Fed Cuts Rate to 2 Percent

The Federal Reserve's policy-making committee, the Federal Open Market Committee, has decided to cut rates by one-quarter point, or 25 basis points, to 2 percent. The Fed noted that recent information indicates that economic activity remains weak, with household and business spending subdued, labor markets softened, financial markets under considerable stress, credit conditions tight, and the housing contraction deepening.

IRS Allows Tax-Free Withdrawls of Stimulus Payments from IRAs

The Internal Revenue Service said economic stimulus payments that directly deposited to IRAs and other tax-favored accounts may be withdrawn tax-free and penalty-free. To qualify for relief, the funds must be withdrawn by April 15, 2009, in most cases.

CCH Offers Free CPE Seminars

CCH is offering free sessions to help tax and accounting professionals learn about successful practices and strategies while they earn CPE credits. The free CPE sessions will take place in 38 cities nationwide between June 3 and July 17. For more information or to register for the free seminar, call (866) 458-5121 or visit CCHGroup.com/SummerSeminars.

Taxpayer Advocate Service Falls Short

The Taxpayer Advocate Service needs to do a better job of processing requests from taxpayers for relief from Internal Revenue Service enforcement actions, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. TIGTA found that over 50 percent of the 250 cases sampled had errors and delays that might have burdened taxpayers. In some instances, taxpayers might have had their rights or privacy violated because the TAS bypassed authorized representatives, made unauthorized disclosures to third parties, did not pay the proper interest on refunds or denied claims erroneously.

SEC Charges Two Former Monster Execs with Backdating

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two former executives of Monster Worldwide with stock options backdating. The complaint, filed in the Manhattan District Court, charged former president and COO James J. Treacy and former controller Anthony Bonica with participating in a scheme that wnt back to 1997.

SEC Also Charges Birmingham Mayor

In other SEC news, the commission charged Birmingham mayor Larry Langford and two of his friends with participating in a payment scheme related to municipal bond offerings and swap agreement transactions. The SEC alleged that while Langford served as president of the Jefferson County commission, he accepted more than $156,000 in undisclosed cash and benefits over two years from William Blount, chairman of Blount Parrish & Co. According to the SEC complaint, Langford selected Blount Parrish to participate in every Jefferson County municipal bond offering and security-based swap agreement transaction between 2003 and 2004, enabling the firm to collect more than $6.7 million in fees. Moreover, the SEC alleged that Langford and Blount concealed the payment scheme by using a long-time friend, lobbyist Albert LaPierre, as the conduit.

SOX 404 Compliance Costs $1.7 Million

The total average cost of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 compliance reached $1.7 million in fiscal 2007, according to a survey by Financial Executives International. Total audit fees for U.S. accelerated filers averaged $3.6 million, a slight increase of 1.8 percent from the previous year.

U.S. Added 10,000 Private Sector Jobs in April

Employment in the private sector rose by 10,000 in April, according to a report by payroll giant ADP. Small businesses of between one and 49 employees were responsible for much of the increase, adding 42,000 jobs, according to payroll data analyzed by Macroeconomic Advisers. Midsized businesses of between 50 and 499 employees lost 14,000 jobs, and large businesses with more than 500 employees lost 18,000 jobs.

AICPA Polls Finds Recession Fears

Sixty-eight percent of American adults believe the United States is heading toward a recession, while 53 percent are reducing their spending and paying down debt, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs. Americans' most pressing financial concerns were escalating energy costs, retirement and education (either a child's education or student loans).

NESS Reaches Platinum Status as AccuFund Reseller

New England Systems and Solutions, an affiliate of Needel, Welch & Stone P.C., of Rockville, Md., has attained platinum status as a reseller of nonprofit accounting software AccuFund.  NESS signed on as an AccuFund reseller in March 2006.

Forbes Makes Partner at MGO

Thomas J. Forbes has been admitted to the partnership at Macias Gini & O'Connell LLP. The CPA has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and consulting. Based out of the firm's Los Angeles and San Diego offices, he will lead the tax practice in Southern California and will support the opening of MGO's Orange County location.

Xactly Raises $30 Million

Sales analytics software developer Xactly has raised another $30 million to fund continued business growth at the San Jose-based company. The money comes from an equity round and a revolving credit facility from existing investors, as well as new investors Glynn Capital Management and Cheyenne Ventures.

ExpertPlan Acquires TSCI

ExpertPlan, a provider of record-keeping systems for retirement plans, said it has acquired TSCI, formerly known as Trust Service Company Inc., a company that develops record-keeping and trust accounting systems. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Employees from TSCI's Pennsylvania ofices will relocate to ExpertPlan's headquarters in East Windsor, N.J.

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