A NEW CHAIR

The Financial Accounting Foundation's board of trustees has named Russell Golden as the next chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, succeeding Leslie Seidman, whose term will end on June 30. Golden has served as a member of FASB since September 2010, and previously served for six years on the FASB staff. Before that, he was a partner at Big Four firm Deloitte & Touche. Golden's initial term as FASB chairman will extend to June 30, 2017, after which he will be eligible to serve another term of three years. FASB members are limited to serving 10 years on the board.

 

Just as we were going to press, FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board also released a long-awaited proposal on lease accounting. It would require all leases over 12 months to be recognized, and do away with the capital-versus-operating lease model, replacing it with distinctions based basically on whether it's a lease for real estate, or for other property like equipment and vehicles. Comments are due in September.

Separately, FASB and the FAF celebrated the 40th anniversary of their founding in 1973 by launching new branding and Web sites.

 

Top 100 Firms Baker Tilly Virchow Krause and Holtz Rubenstein Reminick announced a major merger.

 

It emerged that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted for extra scrutiny groups that had "Tea Party," "Patriot" or similar terms in their names. At press time, the IRS had said that the extra scrutiny was due to procedural errors, not partisanship, but President Obama asked for and received the resignation of Acting Commissioner Steven Miller, the Attorney General launched a criminal investigation, and Congress promised hearings.

 

The Private Company Council voted in early May to move forward with proposed alternatives within U.S. GAAP for private companies. Its approved exposure of the proposals is the first step in a process toward endorsement by FASB. In its third meeting, the PCC made tentative decisions in the areas of providing private companies with relief from separately recognizing certain intangible assets acquired in a business combination. The council also tentatively decided to allow for the amortization of goodwill and a simplified goodwill impairment model, and proposed to allow two simpler approaches to accounting for certain types of interest rate swaps.

 

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board issued a formal policy statement in an effort to get more cooperation from accounting firms in assisting with its investigations of their audits, offering extra credit for cooperating with PCAOB investigations and self-reporting violations. According to the policy statement, "extraordinary cooperation" is voluntary and timely action beyond compliance with legal or regulatory obligations. Cooperation that could result in credit includes self-reporting violations before the conduct comes to the attention of a regulator. Self-reporting is more valuable the earlier it is provided, the board noted.

Separately, the PCAOB reproposed for comment its related-parties auditing standard, along with related amendments to other standards. Comments are due by July 8.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission extended the comment period on a proposal from Nasdaq to require its listed companies to attain an internal audit function.

 

When not singling out Tea Party groups, the IRS kept busy by inaugurating its five planned furlough days. It also promised in Policy Statement 4-120 that it will follow a 2010 court holding and obtain a search warrant in all cases when seeking the content of taxpayer e-mail communications stored by an Internet service provider.

In less controversial news, it announced that it will be making changes to the filing requirements for corporate and partnership taxpayers with assets of between $10 million and $50 million, in an effort to lighten the burden. The changes will be effective for tax years ending on Dec. 31, 2014, and later.

And in Notice 2013-30, it formalized a three-month extension for filing and paying taxes for those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. 

 

Managing and retaining data was named the top initiative for North American accounting firms, in the American Institute of CPAs' annual Top Technology Initiatives Survey. IT security, which had topped the list for nine of the past 10 years, came in at No. 2.

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