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Accounting News Roundup: Rick Perry’s Awful, Awful Tax Plan; Audit Firm Talking Points Translate Well; Don’t Hesitate to Shout into a Speaker Phone When on with the IRS | 10.25.11

My Tax and Spending Reform Plan [WSJ]
In addition to giving us a “choice” between a 20% flat rate or their current tax rate, Texas carnival barker Rick Perry also said this: “ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley must be quickly repealed and, if necessary, replaced by market-oriented, common-sense measures.” Whatever that means.

Murdochs shunned in News Corp vote [FT]
Just 20 per cent of voting shareholders not aligned with News Corp’s founding family voted for James Murdoch to be re-elected, reflecting concern about the deputy chief operating officer’s response to the UK phone hacking scandal that scuppered the group’s bid for British Sky Broadcasting. He faces a separate re-election battle as chairman of BSkyB next month. Family votes saw James Murdoch re-elected with 65 per cent of all votes cast, but this was down from 89 per cent last year. Given the family’s holding, “a big protest vote would be anything over 20 per cent” against the board, Paul Hodgson of GovernanceMetrics International said before the figures were released.

Olympus chairman lashes out at ousted CEO [FT]
In perhaps the most personal attack, [Olympus Chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa] suggested that [Former President Michael] Woodford “did not like Japan” because he spent much of his time as president abroad. “At a time when he was imposing strict cost cuts on frontline employees, director MCW travelled around Europe and to his home [in the UK] by private jet,” he said.

Keynote Address: A Fresh Look at Auditing [PCAOB]
Jim Doty’s keynote from NASBA’s 104th Annual Meeting.

Audit Chief Faces China Risks [WSJ]
KPMG’s top auditor in China sounds an awful lot like a top auditor in the States.

Big 4 Audits: A Thing of the Past? [GOA]
The Grumpies are thinking about the future.

Fairfax neighbors head to court over unscooped dog poop [WaPo]
A dispute between neighbors in Fairfax County over that perennial suburban pet peeve — unscooped dog poop — has grown so big that the case is set to go to a jury Tuesday. A dog walker invested $1,200 in her defense, and a supposed eyewitness will testify. A photo of the offending pile will be admitted as evidence. The fluffy 19-pound Westie-bichon frise mix will stay home. The case is just one flash point in an increasingly sophisticated, expensive and acrimonious battle over dog waste in the Washington suburbs and beyond. Two Northern Virginia apartment complexes have signed on for PooPrints, a service that collects DNA samples from pooches, taking a “CSI”-style approach to find the culprits of unclaimed messes.

The Republican Idea of Tax Reform [Economix/NYT]
Bill Clinton, in his budget for fiscal year 1997, which was released in early 1996, projected a federal budget surplus by 2001. It turned out that the tax increases initiated by George H.W. Bush in 1990 and by Mr. Clinton in 1993, which were strenuously opposed by virtually all Republicans, did exactly what they were supposed to do and sharply reduced federal budget deficits. Nevertheless, Republican dogma insists that tax increases just fuel spending and never reduce the deficit. As the Republican tax guru Grover Norquist put it last week, when taxes are on the table there are no spending cuts. “When taxes are off the table, you get spending cuts,” he said. My friend Grover is factually wrong. Spending as a share of the gross domestic product fell after both the 1990 and 1993 budget deals, in large part because of tough budget controls that Republicans abandoned in 2002 so that they could cut taxes without restraint. And contrary to Mr. Norquist’s theory, the tax cuts of the George W. Bush years did not constrain spending, which rose as a share of the G.D.P. almost every year of his administration (as the raw data confirms).

IRS Reminds Workers They Can’t Demand Turning Off Speakerphone [Dow Jones]
The tax agency agreed to remind its employees that they can’t threaten to withhold telephone help from taxpayers using speakerphones, after the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel raised the issue in its 2010 annual report, released Monday. In one of 30 of the panel’s recommendations agreed to by the IRS, the tax agency conceded that the Internal Revenue Manual does not prohibit the use of speakerphones and will issue an alert reminding its employees who provide telephone help to taxpayers.

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