A SLOW START
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Tax season began in low gear, with the Internal Revenue Service announcing that some refunds might be delayed a week to adjust for some new anti-fraud safeguards it has installed. On the positive side, it offered some welcome news, including relief on stock-basis reporting in Notice 2012-11, and a proposed update to Rev. Proc. 2003-61, 2003-2 C.B. 296 that would expand innocent spouse relief. It also released statistics about audit patterns from last year, including notice that millionaires were getting audited more.
Separately, both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich released their tax returns as part of their quest to be the Republican presidential nominee. Only Romney's, though, was blessed by a former IRS commissioner.
Top 100 Firms Wipfli and Eide Bailly boosted the ongoing trend of major mergers, announcing they would combine to create a Midwest powerhouse by June. Meanwhile, Warren, Averett, Kimbrough & Marino assembled a Southeast powerhouse with two mergers. (See our apparently permanently expanded M&A Watch section, page 30.)
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board continued to prod officials in Washington for the power to make public its disciplinary proceedings against auditing firms and auditors.
Big Four firm Ernst & Young elected Mark Weinberger as the firm's next global chairman and CEO, succeeding Jim Turley, who will retire in June 2013. Weinberger, 50, was assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for tax policy under President George W. Bush.
The American Institute of CPAs began offering a revenue-sharing arrangement to state CPA societies if they help market the new Chartered Global Management Accountant designation to their members.
Canada's three accounting bodies - the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Certified Management Accountants of Canada, and the Certified General Accountants of Canada - presented a proposed framework to their members for uniting Canada's accounting profession. The framework calls for a designation known as the Chartered Professional Accountant, or CPA.