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Accounting News Roundup: Individual Tax Evasion; Corporate Tax Avoidance; Bad Advice for Avoiding Identity Theft Tax Fraud | 01.31.13

U.S. Is Preparing More Tax-Evasion Cases [WSJ]
The U.S. is expanding its crackdown of offshore tax evasion, preparing numerous criminal cases against suspected offenders, defense lawyers involved in the cases say. Four years after an agreement between the U.S. and Switzerland pierced a veil of banking secrecy by requiring Swiss bank UBS AG to turn over names of account holders, defense lawyers estimate that federal prosecutors are conducting at least 100 criminal investigations against suspected tax evaders. The moves come as the U.S. is turning the screws on smaller banks that may have helped taxpayers stash money in secret overseas accounts. On Monday, a federal judge in New York approved an Internal Revenue Service summons demanding still more records from UBS. According to court filings, the government now is focusing on U.S. taxpayers with accounts at smaller Swiss banks that didn't have U.S. branches but served customers through a UBS account in Stamford, Conn.

Can publicity curb corporate tax avoidance? [FT]

Members of both political parties are keen to reduce the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 per cent, which is high by international standards, to perhaps 25 per cent. The problem is that if revenue-neutrality is demanded, no new revenue source such as a financial transactions tax is permitted, and the base-broadening is confined to the corporate side, then there is a problem. There are not enough corporate tax expenditures available to finance the rate reduction that everyone thinks is necessary. […] The one big tax preference theoretically available to finance a rate reduction is deferral on foreign source income. Presently, the US taxes the income of foreign subsidiaries of US-based multinational corporations, but only when repatriated to America. Income remaining offshore is untaxed by the US.
Companies Plan to Trim Cash Stockpiles [CFO]

For only the second  time in more than two years, the corporate-cash indicator from the Association for Financial Professionals shows more finance executives (28%) anticipate cutting their cash hoard in the first quarter than are planning to add to it (23%). It’s the first time finance professionals are forecasting lower cash reserves for a quarter since January 2011, when the AFP began conducting the study. If the forecast is correct, it would suggest companies are becoming less wary of parting with their cash.

BlackBerry 10’s Debut Fizzles as U.S. Buyers Left Waiting [Bloomberg]
The smartphone maker formerly known as Research In Motion stumbled in its introduction of the BlackBerry 10 lineup yesterday, disappointing shareholders with the lack of a firm U.S. release date and setting a price that may be too high to lure away customers from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc.’s Android. The shares tumbled 12 percent after the event, which included an appearance by Keys, a Grammy-winning R&B singer who was given the title of BlackBerry’s global creative director. BlackBerry 10 phones won’t appear in the U.S. until March, raising concerns that the company will fall even further behind the iPhone and Android in its biggest market. The lag also means BlackBerry won’t get as much value out of its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, which airs on Feb. 3, weeks before Americans can even buy one of the new devices. “For the BlackBerry faithful, another month is a long time,” Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee in San Francisco, said in an interview. “The execution could have been crisper.”

Waiting for Blackberry 10 – Launch Day [Greg Kyte/YouTube]
One disappointed consumer.
IRS Tips Won't Protect You From Identity Theft Tax Fraud [Forbes]
Small Firms Say LinkedIn Works, Twitter Doesn't [WSJ]
Just 3% of 835 business owners surveyed earlier this month by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International said Twitter had the most potential to help their companies.
Pot Consultant: Washington State Looks For Weed Scholars To Separate Seeds From Stems [AP]
Your next career move? "As Washington state tries to figure out how to regulate its newly legal marijuana, officials are hiring an adviser on all things weed: how it's best grown, dried, tested, labeled, packaged and cooked into brownies. Sporting a mix of flannel, ponytails and suits, dozens of those angling for the job turned out Wednesday for a forum in Tacoma, several of them from out of state. The Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with developing rules for the marijuana industry, reserved a convention center hall for a state bidding expert to take questions about the position and the hiring process. 'Since it's not unlikely with this audience, would a felony conviction preclude you from this contract?' asked Rose Habib, an analytical chemist from a marijuana testing lab in Missoula, Mont. The answer: It depends. A pot-related conviction is probably fine, but a "heinous felony," not so much, responded John Farley, a procurement coordinator with the Liquor Control Board."
Posted in ANR