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Accounting News Roundup: The Corporate Offshore Cash Stash; SEC Is On Groupon; Looking for the “Just Right” Amount of Going Concern Warnings | 07.28.11

With G.O.P. Unity at Risk, Boehner Tries Tougher Style [NYT]
“I didn’t put my neck on the line and go toe to toe with Obama to not have an army behind me,” Mr. Boehner declared at a private party meeting, according to some House members. He demanded the fealty of conservatives who were threatening to sink his budget proposal and deny him the chance to confront the Senate with a take-it-or-leave offer on a debt ceiling increase. Mr. Boehner really had no choice but to go all out. A defeat of that plan — which seemed likely Tuesday night before its prospects improved Wednesday — would have been a disastrous repudiation, in effect a stinging vote of no confidence in him.

US groups hit as tax keeps cash overseas [FT]
As much as half US companies’ record $1,240bn in cash balances is being held overseas, according to Moody’s research, with groups wary of incurring a 35 per cent repatriation tax. The foreign holdings are limiting corporate flexibility in managing balance sheets and adding to pressure from the business community for wide-ranging tax reforms.

Treasury to Weigh Which Bills to Pay [NYT]
The outlines of the answer, however, already are clear. Officials have said repeatedly that Treasury does not have the legal authority to pay bills based on political, moral or economic considerations. It cannot, for instance, set aside invoices from weapons companies to preserve money for children’s programs. The implication is that the government will need to pay bills in the order that they come due. President Obama has warned as a result that the government “cannot guarantee” payments of Social Security benefits or other popular programs. Officials also have disputed the assertion of some Republicans that the government could prioritize interest payments.

Groupon’s Accounting Lingo Gets Scrutiny [WSJ]
Groupon Inc. has attracted scrutiny from regulators over a newfangled accounting metric it is using to market itself to investors ahead of its initial public offering, said a person familiar with the situation. The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked Groupon to answer questions about the unusual measure it invented, which paints a more robust picture of performance by excluding marketing and other expenses, this person said.

The Influence Industry: Challenging the IRS on rules that keep donors secret [WaPo]
Two advocacy groups have filed a petition with the Internal Revenue Service challenging regulations that allow political organizations such as the conservative Crossroads GPS and the liberal Priorities USA to form as nonprofits under the tax code. The issue comes down to disclosure of donors: Groups that form as nonprofits are not required to reveal them. By contrast, political groups registered with the Federal Election Commission must list all of their contributors.

Ford CFO: No More Mr. No [CFOJ]
“We’re in an expensive period,” Booth acknowledged during a conference call with analysts Tuesday, but added, “You’ll not see us backing away from world class products and world class revenues; we’ve tried doing it the other way and it doesn’t work.”

Going, Gone: Too Many “Going Concern” Warnings May Be As Bad As Too Few [Forbes]
It’s a “Goldilocks Effect.”

IRS Realigns International Tax Operations [AT]
The realignment will result in a new “Advance Pricing and Mutual Agreement program” under the direction of a single executive. The IRS also plans to increase the staff available to the two program areas. The IRS said the combined office would allow the agency to reduce the time it needs to complete advance pricing agreements and to resolve transfer pricing disputes with treaty partners in other countries. The Office of Chief Counsel will continue to help analyze and resolve the legal issues.

What’s Your Fraud IQ? [JofA]
Or maybe a “Criminal Quotient.”

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