SEC MAY LET FILERS CHOOSE STANDARDSWASHINGTON, D.C. - On the heels of its financial reporting roundtable last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission said that it may allow U.S. filers to choose which standards they want to use to report their financials.

This summer, the regulator will put forth a request for comment on proposed rule changes that would allow the use of International Financial Reporting Standards for reports filed by foreign issuers, in lieu of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The SEC also plans a release that would raise the possibility of providing U.S. companies a choice between GAAP and IFRS. Comments on both would be due in the fall.


BIRMINGHAM, ALA. - Former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy will pay $81 million to settle civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. While SEC spokespeople have said that the amount of the deal is among the most expensive ever for an executive settlement, a federal judge ruled that the judgments in three other civil cases brought against Scrushy could count as a $71.5 million credit toward the disgorgement to the SEC.

Scrushy neither admitted nor denied accusations that he bears responsibility for HealthSouth's $2.7 billion accounting fraud, though he will be barred from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company for five years.


BERWYN, PA. - According to Vertex Inc.'s annual Sales Tax Rate Report, the average number of U.S. sales tax rate changes per year has grown by 28 percent since the late 1990s.

Based on a comparison of the number of state, county, city and district sales tax rate changes during the six-year periods between 1995 and 2000, and 2001 and 2006, the study found that the average number of rate changes per year was 610 and 779, respectively. According to the report, the number of rate changes decreased for the earlier period, while the number of changes fluctuated for the later period.

Vertex said that it remains to be seen how much the Streamlined Sales Tax Project has directly influenced the change in the total number of rate changes at the local, county and city levels. The report also revealed that the average U.S. sales tax rate hit a historical high in 2006 at 8.579 percent.

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