Accounting News Roundup: States Play Hardball Using Tax Policy; No Audit Committee Chair? No Problem!; Rangel Aide Pleads Guilty | 05.05.11

Raise Taxes, but Not Tax Rates [NYT]
Reducing the budget deficit and stopping the explosion of our national debt will require more tax revenue as well as reduced government spending. But the need for more revenue needn’t mean higher tax rates.

States Use Tax Breaks in War for Jobs [BBW]
New Jersey is granting Panasonic (PC) a $102.4 million tax credit to move its North American headquarters—nine miles. The incentives, announced on Apr. 20, will help defray the cost of leasing a new high-rise office tower to be built in Newark to replace Panasonic’s digs in Japanese electronics maker has outgrown. The company concedes that its decision to stay in New Jersey, where it employs 800 workers, was swayed by the tax break. Peter Fannon, vice-president of technology policy at Panasonic North America, says the company fielded “quite competitive” offers from Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn, N.Y., among others. Says Fannon: “We would not be in New Jersey without [this program].”

Accounting Troubles Can’t Stop Renren IPO [CFO Journal]
Shares of Chinese social network Renren soared nearly 50% in their U.S. stock market debut on Wednesday, as eager investors appeared willing to overlook the last-minute resignation of its audit committee chair and disclosures about material weaknesses over accounting.

Montgomery County Council passes 5-cent bag tax [WaPo]
The Montgomery County Council approved a 5-cent bag tax Tuesday that will go into effect Jan. 1, a move environmentalists hope will revive a stalled effort to pass a similar tax statewide. Montgomery politicians were inspired in part by the District’s bag tax, but they took the idea further by including nearly all retail establishments, not just those that sell food.

Another Guilty Plea In Connecticut Ponzi Case Tied To Venezuela [Dow Jones]
A Venezuelan accountant pleaded guilty in Connecticut federal court Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation into a Ponzi scheme uncovered earlier this year. In that case, Connecticut investment adviser Francisco Illarramendi admitted on March 7 to running a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars over several years and trying to impede a federal investigation into his activities by fabricating evidence.

PricewaterhouseCoopers hired for Charlotte tourism audit [CBJ]
Hiring the auditor marks the latest development in a controversy over $100,000 in bonuses paid to CRVA staff member Ereka Brim for her work on the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament. The issue was reported first by the Charlotte Observer, raising questions about whether visitors authority executives should have approved the bonuses, which were indirectly paid by the CIAA.

Former Aide to Rangel Pleads Guilty in Tax Case [City Room/NYT]
James Capel, who had been a top adviser to Representative Charles B. Rangel for more than a decade, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to failing to file tax returns, months after Mr. Rangel was censured on the House floor over his own tax problems. Mr. Capel, 67, who rose from a community representative in Mr. Rangel’s office to become his chief of staff, admitted in Manhattan Criminal Court that he did not file tax returns from 2003 through 2009. His failure to file resulted in about $25,000 in unpaid taxes.

Raise Taxes, but Not Tax Rates [NYT]
Reducing the budget deficit and stopping the explosion of our national debt will require more tax revenue as well as reduced government spending. But the need for more revenue needn’t mean higher tax rates.

States Use Tax Breaks in War for Jobs [BBW]
New Jersey is granting Panasonic (PC) a $102.4 million tax credit to move its North American headquarters—nine miles. The incentives, announced on Apr. 20, will help defray the cost of leasing a new high-rise office tower to be built in Newark to replace Panasonic’s digs in Secaucus, which the Japanese electronics maker has outgrown. The company concedes that its decision to stay in New Jersey, where it employs 800 workers, was swayed by the tax break. Peter Fannon, vice-president of technology policy at Panasonic North America, says the company fielded “quite competitive” offers from Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn, N.Y., among others. Says Fannon: “We would not be in New Jersey without [this program].”

Accounting Troubles Can’t Stop Renren IPO [CFO Journal]
Shares of Chinese social network Renren soared nearly 50% in their U.S. stock market debut on Wednesday, as eager investors appeared willing to overlook the last-minute resignation of its audit committee chair and disclosures about material weaknesses over accounting.

Montgomery County Council passes 5-cent bag tax [WaPo]
The Montgomery County Council approved a 5-cent bag tax Tuesday that will go into effect Jan. 1, a move environmentalists hope will revive a stalled effort to pass a similar tax statewide. Montgomery politicians were inspired in part by the District’s bag tax, but they took the idea further by including nearly all retail establishments, not just those that sell food.

Another Guilty Plea In Connecticut Ponzi Case Tied To Venezuela [Dow Jones]
A Venezuelan accountant pleaded guilty in Connecticut federal court Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to obstruct the Securities and Exchange Commission in its investigation into a Ponzi scheme uncovered earlier this year. In that case, Connecticut investment adviser Francisco Illarramendi admitted on March 7 to running a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of millions of dollars over several years and trying to impede a federal investigation into his activities by fabricating evidence.

PricewaterhouseCoopers hired for Charlotte tourism audit [CBJ]
Hiring the auditor marks the latest development in a controversy over $100,000 in bonuses paid to CRVA staff member Ereka Brim for her work on the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament. The issue was reported first by the Charlotte Observer, raising questions about whether visitors authority executives should have approved the bonuses, which were indirectly paid by the CIAA.

Former Aide to Rangel Pleads Guilty in Tax Case [City Room/NYT]
James Capel, who had been a top adviser to Representative Charles B. Rangel for more than a decade, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to failing to file tax returns, months after Mr. Rangel was censured on the House floor over his own tax problems. Mr. Capel, 67, who rose from a community representative in Mr. Rangel’s office to become his chief of staff, admitted in Manhattan Criminal Court that he did not file tax returns from 2003 through 2009. His failure to file resulted in about $25,000 in unpaid taxes.

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