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Accounting News Roundup: The IRS Hates On Gay Marriage; Damon Dash in Tax Trouble; Small Businesses Complain About Accounting Fees | 08.09.11

China, U.S. vow to step up audit oversight cooperation [Xinhua]
Officials from China and United States have pledged to increase cooperation on cross-border audit oversight, China’s securities regulator said Monday, in the wake of a string of accounting scandals of U.S.-listed Chinese companies. The two parties aimed to improve the quality of auditing and accounting information of public companies, protect the rights of investors and assist in safeguarding of financial markets in both countries, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a statement on its website.

Damon Dash Talks $3 Million Tax Debt [MTV]
The once-flamboyant Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash is now in debt. In July, The Detroit News reported that the music mogul and Jay-Z’s former business partner owes almost $3 million in back taxes, according to a tax lien filed June 30. On Friday, Dash visited the “Sway in the Morning” radio show on Shade 45 and spoke to host and MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway about his recent troubles with the IRS. After being asked about owing “$2 million,” Dash quickly set the record straight: “I owe way more than $2 million in taxes. That must’ve just been the IRS,” Dash said, laughing, before admitting that he was in a bad space financially. “Nah, nah, I’m f—ed up.”

Rich say wealth managers not worth as much as accountants [Citywire]
Wealth managers and advisers might be dismayed to hear that 60% of high net worth clients would expect to pay an adviser less than their accountant, and do not believe investment management is good value for money. The findings form part of management consulting firm MDRC’s 2011 UK High Net Worth Report, which is based on contributions from more than 4,000 high net worth individuals and 600 ultra high net worths. The report also found that nearly 90% of respondents would expect to pay their financial adviser less than their lawyer.

IRS shows newly married gay couples no love [MSNBC]
For all those same-sex newlyweds in New York, Lawrence S. Jacobs has a message: Enjoy the Champagne and the honeymoon, but expect no gifts from the IRS. Jacobs, a lawyer in Washington, specializes in estate planning for same-sex couples — and in delivering the bad news that their unions aren’t legal in the eyes of the IRS, a policy that will cost them time and money during tax season. Same-sex couples in Washington, which last year legalized gay marriage, must fill out a federal return to make calculations required for their D.C. joint return. But then they must set that work aside and fill out separate federal returns because the IRS doesn’t regard their union as legal, Jacobs says. “You just spent decades getting your marriage recognized, and now the feds say, ‘No, you’re not,’” says Jacobs, who as a partner in a same-sex marriage has firsthand experience of the problem.

Small firms not happy with rising accountancy fees [Fresh Business Thinking]
According to new research 15% of small businesses say that rising fees is their biggest accounting gripe. The survey of 269 businesses by, which questioned attitudes to and experiences of accountants, was carried out in July. Other top gripes were jargon, or ‘accountant-speak’, and charging for communication such as phone calls and emails — 18% combined agreed these were pet hates.

The IRS’ Amnesty Program for Foreign Account Holders: What You Need to Know [Reuters]
In case you have missed the recent press coverage on unreported foreign bank and other financial accounts, the IRS announced a second amnesty initiative earlier this year. The good news, if you have not already disclosed your foreign financial accounts, is that under the amnesty you can avoid criminal prosecution and get back into the system at a relatively low cost.

Almost 1,500 Millionaires Do Not Pay Income Tax [ABC]
At a time when America is borrowing about 40 cents of every dollar it spends because tax revenues cannot keep up with government spending, hundreds of America’s wealthiest households are paying no income tax at all. According to a recently released IRS report, almost 1,500 of America’s 230,000 millionaires avoided paying any federal income tax in 2009.

Cantor urges GOP to resist tax hike pressure after S&P downgrade [The Hill]
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told Republican lawmakers to expect — and resist — increased pressure to raise taxes following the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard and Poor’s. “Over the next several months, there will be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S&P’s analysis of the inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong,” Cantor wrote Monday in a memo to House Republicans. “In short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases. We will be told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree.”

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