NEW ACCOUNTING OVERSEER PROPOSEDWashington, D.C. - Two members of the House Financial Services Committee have introduced a bill that would establish a new Federal Accounting Oversight Board and probably loosen mark-to-market accounting standards.

Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Frank Lucas, R-Okla., introduced H.R. 1349, which would create a new Federal Accounting Oversight Board to oversee the application of generally accepted accounting principles. The board would include the Treasury Secretary and the chairmen of the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The board would approve the standards set by the independent Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Regulators would have discretion in applying accounting standards to take into consideration different types of assets and different types of market conditions. The bill instructs the FAOB to look beyond current accounting standards and balance sheets to consider broad national and international financial markets and economic conditions.

The legislation includes a provision to examine the impact of mark-to-market accounting, which has been blamed by banking interests and some members of Congress for exacerbating the financial crisis.


Washington, D.C. - Taxpayers will file 240 million federal tax returns and supplemental documents in 2009, according to projections from the IRS Office of Research, down 4.3 percent from estimated return filings of 250.8 million for 2008. The number includes individual, corporation, partnership and estate tax returns, as well as extensions of time to file applications and amended returns. "The primary cause of the large decrease in total returns from 2008 to 2009 is the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008," wrote IRS operations research analyst Jeff Matsuo in the IRS's Statistics of Income Bulletin.


Nashville, Tenn. - The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy is urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to withdraw its proposed roadmap for transitioning to International Financial Reporting Standards.

In a recent comment letter to the SEC, NASBA said that it believes that moving to convergence with IFRS, rather than simply adopting the international standards, is the right path for the SEC to follow. NASBA asked the SEC to withdraw the proposed roadmap and instead support the joint efforts of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board to converge standards by 2011.

NASBA Chairman Thomas Sadler told Accounting Today that the letter was intended to show support for FASB and avoid superseding FASB with the IASB, especially when it comes to standards for privately held companies.

"If there's no FASB," he asked, "where will the standard-setters be for private companies? How will that be funded, how will independence be maintained and how will U.S. authority over FASB be exerted?"

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