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ANR: LGBTaxes; IRS Investigating Political Groups; FASB Wants To Talk Liquidity | 06.28.12

Westerville offers incentives to merged accounting firms [The Columbus Dispatch]
The city council has approved a tax-incentive agreement for two merged accounting firms that want to expand and move from Columbus to space in Westar, 500 Polaris Parkway. The merged companies — Clark, Schaefer, Hackett and Co. and Fentress and Barnes — could bring 70 existing jobs to Westerville, according to Economic Development Administrator Jason Bechtold. Those 70 jobs would bring a payroll of $5.86 million. Plans for 21 additional jobs would add a payroll of $1.6 million, he said.

US firms' liquidity risks may get more exposure [Reuters]
Companies would have to tell investors more about the risk of running short of liquid funds under a proposal from the board that sets accounting standards for U.S. companies. The proposal, issued on Wednesday by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, would also require more disclosures about risks that companies face when interest rates change. The risk of not having enough liquid funds was underscored during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, when banks stopped lending to each other, forcing governments to step in with massive injections of cash. Under FASB's proposed rules, financial institutions would have to list various classes of financial assets and liabilities in a table, separated by maturity date and including off-balance-sheet items.

Marcum sees niche in providing tax services to partners in civil unions [NJBIZ]
When Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation in February to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey, accounting firm Marcum LLP saw a business opportunity, as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — or LGBT — and nontraditional family communities began to fully recognize issues in filing their estate and income taxes. "There have always been enormous income tax issues and estate planning issues in the LGBT community," said Janis Cowhey McDonagh, a principal at the firm's New York office who specializes in LGBT estate and income tax issues. "The governor vetoing the law just brought those issues up to the forefront and got couples to focus on what they were missing."

IRS Probes Political Group Tied to Rove [WSJ]
The Internal Revenue Service is taking initial steps to examine whether Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican group affiliated with Karl Rove, and similar political entities are violating their tax-exempt status by spending too much on partisan activities. The review, which could last for years and is unlikely to be concluded before the November election, could ultimately force many of the political groups to disclose the names of their donors for the first time. At issue is whether political entities set up as 501(c)4 organizations are violating their tax-exempt status by spending too much on partisan politics rather than promoting a benefit to the community, the purpose of the tax exemption.

Will IRS Whistleblower Program Start Picking Up Steam ? [Forbes]
It would be ironic if the genius of “free enterprise” were to be used to greatly enhance the IRS mission of taking resources out of private hands to use them for public purposes, but we may be headed in that direction. A recent memo from Steven Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, is pointing in that direction. The memo is about the Whistleblower program. Although rewards for information have a long history, the program was revamped by the opening of a Whistleblower Office in 2007 in response to legislation. The program has not, however, really taken off. Speculation is that there is bureaucratic intransigence at work, to coin an oxymoron. Mr. Miller’s memo to top IRS managers may have been prompted by a letter to the IRS from Senator Grassley questioning why people involved in the program are off at conferences when there are plenty of reports from whistleblowers that don’t seem to be moving.

IRS Tax Evasion Disclosure Program Collects Only Small Percentage Of Money Lost [HuffPo]
While the IRS has ramped up its efforts to encourage tax cheats to come clean, the agency's voluntary disclosure programs have only reclaimed a small fraction of the money the government loses to tax evasion every year. On Tuesday, the IRS announced it has collected more than $5 billion in taxes, interest and penalties from 33,000 voluntary disclosures of foreign accounts since 2009. But that figure is relatively small when compared to the $385 billion that the agency says it loses to tax evasion every year.

Watchdog: Congress delays threaten tax filing season [Reuters]
Tax refunds in 2013 could be delayed if the U.S. Congress fails to address major fiscal policy questions soon, said the IRS' in-house champion for taxpayers' rights on Wednesday. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson said in a report that "the 2013 filing season is already at risk" due to inaction by Congress on tax laws that have expired or will soon expire. "An aura of uncertainty prevails as the IRS and taxpayers wait for word about what will be the law," she said in the mid-year report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service that she heads.