FASB AGREES TO DEFER FIN 48

Norwalk, Conn. -- The Financial Accounting Standards Board has agreed to defer the effective date of Interpretation No. 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes, for nonpublic entities to years beginning after Dec. 15, 2007.

FASB had received a letter from its Private Company Financial Reporting Committee recommending a deferral for nonpublic entities, since many were unaware that they were included within the scope of FIN 48 until after it became effective. Many of them require more time to study and apply the provisions. Originally, nonpublic entities that had already adopted the provisions of FIN 48 would not be eligible for the deferral. But the board voted for an alternative, saying that a nonpublic enterprise would still be eligible for the deferral unless it had already issued a full set of annual financial statements incorporating the recognition, measurement and disclosure requirements of FIN 48.

FIN 48 is an interpretation of FASB Statement No. 109, Accounting for Income Taxes, which makes recognition and measurement more consistent, as well as offering clear criteria for subsequently recognizing, derecognizing and measuring tax positions for financial statement purposes.

FASB also issued proposed FASB staff position FAS 157-c, Measuring Liabilities under FASB Statement No. 157, with a comment deadline of Feb. 18. The FASB staff position clarifies the principles on the fair value measurement of liabilities.

Marks PANETH & SHRON MERGES IN SCHNEIDER

New York -- Marks Paneth & Shron has merged with Schneider & Associates, adding four new partners to its Woodbury, N.Y., office. Financial details of the merger, which became effective Jan. 1, were not disclosed.

MP&S, which ranked No. 28 on Accounting Today's 2007 Top 100 Firms roster with revenues of $74 million, already has 500 staff members, 69 of whom are partners and principals. The new partners are Jerry Schneider, Dean Hiltzik, Mordecai Lerer and Harriet Greenblatt. They and other staff members are moving over from Schneider's old office in Jericho, N.Y.

The union is expected to enhance MP&S's abilities in the areas of tax, audit and estate planning, especially for high-net-worth individual clients.

AICPA Hits Tax Patents

New York -- The American Institute of CPAs told the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department of its strong and ongoing opposition to tax patents in a letter commenting on proposed regulations. The letter was prompted by proposed regulations on patents as reportable transactions under Sections 6011 and 6111 of the Tax Code.

"We strongly oppose tax strategy patents because of the negative impact such patents have on taxpayers, tax professionals and on tax administration," wrote Jeffrey Hoops, chair of the AICPA's Tax Executive Committee. "We believe that patents for tax-planning methods undermine the integrity, fairness and administration of the tax system and are contrary to sound public policy."

The institute agreed with the Treasury Department that a patent for tax advice or a tax strategy might be interpreted by taxpayers as tacit approval of the transaction and could harm the government's ability to obtain information about tax avoidance transactions.

The AICPA wants to go beyond regulations, however, and is looking for legislation to stop tax strategy patents from growing. The institute recommended that the Treasury Department and the IRS establish procedures to coordinate the review and analysis of tax strategy patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before patents are issued.

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