Employers Slash 80,000 Jobs in March

U.S. employers cut 80,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, confirming fears of an economic downturn. The decrease was the third monthly drop in employment and was worse than the anticipated drop of 60,000 jobs. Over the past three months, payroll employment has declined by 232,000.  In March, employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and employment services, while health care, food services and mining added jobs.  Average hourly earnings rose by $0.05, or 0.3 percent, over the month. The number of unemployed persons increased by 434,000 to 7.8 million in March, and the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage point to 5.1 percent.  Since March 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 1.1 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by seven-tenths of a percentage point.

Bennett Thrasher Adds Tax Managers

Atlanta CPA firm Bennett Thrasher has added Claire Sutton (pictured) as a manager in its tax department. Prior to joining Bennett Thrasher in 2008, she worked as tax manager with a multinational corporation headquartered in Memphis, and began her career in the Federal Tax Practice of Arthur Andersen. The firm also added Buffi Ball as a senior manager in its tax department. She is a member of the tax department's real estate team and is a board member and officer in the Construction Financial Management Association. In addition, co-founding shareholder Rick Bennett has been named a 2008 community champion for Kate's Club, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and teens cope with the loss of a parent or sibling. Two associates at the firm, Randall Kent and Dan Todd, have received "outstanding community service awards" from Beta Alpha Psi for their involvement with the organization and Georgia State University.

IASC Trustees Expand IFRIC

The trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation appointed two additional members to the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee. They both come from the U.S.: Margaret M. (Peggy) Smyth, vice president and controller of United Technologies, and Scott Taub, managing director of Financial Reporting Advisors and former acting chief accountant and deputy chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Elliott Davis Names New Shareholder

Accounting firm Elliott Davis, LLC, has admitted Beth R. Worrell to the firm’s shareholder group, bringing the total number of Elliott Davis shareholders to 49. Worrell is a member of the assurance and advisory group in Elliott Davis’ Galax, Va. office. Worrell, a CPA in Virginia and North Carolina, brings more than 10 years of public accounting experience to her new role at Elliott Davis.

Treasury Inspector General to Report on Tax Season and Identity Theft

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration plans to release reports next week on interim results of the 2008 tax-filing season, an audit of the effectiveness of the IRS's actions to assist victims of identity theft, a review of the IRS's controls over routers and switches and several other reports.

Accounting Error Explains Missing Band Money

Police in Lincoln, Neb., said that an accounting error was the culprit behind $30,000 missing from a school band account rather than theft, as had been suspected. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, students and parents had raised the money for a trip to London. A private donor came up with the funds, which allowed the school to take the trip. The donor is being reimbursed now that the missing money has been properly accounted for.

Maryland Senate Repeals Computer Services Tax

The Maryland Senate voted 30-17 to scrap a computer services tax and replace it with a combination of budget cuts and an income tax surcharge on millionaires, according to the Baltimore Sun. The so-called "tech tax" was expected to generate approximately $200 million per year if it had gone into effect as scheduled on July 1. The millionaire tax will create a tax bracket of 6.25 percent for approximately 6,000 Maryland residents and would be in effect for about three years.

Croc Hunter Zoo Caught in Tax Trap

A zoo set up by the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and now run by his widow Terri has admitted that it was the victim of a "highly sophisticated case of deception" that helped implicate it in an alleged tax avoidance scheme, according to E! Online. The Australian Taxation Office is investigating charges that the Irwins made investments in 2005 in a Singapore company to claim tax deductions on the zoo. Meanwhile, the zoo is being sued by a debt collection service, Alyssa Treasury Services, for approximately $2.5 million (Australian) for outstanding debts related to the scheme.

Woman Apologizes for Dog Attack on IRS Employee

Lisa Hrizco Blechman of Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., apologized Monday for sicking her two dogs, including a pitbull, on an IRS employee who was trying to tape a summons on her door about an audit of her husband's business, according to the Daily Breeze. Blechman, 47, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of assaulting a federal officer for unleashing the dogs, including a pitbull, on the officer. On Oct. 30, 2007, IRS employee Ruth Seidman went to Blechman's residence to serve a summons. When the employee identified herself, Blechman began yelling and swearing, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. After Seidman taped the summons to the front door, Blechman told her that if she did not remove it, Blechman would come outside with her dogs. As Seidman began to walk to her vehicle, Blechman opened the front door and released the dogs. They did not run out and attack the IRS employee, but Seidman said the dogs frightened her. Blechman's attorney argued that the dogs were harmless and the pitbull was arthritic. She was sentenced to two years' probation.


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