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Accounting News Roundup: KPMG Appoints New Global Chairman; Big Oil on the Hill; Dems Walk the Tax Hike Line Carefully | 05.12.11

KPMG appoints Michael Andrew as global chairman based in HK [Reuters]
Accounting giant KPMG has appointed Michael Andrew as global chairman to be based in Hong Kong, the firm said on Thursday. Andrew, a 27-year veteran at the accounting firm, was previously chairman of KPMG Asia Pacific and Australia, KPMG said in a statement. He replaces Tim Flynn, who will retire at the end of September.

Oil CEOs on the Hot Seat [WSJ]
With gas prices above $4 a gallon in much of the country, Democrats and Republicans are squaring off over whether to cut tax credits for oil companies enjoying a banner profit year. Senate Democrats plan to grill the CEOs of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and the U.S. units of BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC about the taxes they pay at a Finance Committee hearing on Thursday. Republicans, who have criticized the Obama administration for not acting faster to approve more offshore drilling, won passage of a House bill Wednesday that would require decisions to be made about offshore-drilling permits within 60 days.

Next Up, a Crackdown on Outside-Expert Firms [DealBook]
With the government securing a conviction against Raj Rajaratnam of the Galleon Group on Wednesday, federal prosecutors will shift their focus to expert networks — the intricate web of money managers, corporate executives and consultants at the center of another wave of insider trading cases.

The $8,000 Credit Cost Some Home Buyers Much More [WSJ]
If you missed out on the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers that expired just over a year ago, you might be better off for it. Numbers released Monday suggest typical recipients have lost twice as much to falling house prices as they gained from the incentive.

Democrats Embrace U.S. Tax Increase Versus Medicare Cut in Debt Talks [Bloomberg]
Democrats in Congress are gaining new confidence in promoting tax increases to reduce the national debt by presenting them as the alternative to Republicans’ proposed cuts in Medicare health-care coverage for the elderly. Democratic leaders are avoiding any call for tax increases on the middle class, a key voting bloc, and limiting their proposals to those that would affect wealthy individuals, oil and gas companies, and businesses accused of sending jobs overseas.

Google’s Mysterious Retroactive Charge [CFO Journal]
Google’s surprise $500 million charge against first-quarter earnings for an ongoing government investigation related to online advertising raises an interesting question: Why is Google applying the charge retroactively to the first quarter?

H&R Block Tax Services sues Arizona franchisee [KCBJ]
The division of H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) claims in U.S. District Court in Kansas City that Phoenix-based XL Wealth Management LLC signed an agreement on July 20, 2010, to open franchise locations in Arizona in preparation for the height of the 2011 tax season. But according to the lawsuit, that’s as far as things got in H&R Block’s relationship with XL Wealth Management. Despite H&R Block’s agreement to provide $550,000 in startup money and the company’s subsequent visits to Arizona to check on XL’s progress, the franchise locations never opened.

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