POTUS

Summing Up Tax Policy in This Presidential Election

Tax Analysts' Chris Bergin doesn't like what he heard from Mitt Romney yesterday: In a taped interview, host [Meet the Press host] David Gregory repeatedly asked Romney for details of his tax plan. He ended up practically begging for just one detail – any morsel, please. He got zip, zilch, nothing. […] I can think […]

POTUS and VPOTUS Have Released Their 2011 Tax Returns, Are Not As Rich As You Think

This just in from the White House blog: Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds […]

Who Else Is Repeating Their Tax Rhetoric Today?

“You might have heard of this,” Obama said in his remarks, before a crowd of faculty and students at Florida Atlantic University. “But Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.” [The Hill, Earlier]

Oh, Mitt Romney, How You Tease Us with Your Approximate Effective Tax Rate

As we know, inevitable GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney hasn't been too forthcoming with his 1040, basically saying to hell with tradition and his own son Tripp Kip Skip Flip MATT! suggested (jokingly but sorta seriously) that just as soon as Imam Obama released his birth certificate, maybe dear ol' dad would dig out the […]

Romney Trumps Obama in Accounting Firm Donations to Presidential Candidates

You may have heard that there’s a bit of a campaign going on for the world’s worst job. For whatever reason, the process of electing the leader of our country’s government drags on like Titantic. Right around, erm, now you’re probably ready to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon every time you see an ad for a candidate or debate. Unfortunately we’re powerless to stop it, thanks tycle.

ANYWAY, one of the more useful things we learn during this process is where the money comes from and who it goes to. Now, you may be screaming, “Koch Brothers!” or “George Soros!” and while they can afford to throw around some cash, these stories are old hat and are best left to political bomb throwers with jostling jowls.

For our purposes of informing you, dear GC readers, we’ll give you the lowdown on what kind of cash people from the largest accounting firms are throwing around and who they’re throwing it to. Accounting Today has a full report out today based on data available from the Federal Election Commission and here are the highlights:


Ernst & Young – E&Y donated the most cash, with personnel contributing more than $89,000. 18% went to President Obama, Mitt Romney received 39% and Rick Perry 37%. Personally, I feel like this money would be better spent throwing it at people in Albany.

Deloitte – Total of $57,490 in donations. Mittens received 41%; Obama 37%.

PwC – $36,520 total donations. Romney received 51%; Obama 48%.

KPMG – The one Obama stronghold. The President received 47% of the total $15,000 in donations. Romney received 32%; Perry 17%.

Grant Thornton – Obama doesn’t win. GT peeps gave $23,050 and 97% went to Mitt Romney.

What about the other candidates? Well, Newt Gingrich received a grand total of zero dollars from anyone at these accounting firms. Ron Paul received less money than Jon Huntsman. Yes, I know you’ve never heard of him. It’s this guy. Google Rick Santorum just for fun. And check out Michelle Bachmann’s manicures. That’s about all you need to know.

So who gets your imaginary contributions? I imagine most of you out there in Internetland have no plans to fork over any of your meager bonuses to a Presidential candidate but IF YOU DID, who would it be? And feel free to discuss your firm’s generosity or political leanings as you see fit.

Accountants and Firms Fund Presidential Candidates [AT]

Caption Contest Thursday: Deloitte’s Shade of Blue Looks Very Familiar


Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria and former President Bill Clinton at the Middle Market Perspectives Event in New York.

Is President Obama Insane When It Comes to Tax Policy?

Yesterday we learned how President Obama would pay for his jobs bill. If you make more $200k ($250k for marrieds), have carried interest income, have a corporate jet or are an oil & gas company, you probably won’t be too happy with the ideas put forth.

If any of these proposals sounds familiar, that’s because they’ve been put through the ringer already and they weren’t received warmly. It’s unlikely that this time around will be any different.

Considering all that, Christopher Bergin at Tax.com is perplexed:

What I can’t figure out is why the Obama administration keeps trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Joe Kristan only goes so far to call these recycled ideas “lame” but if you hold Rita Mae Brown in high regard, then the President definitely has a screw loose.

President Obama’s Tax Plan: ‘No Games, No Politics, No Delays’ — No Chance [Christopher Bergin]

Americans for Tax Reform Would Like to Make President Obama’s Jobs Speech a Little More Fun

To mark tomorrow night’s “Jobs Speech” by President Obama, the Ronald Reagan-possessed imps over at Americans for Tax Reform are providing some entertainment to get you through what will be, in all likelihood, a message that will be big on rhetoric with virtually no chance of anyone (Joe Biden included) breaking into song. And because most of the people that will be watching the speech will be either journalist/blabby pundit-types and people who are physically unable to remove themselves from the couch, they went with the simplest (yet oddly enjoyable) game possible. BINGO.


BINGO_Sept 2011 Obama Jobs Speech Bingo Card 1

As you can see, ATR has studiously selected the words and phrases they think will be spoken most often by the President and have created five different cards so that you can play with your fellow lovers of liberty. They even took the trouble to define many of these terms in case you can’t keep everything straight. Based on ATR’s interpretation, you are more or less going to be listening to the President utter “tax hikes” on a loop. Of course if BINGO isn’t your thing, you simply could just turn this into a drinking game, although it’s conceivable this could result in several cases of alcohol poisoning.

The added (surely unintentional) bonus is that you can use this card as a template for tonight’s Republican Presidential candidate debate where many of these terms will applicable. You’ll have to throw in “God,” “Tax cuts,” “Small Businesses,” “Ronald Reagan,” and perhaps a few others I’m forgetting but this more or less will cover the bases.

Time to play Big Speech BINGO! [ATR]

President Obama Puts 1099 Reporting Requirement Down for the Dirt Nap

Today, I was pleased to take another step to relieve unnecessary burdens on small businesses by signing H.R. 4 into law. Small business owners are the engine of our economy and because Democrats and Republicans worked together, we can ensure they spend their time and resources creating jobs and growing their business, not filling out more paperwork. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to improve the tax credit policy in this legislation and I am eager to work with anyone with ideas about how we can make health care better or more affordable. [WH]

Let’s Watch President Obama Use a Ridiculous Number of Pens to Sign the Tax Cut Bill

Running late as usual. At least they aren’t using whiteboard markers. Since it’s Friday and we’ve got nothing better to do, we’ll be live-blogging below.


4:02: Starting in two minutes? You’re already 12 late Mr President. We realize you’re the President but some of us have holiday cheer to spread, get with it.

4:05: Filing in. Finally. Biden in the Hizzous. Cracks about a “big deal,” without the F-bomb, this time. Shout out to half-man, half-tortoise, Mitch McConnell. Bipartisanship lives!

4:08: The big guy is up. Applause. Biden is semi-beaming. BHO gives a shout out to the Veep. Biden grins like only Biden can. Love for McConnell and Dave Camp. Shot of Larry Summers is less than flattering. Did his mother teach him anything about sitting up straight? Yeesh. Bipartisanship, bipartisanship, bipartisanship. We get it. You managed to play nice, what do you want, reelection?

4:13: Al Sharpton? Golf clapping? Can someone explain why the Rev is at this thing?

More name-dropping. Nancy, T Geith, Boehner. Sigh.

4:17: John Hancock time. Hugs, handshakes, back slapping. OUT!

Obama’s Appeasement on Tax Cuts

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

For those of you unfamiliar with the history of World War II, Neville Chamberlain was the prime minister of Great Britain just prior to the advent of World War II. He is most remembered for his “Munich Agreement“, in which he deeded over Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany with Germany’s promise that it would not pursue further aggression. Of course, this was making a deal with the devil; Adolf Hitler was Satan incarnate, for certain. Consequently, his name has become the emodiment of total naivete, if not utter stupidity and idiocy. You cannot make a deal with the devil. Shown here in the picture to the right is Neville Chamberlin upon his return from Munich in 1938 after meeting with Adolf Hitler with the scrap of paper that was to “ensure peace in our time”; the paper was signed by Hitler.


The question now is whether Barack Obama is another Neville Chamberlain. Obama is supporting the tax cuts for the rich, claiming that unless we agree to these demands by the Republicans, our economy may dip back into recession, as Chamberlain asserted that unless England and Europe gave Nazi Germany Czechoslovakia, that a war with Germany might occur. Whether you are for the tax cuts or against the tax cuts, the majority of Americans were surprised, if not flabbergasted, by Obama’s immediate acquiescence to Republican demands for inclusion of the rich in the tax cuts, including a very generous exemption from estate taxes: under the plan, as much as $10 million may be exempt from any estate tax, with the estate tax rate on any excess being reduced from 55% to 35%!

Certainly, Barack Obama is no Winston Churchill. Maybe he does his fighting only on a basketball court; however, he certainly did not fight the good fight before conceding to the Republican demands, merely accepting in return a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans, a reduction in payroll taxes, and an extension of a grab bag of tax credits for college tuition and other items. Like Chamberlain, who only received Hilter’s signature on a scrap of paper promising never to go to war again with England, Obama got very little in return for the big gift to the rich and privileged.

A recent CBS poll found 70% of Americans were not in favor of these tax cuts for the rich—resulting in huge deficits of $700 billion dollars—when our national debt is already $14 trillion. Many feel that no tax cuts would have been preferable to this agreement, since no deal would spare us from an additional $980 billion of debt.

Obama is justifying these tax cuts through a fear tactic: unless we give the rich these tax cuts, our country may lapse back into another recession.

Dear President Obama: for your information, we are still in this recession. And in 2012, we will still be in this recession in terms of unemployment. Jobs have been going overseas for years now and with the further consolidations of mega-size corporations, more layoffs are looming. Of course, the unemployment numbers will become meaningless since after a certain period of time, the long-term unemployed are no longer included in the current rate of unemployment.

After hearing Harvard’s Larry Sumners endorsement of these tax cuts for the rich and his prediction of another recession if they are not enacted, I suspect that President Obama may still be listening to the counsel of his former Economic Advisor. Consequently, I am not surprised by Obama’s use of fear tactics today to drum support for these tax cuts for the rich.

If this is the kind of way Obama negotiates with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich, imagine how he would negotiate with the Iranians and North Korea? LOL! And then imagine how Hillary Clinton would have negotiated if she had been elected President of the United States. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it’s deja vu [Neville Chamberlain] all over again.

At Least Someone Is Optimistic About the Tax Cut Stalemate

“I think we got off to a good start yesterday. There are going to be ups and downs in this process but I’m confident that we’re going to be able to get it done.”

~ President Obama is making us nauseous.

Some People Aren’t Convinced Nancy Pelosi Wants to Compromise on Tax Cuts

President Obama is darn sure that a deal will get made on the expiring tax cuts before the end of the year despite the ‘logjam’ between the two political parties.

He’s confident because hard-working families need it, the economy is fragile yada yada yada and now that Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew are on the case, this thing is a shoe-in.

While the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is not quite on the same page as the President, he’s pretty much in the same chapter:

“Republicans made the point that stopping all the looming tax hikes and cutting spending would, in fact, create jobs and get the economy moving again,” said Representative John Boehner, who will become Speaker of the House next year.

“We’re looking forward to the conversation with the White House over extending all of the current rates, and I remain optimistic,” he said.

Well, as close as to the two will likely get in public anyway. However, this a slightly more optimistic stance than what some people have for Nancy Pelosi, who would, presumably, rather give up her Armani suits than hand the wealthy a tax cut:

“There is some thought that the last thing that Nancy Pelosi wants to do on her way out of the Speaker’s office is to have Congress approve an extension for tax cuts for the wealthy,” said Brian Gardner, an analyst for investors at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.

“She could muck things up a little bit.”

Well! This should be fun! Stay tuned.

Obama and Republicans agree to negotiate on taxes [Reuters]

Memo to Washington: Please Consider Tax Reform

“Instead of reprising their partisan, tiresome, and largely unproductive argument about what to do with the Bush tax cuts, President Obama and Congress ought to be asking a very different question: How do we build a tax system capable of generating the revenues we need to fund the government we want in the most efficient and fair way possible?”

~ Howard Gleckman

(UPDATE) The PCAOB’s Statement on the Signing of The Dodd-Frank Act Isn’t Exactly Enthusiastic

~ Includes statement from PCAOB spokesperson

Hey! Did you hear? Dodd-Frank got signed into law yesterday and plenty of people are excited (namely Dodd, Frank, BO) and there are plenty who are not.

The PCAOB, it seems, lands somewhere in the middle. Sure the dopes exempted public companies with market caps under $75 million from complying with 404 but putting things in perspective, the Board is probably just amped that the SCOTUS didn’t kick them off the playground.


To show their gratitude, the PCAOB doesn’t bother mentioning the exemption in their press release from yesterday, instead focusing on…foreign auditor oversight (pretty much a black hole) and authority over auditors of broker-dealers. We understand that playing nice is part of the game but COME ON.

We emailed the nice folks over at the Board to ask them about the 404 exemption but we’re still waiting to hear back from them. Perhaps they’re putting on their smiley faces to address this one since they’ve probably been gritting their teeth for the last 20 or so hours.

A PCAOB spokesperson provided us with the following statement:

The PCAOB believes that the internal control audit report required under SOX Section 404(b) has improved the reliability of financial reporting and audit quality. The Board has taken steps to make sure that the internal control auditing standard is scalable to companies of all sizes and has issued guidance and held educational forums to assist smaller company auditors in understanding how to apply that standard to smaller companies. The internal control audit requirement relates to the content of SEC filings, and SEC Chairman Schapiro opposed the exemption for non-accelerated filers.

So, in other words, the compliance technically falls under the SEC and the PCAOB issues the audit standards but it still has to hit a little close to home.

BPR:

PCAOB STATEMENT UPON SIGNING OF THE DODD-FRANK WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
Washington, D.C. , July 21, 2010

Today’s enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act facilitates the PCAOB’s ability to share information with foreign auditor oversight authorities and closes gaps in the Board’s authority to oversee audits of brokers and dealers.

While the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 protects the PCAOB’s inspection and investigative processes from public disclosure, it permits the Board, in certain circumstances, to share information with federal and state authorities. However, at the time the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted, very few other countries had audit oversight bodies and, therefore, there was no provision in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act authorizing the PCAOB to share information with foreign authorities. Since that time, many countries have established or are in the process of establishing audit oversight bodies. The Dodd-Frank Act allows the Board, under certain circumstances, to share information with such foreign auditor oversight authorities.

The Dodd-Frank Act also expands the PCAOB’s authority to oversee auditors of brokers and dealers. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, auditors of brokers and dealers were required to register with the Board. The Dodd-Frank Act provides the PCAOB with standard-setting, inspection and disciplinary authority regarding broker-dealer audits.

More information about the PCAOB’s plans to implement this authority and guidance for auditors of brokers and dealers will be forthcoming.

Write It Down: No More Financial Crises Ever

“[It will] help prevent another financial crisis like the one that we’re still recovering from.”

~ President Barack Obama on the financial reform bill.

Tax Return of the Day | 04.15.10

On a day like today, words alone will simply not suffice. Things like “Thank God it’s over,” “I am getting cop-slugging drunk,” or “If I get asked to prepare one more extension I’m going to have a panic attack” are expected. Instead we’ll present you with the following clip of a certain taxpayer’s haul in 2009:

[Source]

New Obama Proposal Would Invest $30 Billion TARP Funds in Small Banks

One can only postulate that since there was no room in President Obama’s bloated 2010 budget for small business initiatives, he instead chose to apply some TARP money that’s just lying around to get small business working again. I wish Mr President the best of luck on that plan as he’ll be needing it.

WSJ:

President Barack Obama proposed a $30 billion small business lending program Tuesday, the latest in a series of administration efforts to jump-start hiring by the nation’s small businesses.

The program, which Mr. Obama detailed at an appearance in Nashua, N.H., would invest $30 billion from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program in community banks to encourage them to lend to small businesses. If approved by Congress, the program would incentivize small and midsize banks to provide loans valued at several times that figure.


Didn’t we invest $700 billion in the Too Big to Fail banks for this same purpose? Not that it matters, we’ll try it again with the hopes that community banks will be able to accomplish what TBTF couldn’t.

A proactive sort of administration, White House officials were already prepared to counter the argument that TARP was never intended as a general piggy bank for funding the administration’s whims:

“The law is very clear: The monies recouped from the TARP shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury for the reduction of the public debt. It’s not for a piggy bank,” [Sen. Judd] Gregg said.

[White House Budget Director Peter] Orszag said new legislation would be required to create the new small-business plan. He said the cost of the plan would depend on the subsidy rate of new activity and wouldn’t amount to a net cost, in terms of the deficit, of $30 billion.

Considering that he’s referring to a deficit of $3.8 trillion, I guess $30 billion isn’t really anything to get stressed out about after all.

Meanwhile, can community banks counter the continued deterioration of commercial real estate weighing on their balance sheets? I guess we’ll have to wait it out and see.

Quote of the Day: Extra Kisses from Washington | 02.01.10

“Even in Washington, where we throw around trillions of dollars as if they were Hershey’s Kisses at Halloween, these numbers take your breath away.”

~ Howard Gleckman, editor of TaxVox, on the numbers in President Obama’s 2011 budget.