Geithner Pushes Tax Boost for Wealthy [WSJ]
“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made the Obama administration’s economic case for letting tax cuts for high earners expire at the end of this year, saying that failure to do so would harm rather than help economic growth.
In a speech Wednesday in Washington, part of the administration’s broader strategy to overcome Republican opposition on the issue, Mr. Geithner said that keeping current tax levels even on a short-term basis “would hurt economic recovery by undermining confidence that we are prepared to make a commitment today to bring down our future deficits.” The government needs the revenue it would get from allowing tax rates for the wealthy to rise, he said.”
PCAOB Logs No Progress on International Inspections [Compliance Week]
“The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board isn’t yet making much headway in catching up on overdue international inspections, but the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill at least clears an obstacle the board has repeatedly blamed for its inability to meet its inspection mandate.”
Regulator fears auditors may abandon scepticism to meet deadlines [Accountancy Age]
“The Auditing Practices Board (APB), which sets standards for the industry, is concerned auditors might be abandoning their professional scepticism to meet contractual audit deadlines, and wants to coach them in how to be sceptical.
Audit contracts are often negotiated on the assumption few problems will be revealed, according to the APB. When a potential issue does arise timetables often have to be extended.”
A-Rod’s Home Run Ball: a Tax Headache for the Record Books? [WSJ]
The ball is reportedly worth around $100k and if the ball is technically Yankees’ property and the team were to give it to A-Rod, then he may owe tax and the Yanks would get a corresponding deduction. The team could also argue that the ball is technically A-Rod’s property and then neither would owe tax.
Of course then the question remains, what if A-Rod sells or donates the ball to a nonprofit? If he sold it, then it would depend on how long he keeps it (less than a year would be at ordinary rates, greater than a year would be at capital gain rates). While donating the ball after one year could net him a near full deduction.
TheStreet.com names Thomas Etergino finance chief [AP]
Tom starts his new gig on September 7th.
IRS Hits Wyclef With $2.1 Million In Tax Liens [The Smoking Gun]
Whether it’s the U.S. or Haiti, this is not how you want to start a Presidential campaign.
Delta Said to Plan New York JFK Hub Renovation for $1.2 Billion [Bloomberg]
Anyone that has been to Terminal 3 at JFK is aware of the problem.
Are you paying attention Fortune? After last week’s controversy around the finances of Yele Haiti, RSM McGladrey has been appointed to administer the donations pledged to Wyclef Jean’s foundation.
Yele Haiti has also retained Grant Thornton, who filed the three years of tax returns for the foundation just last August.
All the hubbub was over the foundation less than timely filing of its tax returns and paying expenses on the behalf WJ’s production company.
Not filing tax returns is one thing but there is some debate over whether the payment of expenses is actually anything to worked up over:
John Colombo, a University of Illinois law professor specializing in tax-exempt organizations, said tax laws permit such fees.
“If you told me the organization raised $1 million and it all went to him, then I would have some issues,” Colombo said. “Paying him an arm’s length salary for services he actually performed just isn’t a problem.”
But Alvin Brown, a tax lawyer who runs the site IRSTaxAttorney.com, said such transactions were “scary” and “could be viewed as fraud.”
“Viewed as fraud” isn’t the same as “is a fraud” but we after the last week, Yele Haiti has heard worse.
Wyclef’s Haiti Charity Gets New Accountants [AP]
We Knew Accounting Firms Were Helping Haiti
There has been lots of donations made to several organizations since last week’s earthquake in Haiti and Wyclef Jean’s Foundation, Yele Haiti was one of the most prevalent charities raising funds.
As you may or may not be aware, there has been a good deal of coverage of the foundation’s financial problems and this has caused many to think twice about which charity they donate to.
After all the criticism, Gawker now has video of Wyclef Jean admitting that his charity, Yele Haiti, has made “mistakes”. These mistakes range from late filing of its tax returns to the foundation paying expenses on behalf of Jean’s production company (go to The Smoking Gun for more details including the 2006 Form 990).
From a tax standpoint, if you donate and you itemize, you can take the deduction (AGI limits apply and you best keep those receipts), however, as some have pointed out, choose wisely. It is natural to want to donate in times of crisis and if you want that money to go to its best use, then be do some research and make sure you know how the money will be spent.
Wyclef Jean Charity’s Funny Money [The Smoking Gun]