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Accounting News Roundup: Happy Filing!; New Head Partner at Grant Thornton Chicago; H&R Block vs. TurboTax, Round 2 | 01.30.13

MF Global’s Bankruptcy Nears a Happy Conclusion [DealBook]
When Mahesh Desai checked his MF Global account 15 months ago, his $580,000 nest egg was gone. Like thousands of investors and farmers who had their savings with MF Global, Mr. Desai lost his money in the brokerage firm’s chaotic final days. Regulators discovered that $1.6 billion was trapped in a web of improper wire transfers, a stunning breach that sent federal investigators scrambling to build a case. On Thursday, a bankruptcy court will review a proposal that would return 93 percent of the missing money to customers like Mr. Desai. And the trustee who has submitted the proposal, James W. Giddens, has quietly identified a way that, if sent to the judge and approved, could plug the remaining shortfall for customers in the United States, according to people involved in the case.

IRS Opens For Business Today, Many Taxpayers Qualify To File For Free [Forbes]
Tax Girl: "The Internal Revenue Service has already delayed the filing season by a little over a week: the season was supposed to kick off on January 22, 2013, but due to the fiscal cliff deal, it was pushed out to January 30, 2013. That means, as of today, the IRS will begin accepting e-filed returns and processing the old fashioned paper ones."
Fed Pushes Internal Audit Toward CEO Suite [CFOJ (Subscription)] 
The U.S. Federal Reserve is getting behind a push to move internal auditors away from reporting to the chief financial officer or general counsel, in an effort to boost their ability to operate objectively.
Audit committees don't understand their annual reports [Accountancy Age]
Research has shown many audit committees don't understand their annual reports, fail to carry out an annual evaluation of their auditor and believe their company's risk programme needs substantial work, according to a KPMG survey. The research shows that just 62% believe their annual reports paints an understandable picture of the business with UK respondents even less confident with just 56% believing this to be the case.
Tomkinson Named Office Managing Partner of Grant Thornton’s Chicago Practice [GT]
Vince Tomkinson gets a bit of upgrade after being the OMP of Detroit.
Court Denies H&R Block's Effort to Pull Intuit Ad [Dow Jones]

Last week, three divisions of H&R Block filed a lawsuit against Intuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri alleging Intuit's ads infringed on H&R Block's trademarks. H&R Block claimed the commercials created a false impression that its tax preparers weren't well trained and are not "real tax experts." On Tuesday, the court denied H&R Block's motion for a temporary restraining order to restrain Intuit from broadcasting the two advertisements. The court said the plaintiffs didn't offer sufficient evidence that the advertisements' statements actually deceived or had a tendency to deceive their audience. "We are very pleased with today's decision and will continue to vigorously defend these truthful ads," said Dan Maurer, general manager and senior vice president of Intuit's consumer tax group. "These two TurboTax advertisements factually and accurately portray the tax expertise of TurboTax experts, who are all CPAs, IRS Enrolled Agents and tax attorneys. This stands in sharp contrast to the prior tax experience of some of those who major tax stores advertise for and hire."

Cats killing billions of animals in the US [BBC]
Cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, killing billions of animals each year, a study suggests. The authors estimate they are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually. Writing in Nature Communications, the scientists said stray and feral cats were the worst offenders. However, they added that pet cats also played a role and that owners should do more to reduce their impact. The authors concluded that more animals are dying at the claws of cats in the United States than in road accidents, collisions with buildings or poisonings.


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