What's this, now? Two CPA exam questions in one week? Must be our lucky day! If you have a question, or just need to vent, or want to compliment me on my hair, get in touch and we'll do our best not to screw your life up. Hey Adrienne, Is it true the NY is […]
Ed. note: Today, we're introducing you to the new guy. Tony, meet Going Concern; Going Concern, meet Tony. Alright, now that we got that out of the way… Tony Nitti is a tax partner at WithumSmith+Brown in Aspen, CO. When he isn’t writing or teaching about tax policy, you can find him skiing, mountain biking, […]
Because you guys can never seem to get enough of pulling it out and comparing your schools' CPA exam performance, let's just move right along through the 2011 NASBA Candidate Performance book and take a look at how New York schools performed on the CPA exam last year. As always, these numbers include both first […]
There’s a state fiscal crisis after all. Plus, old people have all the money.
[H]igh-tax states do not like to lose high-income emigrants, and will check to make sure that former residents really have moved and are not simply pretending that their winter home is their permanent domicile.
“New York is the most aggressive, probably followed by California,” said Bob Meighan of TurboTax. “New York has a long reach and will go after retirees, in particular.”
And one more thing – keep those receipts!
David Moise [of] WeiserMazar[s], said that there are two forces at work there. “More people are leaving because of the disparity in income and estate taxes, and New York is becoming much more aggressive about examining those people because there’s much more of a need for revenue,” he said.
“The state will come in and ask for ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that a person who keeps his New York ties has really moved to Florida, or elsewhere,” he said. At WeiserMazar[s], clients have had to produce phone bills, credit card statements, apartment measurements and EZ pass receipts to prove that they no longer spend most of their time in New York.
The battle between California and New York for the biggest fiscal shitshow has reached new heights as Albany seems to be going after New Yorkers where it really counts.
For many of you living in New York, grabbing a bagel at your local shop is part of the weekday morning routine. You walk in, wait in line, place the order, pay the total and get on with your day. It’s good to know that the one constant in your life is that the Ess-a-Bagel will charge you the same price for your sesame seed bagel with butter day after day after day.
Well! That constant, your rock, your consistently-priced doughy security blanket may soon be stripped away from you. The Journal reported yesterday that bagel chain Bruegger’s got the wrath of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, demanding that owner Kenneth Greene start collecting “taxes on all bagels, except for those that remain intact and are consumed off premises,” and collected a ‘significant’ sum of taxes owed.
Why, you ask? Because an obscure law on the books says that a sales tax is to be charged on “sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings).” OH! And if you eat your everything with cream cheese and tomato in the shop, you’ll also be charged the tax.
The Post has stretched the lengths of investigative journalism once again to find out that most of the vendors around the City haven’t been charging you the extra 9¢ for that carbolicious breakfast.
[T]he vast majority of the bagel vendors The Post visited yesterday didn’t tax sliced bagels with no toppings as they are supposed to.
“I don’t think it’s fair. Why would I put tax on a sliced bagel when you don’t want nothing on it?” said Basil Colon, a cashier at Daniel’s Bagels on Third Avenue in Murray Hill.
He served a cinnamon-raisin bagel, sliced with no spread, to a Post reporter for $1.10, which didn’t include the extra tax of about 9 cents.
Like many bagel-store workers throughout the city, he didn’t know about the slice tax.
We think we speak for everyone, when we say, “What. The. Fuck. Albany?” This is what it has come to? The dire fiscal needs of the Empire State have gotten to the point that you’re shaking down bagel shops for an extra 9¢ per bagel? Granted, that may be a lot – A LOT – of bagels but you’re applying the smallest bandage in the box to a gaping head wound. A head wound that has caused many to think that the next step is to put a tourniquet on the neck of the state government.
You really want to kill the will of the people? Just keep shit like this up. Next thing you know they’ll start slapping the tax on pizza unless you buy the whole pie…unsliced.
FSA accuse auditors of failing to question management bias [Accountancy Age]
The Financial Services Authority has decided that it was about time it called out a few people, “Auditors have become yes men who don’t adequately question management bias according to concerns raised by the UK’s chief financial regulators. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Reporting Council today released a scathing discussion paper into the profession following concerns raised in the wake of the financial crisis. Among its concerns is that auditors ‘portrays a worrying lack of skepticism’ when scrutinising potential management bias.”
Not onl ef=”http://www.accountancyage.com/accountancyage/news/2265630/fsa-audit-report-regulator”>FSA wants new enforcement powers including the ability to ” fine, censure or disqualify audit firms.” The FSA also wants to meet with auditors several times a year, rather than just once, as well as direct access to audit committees.
Alex to Become Hurricane as Swells Reach Gulf Spill [Bloomberg]
“Tropical Storm Alex, the first named system of the Atlantic hurricane season, strengthened today, forcing the evacuation of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and pushing swells toward the worst U.S. oil spill.
The storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour, was 460 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas, before dawn today, moving north-northwest at 8 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. The circulating winds were near reaching hurricane status of 74 mph.”
New York state may tax out-of-state hedge fund execs [Reuters]
Desperate idea of the day from the brain trust in Albany, “Recession-hit New York could raise an extra $50 million a year by collecting income taxes from people who work for hedge funds in the state but live elsewhere, according to a legislative plan to raise revenue…A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said by telephone on Monday that it means hedge fund managers would be treated the same way as other commuters.”
Aprill: The Impact of Bilski on Tax Strategy Patents [TaxProf Blog]
In non-PCAOB SCOTUS news, the decision in Bilski v. Kappos addressing “Whether a ‘process’ must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (‘machine-or-transformation’ test), to be eligible for patenting….” was examined by Ellen P. Aprill of Loyola-L.A. regarding the impact on tax strategy patents:
“Bilski is at best a mixed bag for those who think tax strategies should be patentable. It gives little help and does allow business method patents, albeit somewhat begrudgingly. It demonstrates that for those who believe that tax strategies should not be patented, legislation is needed.”
Method Man pleads guilty to NYC tax-evasion charge [AP]
“Hip-hop star Method Man pleaded guilty to a tax-evasion charge Monday, writing a check on the spot for the final $40,000 restitution payment after owing about $106,000.” What, no cash?
U.S. Court to Hear Janus Appeal In Securities Case [Reuters]
“The lawsuit, brought on behalf of those who bought Janus stock from mid-2000 through early September 2003, alleged that the prospectuses of several of Janus funds created the misleading impression that the company would adopt measures to curb market timing, when in fact secret arrangements with several hedge funds permitted such transactions, to the detriment of long-term investors.”
Accounting Body Picks New Chief [WSJ]
“Former Italian Finance Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa has been named to head the group that oversees international accounting rulemakers. Mr. Padoa-Schioppa will assume the chairmanship of the trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation in July. The foundation’s monitoring board appointed him chairman for a three-year term. The IASC Foundation oversees the London-based International Accounting Standards Board, selects its members and raises funds for its operations. It also helps promulgate the move toward a single set of accounting rules used world-wide.”
New York Reaches Deal to Raise Cigarette Tax [NYT]
Smokers might want to start hoarding cartons as Governor David Paterson and legislators have reached a tentative agreement to raise the cigarette tax in New York. Taxes on cigarettes in NYS, currently $2.75 a pack, would rise an additional $1.65. Taxes in New York City would rise to $5.85 a pack, marking the first city in America with a tax of greater than $5 on cigarettes.
The proposal would raise $440 million this year, according to the Times. The state’s budget deficit is approximately $9 billion.
Open Letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission: Is Medifast Complying with Revenue Accounting Rules? [White Collar Fraud]
Sam Antar is a little skeptical about a plethora of Medifast’s financial reporting and disclosures including: revenue recognition policy, “the company is possibly recognizing revenue up to 8 business days too early”; their low allowance for doubtful accounts, “the $100,000 reported for such an allowance does not seem reasonable enough given Medifast’s volume of revenues and the dates it either ships or delivers its orders to customers after processing them.”; and lack of deferred revenue liabilities, “Medifast’s financial reports going back to 2004 disclose no deferred revenue liabilities for customer orders processed before each fiscal year ended and either shipped or delivered after those respective fiscal years.”
This trifecta has Sam concerned enough that he’s asking the SEC to poke around a little more than they did the last SEC review in 2007, when the SEC found…nothing.
BP Chief Draws Outrage for Attending Yacht Race [NYT]
Probably seemed like a nice idea at the time, “BP officials on Saturday scrambled yet again to respond to another public relations challenge when their embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, spent the day off the coast of England watching his yacht compete in one of the world’s largest races.”
BP, Transocean tap a well of Washington lobbyists and consultants [WaPo]
The obvious solution to CEOs attending yacht races, Joe Biden-esque articulation and such is paying someone a lot – a lot – of money to rep these companies. It’s pretty much the only option they have left.
• IRS audits fewer corporate taxpayers: critic [Reuters]
According to a Syracuse University research group, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (“TRAC”), the IRS is doing fewer audits of large corporations, using the Service’s own data to report its conclusions. TRAC looked at “number of hours spent on cases that had been closed in any given year,” saying the the IRS has cut the audit hours of companies with $250 million+ in assets by a third.
Accounting News Roundup: Joint Taxation Committee Explains IRS Penalties Under Health Care Bill; Madoff Owes New York $1 Mil in Taxes; ACORN Shutting Down | 03.23.10
• What Happens If You Don’t Buy Health Insurance under Health Care Reform Bill? [Tax Policy Blog]
Believe it or not, there is misinformation out there about the health care reform bill. No, it’s true!
One big fear is the IRS getting all up in your shit for not buying health insurance. According to some, heavily armed IRS agents will kick down your door if you haven’t made the necessary arrangements for coverage, take your children away and kick your dog as they exit your house with your money and your freedom. Fortunately, Tax Policy blog has presented the Joint Taxation Committee’s explanation of what would really happen if you decided to skip on the coverage.
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
• NY is newest Madoff victim [NYP]
Apparently Berns didn’t sort out all of his affairs before taking his permanent vacation to the Carolinas. He owes nearly $1 million taxes to New York State according to the Department of Tax and Finance’s list of largest delinquents.
• Acorn to Shut All Its Offices by April 1 [NYT]
After getting dropped from the VITA list by the IRS and getting snubbed by the Census Bureau, Glenn Beck’s favorite NPO is closing up shop on April Fool’s Day. Beck will certainly be on hand to see the headquarters burned to the ground to assure that the American people aren’t being duped again.
Maybe! The State of New York remains in a fiscal crisis and is so desperate for money that apparently all ideas are being considered. According to the Daily News, the latest bright idea from Albany is to publish the top 200 businesses and the top 200 individual delinquents on the Internet apparently to shame those delinquents into paying their share.
Everybody seems to think it’s a good idea but can’t agree on who should be handling it. The State Tax Department would prefer that they put the list up themselves but legislators in Albany smell populism:
Tax officials say they oppose the law, preferring to enact the measure administratively.
Given the fiscal crunch, the state tax department has already increased its efforts to go after tax scofflaws.
The department can’t commit to creating a list until it explores the “resources we need,” particularly in a time of fiscal crisis, Burns said.
[Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn)] said he wants it done soon. “When the state desperately needs dollars to provide services to schools, hospitals and nursing homes, we don’t have time to wait,” he said. “We need to get this program implemented.”
Well played, Assemblyman. But obviously the important question is: will Rangs have to give up his rent controlled apartments? It’s important.
Expose tax cheats’ Web of deceit – pols [NYDN via TaxProf Blog]
As if the State of New York doesn’t have enough trouble with half of the citizens think their legislature is the worst in the country, annoying artwork, and a budget crisis. Come to find out, part of this whole budget nightmare might be due to an unusual amount of bogus tax returns.
This is a quote from a profile of the NYS Deputy Commissioner of Tax Enforcement (our bolding):
The rest, after the jump
This year, we’ve done a little project on tax preparers. We go out pretending to be tax preparers … we’ve done it at 170 different tax preparers. Fifty-one of them have prepared bad returns that are just horribly fraudulent. I have some transcripts … here’s one: a tax prepared describes how he’s gonna do a ‘ho-hum, no muss, no fuss, simple [expletive] return that’s gonna get through the system’ and he’ll never get audited and never get caught. He underreports income then for two years of about $80,000. That he knows. Do you think he knew what he was doing? He was selling our investigator as a taxpayer, ‘I know how to cheat without getting caught.’ … We’ve arrested about 20 this year so far. And there’s lots more in the wings.”