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Accounting News Roundup: ICAEW Wants IASB to Give It Up; BDO, PKF Finalize Deal in UK; AMT Nightmare Approaches | 12.11.12

Top body wants halt in global accounting alignment [Reuters]
The London-based ICAEW called for the first time for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), whose rules are used in over 100 countries, to end a decade-long "convergence" project with its U.S. counterpart, the FASB. It is the latest sign of growing frustration at how the alignment efforts, called for by world leaders, have stumbled as the United States drags its feet over adopting IASB rules. Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, head of the ICAEW's financial reporting faculty, said in a report to be published on Wednesday the era of convergence should be ended. The IASB should concentrate on forging top quality rules for countries that apply its standards, known as IFRS, he said. "It is better that the IASB and FASB boards issue separate standards, than deliver unsatisfactory compromise solutions or do nothing at all," Sleigh-Johnson said.

US watchdog says auditors not doing their jobs much of the time [Reuters]

In a broad review of the "Big Four" and second-tier audit firms, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said problems are numerous and growing in audits of companies' internal controls – the main method used to keep accurate books. Tests of internal controls were among the requirements of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which Congress passed to curb abuses after accounting scandals at Enron Corp and other companies. The Act created the PCAOB to oversee audit firms. Controls can range from such simple procedures as checking purchase orders and invoices before making payments, to proper security procedures for computers, such as passwords and restricted access.
BDO/PKF merger confirmed [Accountancy Age]

BDO and PKF have agreed to merge following approval from partners at both firms. Earlier this year, it was announced that the two top 20 firms were in advanced discussions to merge, which would create a firm with more than £400m in revenues and about 3,500 staff. […] According to the latest announcement, the two firms will work under the BDO brand, with the merger to be completed by spring next year.

4 years after discovery of Bernie Madoff’s swindle, trustee still on the trail of millions [WaPo]
When he was first told in 2008 about Bernard Madoff’s epic Ponzi scheme, attorney David Sheehan had a response that now sounds inconceivable. “Who,” he wondered, “is Bernie Madoff?” Four years after Madoff’s arrest, Sheehan has been thoroughly educated about the disgraced financier. Irving Picard, the trustee appointed to recover funds for Madoff victims, and a battalion of lawyers headed by Sheehan have spent long days untangling Madoff’s fraud. On the fourth anniversary of Madoff’s Dec. 11, 2008, arrest, it’s an international effort that shows no signs of slowing.

Pam Anderson Dancing With Tax Liens [TMZ]
$370k, give or take.

Norquist won't oppose Republicans wobbly on taxes, yet [Reuters]
Republican lawmakers who publicly mull acquiescing to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans may be guilty of "impure thoughts" in the words of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, but he says that alone is no reason to throw them out of office. "Thinking something out loud is not treason," Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Reuters in an interview. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma are among a handful of Republicans openly weighing President Barack Obama's proposal to raise tax rates on household incomes above $250,000, the stickiest point in the talks to avert the "fiscal cliff." "Right now, he has had impure thoughts on tax increases," Norquist said of the recent comments by Chambliss. "But nobody has voted for a tax increase."

Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Forensic Accountants? [Fraud Files]
The short answer: no.

The Coming AMT Debacle [TaxVox]
Eric Toder: "In 2011, the exempt income levels under the AMT were $48,450 for single taxpayers and $74,450 for married taxpayers. If Congress fails to act, these exemptions will decline to $33,750 for singles and $45,000 for couples. As a result, 28 million more taxpayers will be hit by the AMT, and many of the 4 million who would owe AMT even with a patch will owe even more. Overall, AMT liability will rise from $34 billion to $120 billion. Of that $86 billion increase, new AMT taxpayers will owe $64 billion—an average of about $2,250–while those currently on the tax will pay another $22 billion—an increase of about $5,500 each over the nearly $8,500 average they would pay with a patch."

Former archdiocese employee faces additional charges over tax returns [PP]
The latest criminal complaint alleges that Scott Joseph Domeier, 51, neglected to pay state income tax on the embezzled funds. The taxes he evaded from the tax years 2006 through 2011 total more than $48,000, according to the complaint filed Nov. 5. Domeier appeared in Ramsey County District Court on Wednesday, Nov. 14, for a hearing on the seven earlier charges of theft by swindle. The attorneys agreed to postpone the hearing till Nov. 28. According to the earlier complaint, Domeier diverted archdiocese checks to pay personal credit card bills, private-school tuition for his children and other personal expenses.

Stephen Baldwin wants tax truce [NYP]
Stephen Baldwin is hoping to set things right after he was arrested Thursday and charged with failure to file state income taxes for three years. “I went myself [to the police] in a pre-arranged kind of way, but that won’t stop the process of the powers that be being upset about it,” Baldwin told Page Six at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room on Sunday. “I had this pretty serious issue with filings that weren’t handled appropriately. To be honest with you, it’s a situation right now where my lawyers are in a conversation now with New York state and the district attorney’s office, and I’m very hopeful that everything should be fine,” he said.

Posted in ANR