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Accounting News Roundup: Philly Trying for a Lap Dance Tax; Taking the Fight to Tax Expenditures; Financial Reporting and “Nonfrugal CEOs” | 07.17.13

IRS Employees Showed No Politics, Lawmakers’ Memo Shows [Bloomberg]
In one excerpt, a Republican IRS employee based in Washington said she hadn’t seen evidence that anyone at the agency tried to influence elections. “That’s kind of laughable that people think that,” she said of the notion that the IRS was targeting President Barack Obama’s political enemies.

Lap Dances Targeted by Philadelphia for Amusement Revenue [Bloomberg]
It’s one thing to watch a scantily clad woman twirl around poles. It’s another to pay her to undulate over your lap. That’s the stance Philadelphia is taking with at least two strip clubs, Club Risque and Cheerleaders. The nation’s fifth-largest city, which taxes the establishments’ entrance fees, is trying to collect levies on lap dances as well. The city is pressing its case as it hires a revenue collection officer and goes after delinquent property tax, which is fifth-highest among U.S. cities surveyed last month by Pew Charitable Trusts. Mayor Michael Nutter has pledged an extra $28 million to the school district — which has a $304 million deficit — from improved collections. “It’s smart business” to apply the tax code to erotic dancing, said Michael Gillen, director of the tax accounting group at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia. “They have to be foolish not to expand their reach.”

Tax Expenditures Should Be Attacked Head On, Not Through the Backdoor [Joe Thorndike/Tax Analysts]
Unfortunately, that approach is politically tricky.

IRS will be fully staffed July 22 as furlough day is canceled [DMWT]

CEOs Who Fudge Numbers Love Luxury And, Sometimes, Breaking The Law [Forbes]
Zynga has a new CEO who "lives like a Saudi prince." A new study says the behavior of "nonfrugal CEOs" can be related to the "
likelihood of financial misstatements and fraud." 

Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets [Guardian]
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets. The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins. The remissions got a bad name in the Middle Ages because unscrupulous churchmen sold them for large sums of money. But now indulgences are being applied to the 21st century. But a senior Vatican official warned web-surfing Catholics that indulgences still required a dose of old-fashioned faith, and that paradise was not just a few mouse clicks away. "You can't obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine," Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

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