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Accounting News Roundup: Tax Lobby Taking No Chances; First Lady of Tax Fraud Regretting Life Choices; IRS Loves the ‘Against My Religion’ Excuse | 07.18.13

Comptroller Candidate Spitzer Reveals Taxes [WSJ]
New York City comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer released on Wednesday the top two pages of his federal tax return for the past two years in the wake of fierce criticism from rival Scott Stringer who accused him of hypocrisy for declining to make public his full tax returns. Mr. Stringer's campaign described Mr. Spitzer's four-page release as a "non-disclosure disclosure" and called on the former governor to meet the "standard of transparency he once championed" and release his full returns for the past five years. Mr. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, has released his tax returns for the past five years.

IRS Rules Covering Recession Are Music to Accountant Ears [Bloomberg]
Congress let some firms that are organized as partnerships defer income from forgiven debts in 2009 and 2010, and the final rules just came out for paying those taxes starting next year, Bloomberg BNA reported. The tax amounts stay the same and the accounting isn’t going to be as complicated as previously anticipated, lawyers said. The rules “should prove to be music to a tax accountant’s ear, without any atonality or dissonance,” said Michael Grace, counsel at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP. With 3.2 million partnerships in the U.S., including many private equity managers, hedge funds and real estate investors, the rules may have a big impact. Companies have been waiting on the Internal Revenue Service to finalize the accounting because taxpayers will start including the income after these deferrals next calendar year for their 2015 taxes.

K Street lobbyists storm Capitol Hill offices to rescue tax breaks [The Hill]
“This is and should be the most-lobbied piece of legislation there is because it’s going to have such a broad effect,” said Dorothy Coleman, the National Association of Manufacturers’ vice president of tax and domestic economic policy. Top Senate tax-writers opened the lobbying floodgates last month when they announced that each of their colleagues should make the case for which tax breaks they think should be inserted back into a stripped-down code. While many are skeptical that the “blank slate” approach from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will succeed, K Street’s tax operatives are leaving nothing to chance.

IRS loss to fraud's 'first lady' may have hit $20 million [TBT via Tax Update]
Rashia Wilson may have duped the IRS out of as much as $20 million before her arrest on stolen identity refund fraud charges. That's according to a court document, filed in advance of her sentencing today, that estimates the government's loss at $7 million to $20 million. "She used this money for nothing more than personal greed and glorification, including jewelry, automobiles, parties and travel," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney wrote in a memo. Wilson, the self-described first lady of tax fraud, apologized in a letter to the court. She admitted to "extremely poor decisions."

Economist who dodged tax due to 'religious objection' gets four years behind bars [NYP]
An economist who claimed a "religious objection" to dodge paying taxes was sentenced today to four years behind bars and three years of supervised release for cheating the IRS out of $1.67 million over two decades. David Gilmartin, 69, had been found guilty last year of failing to report his income with the IRS from 1989 to 2010 and with providing his employers bogus forms in which he claimed to be exempt from federal income taxes. Before the sentencing in Manhattan federal court, his lawyer asked Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum for leniency, citing Gilmartin’s age and him being a first-time offender. But the judge fired back, “It was a first offense that was committed for 20 years!"

The Erstwhile Hedge Fund King of Akron, Ohio’s Very Difficult Summer [Roddy Boyd/SIRF]
Anthony Davian claimed to manage more than $200 million and issue a newsletter that took "several hundred [thousand dollars] annually" but, NOPE, it was all a fraud. He also claimed to have an accounting degree — NOT THE CASE.

PayPal Apologizes for Giving Pennsylvania Man $92 Quadrillion [Gawker]
When Chris Reynolds opened his monthly PayPal statement this month, he was pleasantly surprised to find slightly more in his account than he was expecting. According to the statement, he was suddenly worth $92,233,720,368,547,800. “Well, initially I was a little jolted because I saw a negative number in front of a lot of digits and I just decided to have a little fun with it,” Reynolds told ABC News, adding that his friends liked the picture of the statement he posted to Facebook. PayPal quickly recognized their mistake and removed the money from the account. “PayPal was really good by the way,” Reynolds said. “They apologized for any inconvenience.”

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