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Accounting News Roundup: IRS Settles with Madoff Trustee; A Simpson-Bowles Comeback?; MF Global Customers Lose Again | 11.23.11

~ We’re calling it a half day, team. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and travel safe. We’ll be back to a full slate on Monday. And remember, if you’re eating at a partner’s house, use a fork to eat any potatoes.

Madoff Trustee Reaches $326 Million Settlement With IRS [Bloomberg]
Trustee Irving Picard found that Madoff or his company made payments to the IRS under a section of U.S. tax code that requires that 30 percent of dividend payments to non-resident aliens and foreign corporations be withheld for taxes, according to a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. A total of $330 million in payments were made on behalf of 145 foreign account holders and were reported to the IRS as federal income tax that was withheld from dividend payments. The agency erroneously paid refunds on claims related to the payment in the amount of $4.2 million, according to the filing.

Diamond Foods Says Director Death Unrelated to Payment Probe [Bloomberg]
Diamond Foods Inc. (DMND) said there’s no connection between the recent death of director Joseph Silveira and a board investigation of the company’s accounting. The San Francisco-based company’s shares tumbled 17 percent in late trading yesterday after CNBC reported that Silveira died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Diamond Foods, which makes Kettle potato chips and other snack foods, had posted a notice of his passing dated Nov. 17.

Tax refund loans land H&R Block in court again [KCS]
A lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles accuses the Kansas City-based tax preparation firm and others of targeting “minorities and the working poor” with products that “provide little to no value” while charging “predatory interest rates and fees.” Attorneys seek court approval to treat the case as a class-action claim that would cover California residents who had gotten a refund anticipation loan after Nov. 17, 2007 that included a refund account fee. The lawsuit similarly targets refund anticipation checks, which it claims are refund anticipation loans under California law, for a class-action claim.

Will the super committee’s failure revive Simpson-Bowles tax reform proposals? [DMWT]
Will the plan co-chaired by cranky pants Alan Simpson make a comeback?

Boehner: GOP willing to work with Obama on payroll tax [The Hill]
House Speaker John Boehner stressed Tuesday that House Republicans were willing to consider an extension of the current payroll tax cut. The Ohio Republican’s statement, which came the same day President Obama lobbied for the payroll tax cut in a New Hampshire speech, also called on the Senate to approve what he called more than 20 House-passed bills that could help create jobs. “With one single statement, the president of the United States could dislodge these bipartisan jobs bills and ensure they are brought to a vote,” Boehner said. “I hope the president will put country before party and call on the Senate to bring these bipartisan jobs bills to a vote immediately after Thanksgiving.”

MF Global Customers Missing $1.2 Billion Denied Committee [Bloomberg]
MF Global Inc. brokerage customers, who may be missing more than $1.2 billion from their accounts, won’t be allowed to form a committee to represent their interests in bankruptcy court, a judge ruled. Customer accounts believed to hold $5.45 billion were frozen Oct. 31, the day after the New York-based company reported a shortfall in funds that are required to be segregated under rules of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. A previous estimate of about $600 million in missing funds was raised to $1.2 billion yesterday by James Giddens, the trustee appointed to liquidate the company and distribute refunds to customers.

Posted in ANR