FASB AT 40

New Chairman Russell Golden marked the 40th anniversary of the Financial Accounting Standards Board with his first major speech. He emphasized that FASB needs to work more closely with outside groups, though he noted that the board's relationship with the International Accounting Standards Board would evolve, and that FASB's first priority is to improve financial reporting for the U.S. He also talked about simplifying FASB's GAAP accounting standards codification.

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released a flood of guidance and regulations related to the Affordable Care Act in the run-up to a major deadline on October 1. Among other things, they issued final regs on the penalty for individuals who don't enroll in a health insurance program, which will start in 2014 and increase until 2016; provided guidance (in Notice 2013-54) on the application of the act's market reform provisions to various health care arrangements, including flexible spending accounts; proposed regs regarding information reporting requirements for insurers and certain employers; and issued tax-reporting rules for charitable hospitals.

FASB was busy in other areas. At the end of August, it released the latest version of the U.S. GAAP Taxonomy. Then, in mid-September, it voted to issue an exposure draft with proposals to improve financial reporting about public and private development-stage entities, easing the requirements for revenue recognition and measurement and other areas. It also received the results of a recent survey by the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council that revealed pent-up demand for addressing issues such as financial disclosures, hedging and simplification of its codification of U.S. GAAP.

TIGTA GIVETH ...

A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration indicated that tax enforcement revenue collected by the IRS had declined for the second straight year, declining by 9 percent in fiscal 2012, from $55.2 billion to $50.2 billion -- all of which TIGTA ascribed to years of budget cuts. (In case you're worrying that TIGTA has gone soft, it also released a report questioning the accuracy of the IRS's estimate of the Tax Gap.) In a separate report, TIGTA also suggested that the IRS needs to strengthen its correspondence audit selection process by auditing more of the prior- and subsequent-year tax returns of noncompliant income tax filers - and the IRS agreed.

The IRS proposed increasing the user fees for both offers in compromise and installment agreements for the first time since 2007. The new fee rate for both installment agreements and offers in compromise would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Separately, it announced that it planned to make a priority of issuing guidance relating to determining a Sec. 501(c)(4) organization's primary activity -- an issue that generated a scandal when it emerged earlier this year that the service had been targeting conservative groups. It also streamlined the procedures for seeking innocent spouse relief (in Revenue Procedure 2013-34), and issued the final tangible property repair regulations for Sec. 162(a) and 263(a).

IN OTHER NEWS

Accounting Today announced our 2013 Best Firms to Work For. The list of firms is here; the rankings will be released during our Growth & Profitability Summit in Orlando, Fla., October 20-22, and the final report will appear in our December issue.

Global firm Deloitte grew its worldwide annual revenue for the fourth consecutive year, to $32.4 billion for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2013, up from $31.3 billion last year.

The National Society of Accountants electednew officers, including president Steven Hanson and first vice president Marilyn Niwao.

Cloud software provider AccountantsWorld appointed the former head of CCH Small Firm Services, Jeff Gramlich, as its president.

CORRECTIONS

In "Firms create a new kind of internship" (August, page 1), we identified Allen Bolnick as managing partner of Weltman Bernfield; while he was MP at the time the story discusses, Glenn Mikell is now at the helm of the firm. In addition, Silver, Lerner, Schwartz & Fertel, a participant in the original group internship program, is no longer participating; its place has been taken by BIK & Co.

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