• European Union, China Resist PCAOB Audit Inspections [Compliance Week]
PCAOB inspectors have had a helluva time getting access to the necessary information they need in Europe and China and it has caused the international inspections to fall way behind. Because they wanted to be upfront about it, the Board issued a list of the firms that should have had inspections performed in the past four years.
The majority of the firms on the list are international affiliates of the Big 4 and many of the remainder are affiliates of second-tier firms like Grant Thornton and BDO. The PCAOB didn’t give any particular reason that it was being stonewalled in its press release last week, just that “information necessary to conduct inspections was, and continues to be, denied”.
At the time, it was claimed that it was a “paperwork snafu” which looks to have been more or less correct as “[Scharzenegger] was not notified until late last year because the IRS had sent mail to his home instead of his office. Due to security precautions, the governor does not receive mail at his home.” For the trouble Ah-nuld has to pay $20.50 of administrative fees which might get the IRS an extra box of shotgun shells.
• Private equity firms brace for tax battle [Reuters]
Private equity firms have a tendency to be easy targets for a federal government that is looking to increase tax revenues. Following that idea, last week’s budget rollout proposes taxing carried interest at the ordinary rate of 35% that would raise $24 billion over the next ten years. As you might expect this is not a popular idea:
while high-profile buyout firms may seem an easy target, the question is a controversial one. Critics argue that raising the taxes paid by the private equity industry will also hit small partnerships and venture capital, and may not even raise as much revenue as governments hope.
$2.4 billion a year for 10 years doesn’t seem to be all that much in federal government dollars and we’re not sure the government will spend it better than the private equity but it serves is an easy target for politicians pandering during their election year “look how I’m taking on the greedy” speeches.