edge on Taxes [WSJ]
GE isn’t the only corporate giant striving to pay as little as possible under the tax code. Wall Street firms, battered by losses during the financial crisis, wrote down their tax bills using a variety of methods and claimed benefits against other tax bills.

House of Lords Skewers Auditors; Over To You, Congress [Forbes]
Wish granted.

Tax Court: Woman Can Deduct Funds Withdrawn by Abusive Boyfriend [TaxProf Blog]
The Tax Court yesterday held that a women could deduct funds withdrawn from her businesses by her abusive boyfriend as theft losses.

Too many accounting bodies, bemoan Lords [Accountancy Age]
With six primary regulators of auditing and accounting in the UK, the Lords described their overseeing of the industry as “fragmented and unwieldy”, saying there is patent overlapping of jurisdiction and function. One unified regulator was held up as the gold standard and the committee seemed to be calling for outside powers to swoop in and break up the squabbling crew.

Sister act: Alabama tax prep sisters each face 129 years in prison [AW]
A couple of sisters looking at a Madoff-esque sentence.

Taxpayer Suggestions for Improving the I.R.S. [Bucks/NYT]
A Q&A with a regular Joe…er…Herb who sat on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel.

KPMG Sued For Giving Tom Hicks “Clean Audit” a Year Before $525-Million Loan Default [Dallas Observer]
GPS alleges that KPMG “was well aware of the desperate financial condition of Hicks Sports” — specifically, the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars — when it was hired to conduct the ’08 audit.

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