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Accounting News Roundup: No Criticism for Fair Value in Latest Crisis; Amnesty Program Kicking Ass, Taking Names (and Money); Chuck Woolery, Deficit Hawk | 09.16.11

European Bank Blowups Hidden With Shell Games [Bloomberg]
Today many of Europe’s largest financial institutions are seemingly on the brink again, driven by fears of pent-up losses stemming from the sovereign-debt debacle. Only you don’t hear much criticism of fair-value reporting anymore. That’s probably because the accounting mandarins gutted many of their fair-value rules in response to the financial system’s near-meltdown three years ago. This hasn’t made banks safer. It has given politicians and bankers one less culprit to blame, though.

Amnesty Program Yields Millions More in Back Taxes [NYT]
More than 12,000 American taxpayers have voluntarily revealed their secret offshore bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service as part of the government’s latest tax amnesty program, agency officials said on Thursday. The move will allow the United States Treasury to collect at least half a billion dollars in unpaid taxes. The voluntary disclosure program, which was in effect from February until last week, is part of an initiative to deter tax evasion via offshore bank accounts. Since the I.R.S. began its previous amnesty program in 2009, more than 30,000 taxpayers have reported their secret overseas accounts, and the federal government has collected $2.7 billion in taxes and penalties.

BofA Keeps Countrywide Bankruptcy as Option [Bloomberg]
Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the lender burdened by its Countrywide Financial Corp. takeover, would consider putting the unit into bankruptcy if litigation losses threaten to cripple the parent, said four people with knowledge of the firm’s strategy. The option of seeking court protection exists because the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank maintained a separate legal identity for the subprime lender after the 2008 acquisition, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans are private. A filing isn’t imminent and executives recognize the danger that it could backfire by casting doubt on the financial strength of the largest U.S. bank, the people said.

UBS $2 bln loss to trigger investment bank retreat [Reuters]
Swiss bank UBS came under increasing pressure to shrink or sideline its investment bank business — source of a $2 billion rogue trading loss — as ratings agencies warned lax risk management could prompt downgrades. The bank is expected to announce a major restructuring involving the loss of thousands more jobs at an investor day in New York on November 17, the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said on Friday, as it seeks to reassure private clients.

It’s National Tax Preparer Recruiting Week at Jackson Hewitt [AWEB]
Anyone looking for a new gig?

Chuck Woolery Responds to Warren Buffett [TaxProf]

Posted in ANR