ANR: H&R Blockheads; IRS Employees Don’t Know That They Don’t Have to Be in Danger; Together Taco Bell and E&Y Can Save the Economy | 03.13.13

Tax glitch delays refunds, angers Block customers [KCS]
From Feb. 14 to 22, the Kansas City-based firm made errors in possibly hundreds of thousands of federal tax returns by not properly following a change made this year in how to fill out Form 8863. That form is used to reduce taxes by giving taxpayers a credit for certain educational costs. Now H&R Block customers throughout the country whose returns included that mistake are hearing that their refunds will be delayed by several weeks. Many of those affected are students or parents who need the money for books or their tax receipt to apply for financial aid. Compounding the problem and angering many Block clients, many received the bad news from the Internal Revenue Service, which sent out letters telling them their returns needed to be corrected. The mistake is affecting about 10 percent of the 6.6 million tax returns containing Form 8863, IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge said Tuesday. She didn’t estimate how many of the misfiled returns came from Block, but the company was bearing the brunt of complaints.

Intuit Says Court Denies H&R Block's Second Attempt To Pull TurboTax Ads [RTT]
Tax preparation software maker Intuit Inc. ( INTU ) said Monday that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri has denied, for the second time, tax preparer H&R Block, Inc.'s ( HRB ) attempt to stop Intuit from continuing to air two television advertisements for TurboTax. In denying H&R Block's motion for a preliminary injunction, the court noted that although H&R Block makes "much of their training programs for tax preparers in their first year and beyond, training is not the same thing as experience." The judge further stated that "it is not false or misleading…to draw consumers' attention to the true statement that certain consumers who go to major tax stores could have their taxes prepared by someone who has no prior work experience preparing taxes."

U.S. Tax Cheats Picked Off After Adviser Mails It In [Bloomberg]
Everybody knows the danger of sending things inadvertently in an e-mail. Beda Singenberger’s case shows you also have to be pretty careful when you mail things the old-fashioned way. Over an 11-year period, federal prosecutors charge, Swiss financial adviser Singenberger helped 60 people in the U.S. hide $184 million in secret offshore accounts bearing colorful names like Real Cool Investments Ltd. and Wanderlust Foundation. Then, according to a prosecutor, Singenberger inadvertently mailed a list of his U.S. clients, including their names and incriminating details, which somehow wound up in the hands of federal authorities.

IRS Employees Unaware of Efforts to Protect Them from Dangerous Taxpayers [AT]
That could be helpful. You know, with the anthrax scares and planes being flown into buildings and all.
 
Can This Taco Save America? [TDB]
For much of the past year, analysts have claimed that a host of political factors are inhibiting hiring—regulation, the fiscal cliff, the sequester, the debt ceiling, the reelection of a socialist. […] But there’s another force at work—more powerful, more ubiquitous, and arguably more delicious: Doritos Locos Tacos. The neon-orange, meat-filled miracle taco, wrapped in a Nacho Cheese Dorito shell, was Taco Bell’s biggest hit of 2012, with 375 million sold, or roughly one million a day. It was largely responsible for the chain’s incredible growth, outpacing not just KFC and Pizza Hut, but even McDonald’s. “It has been the biggest launch in Taco Bell history,” said Greg Creed, chief executive officer of Taco Bell, which saw same-store sales rise 8 percent in 2012. “Last year, we added 15,000 people to handle the growth.”
 
JOBS Act Opens Path to Deregistration [CFO]

Small-cap public companies are finding that over-the-counter stock markets are no longer a backwater, and neither is deregistering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Indeed, some are voluntarily moving to OTC trading platforms from exchanges, making OTC stock markets no longer just the domain of issuers under financial strain, near bankruptcy, or plagued with scandal. At the forefront of the movement are community banks, which are taking advantage of a provision in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act that lets companies have as many as 2,000 stockholders of record, up from 500, without filing with the SEC.
 
White Says Her S.E.C. Would Be Tough on Wall St. [DealBook]
I'm convinced!
 
Are Ukrainian 'killer' dolphins really on the loose? [FP]

According to the state-owned outlet, the Ukrainian navy took control of a Soviet program to train dolphins for combat purposes after the breakup of the USSR, and has more recently been training the mammals to "attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads." But before you start having nightmares about dolphins shooting out of the ocean with weapons jutting out of their snouts, consider this: Today's report is based on unconfirmed speculation from one expert — and there's no indication that the dolphins were armed even if they did escape earlier this month: Three of the Ukrainian navy's "killer" dolphins that swam away from their handlers during training exercises probably left to look for mates, an expert said on Tuesday. Ukrainian media reported earlier this month that only two of five military-trained dolphins returned to their base in the Crimean port of Sevastopol after a recent exercise. Ukraine's Defense Ministry denied the reports, while refusing to confirm the navy makes use of dolphins, despite the frequent appearance in Ukrainian media of photographs of dolphins with military equipment strapped to them. "Control over dolphins was quite common in the 1980's," said Yury Plyachenko, a former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer. "If a male dolphin saw a female dolphin during the mating season, then he would immediately set off after her. But they came back in a week or so."

 

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