Following the 16-day shutdown of the federal government in the first half of October, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it would delay the start of the 2014 tax season by one to two weeks, citing the time lost during the closure for programming and testing tax processing systems. It said that it would accept returns no earlier than January 28, but no later than February 4, and that it would give the official date in December. The service also delayed the renewal season for Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, and said that it would contact PTIN holders by e-mail or letter when it was ready to begin processing renewals.

During the shutdown, 90 percent of IRS employees were furloughed, and it accumulated a backlog of over 1.4 million pieces of correspondence. In addition, the Tax Court was closed, and the IRS issued no new levies or liens. It did, however, require taxpayers to meet the October 15 filing deadline -- though it did not send out any refunds.

The Private Company Council voted to finalize two alternatives within U.S. GAAP, which were sent to the Financial Accounting Standards Board for possible endorsement.

A number of states and the federal government rolled out online health care exchanges in the first large implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Needless to say, it left many people swamping their accountants with questions. 

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board voted to adopt two attestation standards pertaining to audits of brokers and dealers, along with an auditing standard for broker-dealer audits.

FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board revealed further details about their long-stalled plans for creating a Disclosure Framework to help accountants decide on which notes to include with financial statements. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules regarding the registration of municipal advisors under the Dodd-Frank Act that included an exemption for accountants who provide a range of audit and attest services.

Attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service presented their arguments before a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court in an effort to reinstate its Registered Tax Return Preparer program of mandatory testing and continuing education of tax preparers. Up until then, the service and the law firm suing on behalf of the tax preparer plaintiffs, the Institute for Justice, had been exchanging their arguments via legal briefs. No word yet on when the panel will decide.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

The American Institute of CPAs held its Fall Meeting of Council, where it installed Postle-thwaite & Netterville's Bill Balhoff as its new chair. 

Income per equity partner at the nation's CPA firms jumped 5.5 percent in 2012, climbing to $386,000, according to the recent 2013 Rosenberg MAP Survey. 

Auditors filed fewer going concern opinions about companies last year, according to a new analysis of fiscal year-end 2012 filings by research firm Audit Analytics, but that was largely due to company attrition, rather than improved company performance.

Nearly seven out of 10 investors had confidence in the U.S. capital markets, according to the seventh annual Main Street Investor Survey by the Center for Audit Quality, and a record 79 percent had confidence in investing in U.S. publicly traded companies just prior to the government shutdown.

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has created a corporate pilot program to guide companies on how to use the board's standards to report material sustainability issues in their Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

 

CORRECTIONS

In "Tax flows its own way" (October, page 22), we gave the incorrect phone number for Drake Software's GruntWorx; the correct number is (800) 890-9500.

Separately, in our 2013 Managing Partner Elite list in the same issue, we should have made clearer Greg Skoda's leadership role in the creation of Century Business Services, and that his earlier firm was the foundation of the consolidator.

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