My baptism of fire, coming soon after I began my editorial career, was the massive "Tax Reform Act of 1976." It was the first piece of major tax legislation with which I had to deal. I spent many hours on it, especially the estate and gift tax provisions dealing with the new unified credits. I worked extremely hard to make sure subscribers of the then Prentice Hall's looseleaf services got a correct technical recital of the provisions. Yes, I said looseleaf.
Let's fast forward some 29 years. In some ways, I am doing the same thing but there is an important change in my perspective. I am now working on describing a set of pronouncements from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). They include eagerly awaited guidance on when offering tax services compromises independence, required procedures to be followed when auditors provide tax services, and the significance of contingent fee arrangements. There also is a standard on engaging an auditor to report on whether a previously reported material weakness continues to exist. This standard will provide a means for public companies to give investors assurance that the material weakness has been remedied by an interim date set by the company which is prior to the date for a required filing with the SEC.
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