* STRONG RESPONSE TO STOCK OPTION, SON OF BOSS INITIATIVES: The executive stock option settlement initiative launched in February has received a strong turnout, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The initiative provided corporate executives and their companies with a means to resolve an abusive tax transaction involving the transfer of stock options to family-controlled partnerships.
"When we announced this initiative in February, we wanted to give corporations and executives a chance to turn the page and make things right," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The vast majority of those involved chose to come forward under the settlement's tough terms. The response reflects higher standards for corporate governance and less tolerance for abusive tax transactions."
Of 124 executives identified, 10 were determined not to have participated in the abusive transaction. Of the remaining 114, 80 executives elected to participate under the terms of the settlement offer. Fifteen other executives reached agreement through the audit process. Nineteen individuals did not elect to participate. Those who declined to participate in the settlement offer are either under audit or had other pending criminal tax investigations.
These results build on the success of the recent Son of Boss settlement initiative. To date, more than 1,200 electing taxpayers have qualified to participate in this offer, with the total revenue to the government expected to approach $4 billion. About 750 taxpayers did not elect or did not qualify to participate in the Son of Boss settlement offer. So far, more than 100 Son of Boss cases are in court, and the IRS expects the first cases to go to trial by early fall.
* H&R BLOCK ACQUIRES COMPANY WITH TURBOTAX TIES: Looking to accelerate its growth in the online and packaged software tax industry, H&R Block in early July acquired San Diego-based TaxNet Inc., a provider of customized online tax services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
TaxNet co-founders Tom Allanson and David Murray will both join H&R Block -- Allanson as senior vice president and general manager of the company's Digital Tax Solutions Group, and Murray as vice president of digital tax marketing and product innovation. H&R Block will maintain a tax technology development facility in San Diego.
Before founding TaxNet in 2004, Allanson was responsible for all aspects of TurboTax as senior vice president and general manager of Intuit's consumer tax group. Murray was head of innovation for TurboTax, focusing on marketing and product development based on consumer feedback.
TaxNet's online tax program was launched six months ago, and allowed taxpayers to complete and e-file their returns quickly and conveniently by viewing only relevant information contained on a minimum number of screens. H&R Block will add TaxNet's online tax service, www.taxnet.com, to its existing digital tax products, which include the line of TaxCut tax software.
A statement from H&R Block noted that the online and packaged tax software market grew 17 percent last year, according to statistics from the Internal Revenue Service.
* CCH OFFERS ONLINE, SELF-STUDY CPE CREDIT: CCH Tax and Accounting launched a new feature for its online self-study courses last week, giving CPAs the opportunity to earn CPE credit around the clock, seven days a week.
The online CCH Testing Center already allows users to review available print course materials online, or print out hard copies of the courses for free to review at their convenience. Now, users will be able to complete and submit their final exams online to be graded immediately, and to download materials as PDF files. Users receive their results and CPE credits instantly, and can print out their certificate of CPE credits earned.
Users who take the final exam online for credit will pay the same grading fee that they would pay if they faxed or mailed their course final exam in to CCH for grading. According to the company, courses now range from $21 to $79. The testing center can be accessed online at www.cchtestingcenter.com.
CCH is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, and as a Quality Assurance Service sponsor of continuing professional education. Records of completed courses and credits are maintained and available to users for every CCH print course successfully completed in the testing center.
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