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Accounting News Roundup: Pot Smokers High on Taxes; Gen Y is Broke Because Their Friends Are Broke; New IRS Tax Tables | 11.01.13

Pot smokers may get high– taxes [USA Today] A pro-pot jingle in Colorado last year went like this: "Jobs for our people/Money for schools/Who could ask for more?" Nearly a year after Colorado legalized recreational weed, voters get the chance to decide exactly how much more — in taxes. On Tuesday, voters decide whether to approve a 15% pot excise tax to pay for school construction, plus an extra sales tax of 10% to fund marijuana enforcement.

IRS warns of new phone scam [CNNMoney] Taxpayers, beware: Fraudsters impersonating IRS agents are calling people across the country demanding they pay taxes that they don't even owe. The IRS warned of this "pervasive" scam on Thursday, saying it has been identified in nearly every state. Innocent taxpayers — often immigrants — are answering their phones only to be informed they owe money to the IRS and need to pay it immediately by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. If they argue or refuse to pay, scammers will threaten to arrest or deport them, or suspend their business or driver's license. "In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting," the IRS said in a statement.

Couple arrested for embezzlement while working in Wake County [WTVD] A Winston-Salem couple was arrested Monday on embezzlement and workers' compensation fraud charges. Christopher Ingalls, 39, and Samantha Ingalls, 34, were both charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count each of insurance fraud, obtaining property by false pretense and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense. N.C. Department of Insurance investigators said that the couple, while working for the same company in Wake County, conspired to defraud The Hartford Insurance Company of more than $14,000 worth of workers' compensation benefits.

JPMorgan discloses wider probes of hiring, currency trading [Reuters] JPMorgan Chase & Co, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, disclosed on Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice and agencies from other jurisdictions are investigating hiring practices in Hong Kong that were already being probed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also said that it is being questioned about its currency trading by various authorities, which are in the early stages of their investigations. Other big banks have made similar disclosures recently about probes of possible manipulation of foreign exchange rates.

New Survey Finds Millennials Rely on Friends' Financial Habits to Determine Their Own [AICPA] Doing alright financially? The answer, if you’re 25 to 34 years old, depends on your friends, according to a new survey from the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council. They released the results today to coincide with a new series of national public service advertisements and a redesigned website for their Feed the Pig financial literacy campaign. The national poll found that three quarters of young adults, or 78 percent, use their friends’ financial habits to determine their own. The vast majority, 66 percent, wants to keep pace with their peers on where they live; 64 percent say the same thing about what they wear. Nearly two-thirds experience pressure to keep up with the types of places they eat and the gadgets they carry.

Beanie Baby Billionaire Sentence Comes Amid Tax Leniency [Bloomberg] As billionaire Beanie Baby creator H. Ty Warner awaits his sentence for offshore Swiss bank tax evasion, he may find solace in the sentences many similar felons are getting — probation or prison terms lighter than prosecutors wanted. Warner, the 69-year-old hotelier and maker of plush toys, pleaded guilty Oct. 2 to tax evasion related to Swiss accounts in which he held as much as $107 million. He owes $5.6 million in taxes and a civil penalty of $53.6 million. Under advisory guidelines for his sentencing, set for Jan. 15 in Chicago, he faces 46 months to 57 months in prison.

Congress Stalls XBRL Exemption, Seeking Compromise [Compliance Week] A House subcommittee considering an exemption from XBRL for smaller companies has decided to hold off and see if it can broker a deal to make XBRL less burdensome to companies and more useful for regulators and investors. Rep. Robert Hurt has said he will not introduce a draft bill he was circulating in advance of a hearing that would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to exempt companies of $1 billion in revenue or lower — almost 80 percent of all public companies — from the requirement to submit financial statements in XBRL, says Hudson Hollister, executive director of the Data Transparency Coalition. Instead, Hurt's staff is working on a more narrow exemption, perhaps only for “emerging growth companies” as defined under the JOBS Act, while hoping to work with the SEC to improve the accuracy and utility of XBRL-formatted data, Hollister says.

Hey, NSA, Get Off of My Cloud [Bloomberg View] Every week seems to bring another revelation about the National Security Agency’s global panopticon. And each disclosure makes it harder to extend the agency the kind of trust and latitude that good intelligence work requires. The latest leak is a whopper. According to documents former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden provided to the Washington Post, the NSA has infiltrated the overseas “cloud” networks through which Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. move their petabytes of data, which includes users’ e-mail. Because the collection is conducted abroad, it’s subject to less oversight than the agency’s previously revealed programs are. The intrusion is all the more curious because the NSA can already access both companies’ accounts under U.S. court supervision.

IRS releases inflation adjustments for 2014 [JofA] On Thursday, the IRS issued the annual inflation adjustments for 2014 for more than 40 tax provisions and the tax tables for 2014 (Rev. Proc. 2013-35). Among the inflation-adjusted amounts that have increased are the personal exemption, which increased from $3,900 in 2013 to $3,950 for 2014, and the standard deduction, which for married filing jointly status increased from $12,200 in 2013 to $12,400 in 2014. In addition, the adoption credit under Sec. 23 is inflation-adjusted from $12,970 in 2013 to $13,190 in 2014. The revenue procedure also contains the inflation-adjusted unified credit against the estate tax, which is $5.34 million for 2014. The annual gift tax exclusion remains at $14,000.

Husband Kicked Out by Wife After Leaving Stupid Comment on Website [Gawker] "I hope your wife reads this," responded another commenter, "and the first thing you see when you wake up tomorrow is your belongings packed in a bin bag on the floor." Well, as hilarity would have it, the man's wife did see the comment, and soon granted the Internet its wish.

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