Journal of Accountancy

A monthly publication of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants focusing on the latest news and developments related to the field of accounting, and written for CPAs and other accounting professionals.

Articles from Vol. 215, No. 4, April

Appeal Lays Con Ed LILO to Rest
In an opinion that appears to close the door on lease-in, lease out (LILO) tax shelters once and for all, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a case to the Court of Federal Claims, which had upheld the transaction (Consolidated...
A Tour of Five XBRL Tools: Products That Help Make Tagged Data Work for You and Your Clients
Supporters of extensible business reporting language (XBRL) have long touted its potential to transform financial data mining and analysis. Now that potential is starting to become a reality, thanks to several new software applications. These tools...
Confidential and Privileged Communications
As tax advisers, accountants should understand when communications and work product are privileged and when they are not. The IRS is granted significant power to pursue information in examining a tax return or collecting a tax liability, and the courts...
Conflict Minerals Rule Poses Compliance Challenge: SEC Regulation Forces Deep Dive into Supply Chains
To get an idea of how complex and far-reaching the new "conflict minerals rule is likely to be for manufacturers, consider Hewlett-Packard. HP estimates that about 1,000 suppliers in its chain ultimately provide a product to HP that may contain one...
Criminal Background Checks Can't Remain in the Background Anymore
Among the many client services they perform, accounting firms often handle client funds in the performance of various services provided to both individuals and businesses--bookkeeping, investment advisory, family office, and more. Imagine what might...
FATCA Final Regulations Cover All the Bases
The IRS issued final regulations providing rules on information reporting by foreign financial institutions (FFIs) and withholding on certain payments to FFIs and other foreign entities (T.D. 9610). Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of...
Flexing the Strategy Muscles
Finance teams have long been tasked with gazing into the past. They were the ones with the answers about how the company has performed over time, how it did in the past month, and how it just did compared with how it used to do. But now finance professionals...
From "Write-Up" to Right Profitable: For CPAs, the Silver Lining in the Cloud Could Be a Gold Mine in Client Accounting Services
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] CPA firms for decades saw little upside to providing basic accounting services to business clients. Bookkeeping and other "write-up" activities required extensive data entry and document transfer that chewed up man-hours but...
Golf Course Easement Donation Lands out of Bounds
The Tax Court disallowed a taxpayer's deduction for a conservation easement because the taxpayer's donated golf course was not a qualified real property interest. The court found that the golf course was not subject to a use restriction in perpetuity...
Individual Health Care Mandate Rules Proposed
The IRS released proposed rules for the Sec. 5000A shared-responsibility payment--the penalty or tax imposed on individual taxpayers who do not obtain minimum essential health care coverage beginning in 2014 (the controversial "individual mandate")...
IRS: Reasonable Cause Requires Legal Inquiry
Although the Tax Court agreed with the IRS in PateL, 138 T.C. No. 23 (2012), that taxpayers improperly deducted the value of a. house they donated to a fire department to burn for training, the court overturned the IRS's imposition of an accuracy-related...
Making a "Backdoor" Roth IRA Contribution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Sec. 408(d)(1) ordinarily requires a pro rata allocation between taxable and nontaxable amounts (using the Sec. 72 annuity rules) when reporting distributions received from an individual retirement plan (an individual retirement...
Microsoft Office 2013: New Version Delivers Touch-Screen, Cloud, Mobility, and Dozens of Functional Enhancements
An essential tool for many CPAs is a dependable computer running Microsoft Office. Accordingly, CPAs have more than a passing interest when Microsoft releases new editions every three years or so. This year should be no exception. With Office 2013,...
Proposed Regs. Would Govern Employment Tax Liability of Third-Party Agents
The IRS released proposed regulations (REG-102966-10) under Sec. 3504 (acts to be performed by agents) that would govern the liability for employment taxes when an employer designates an agent under a "service agreement" to pay its employees and to...
Release of Dependency Exemption Trumps Child Support
In two recent cases, the Tax Court ruled on the validity of a dependency exemption release to a noncustodial parent. Taken together, the cases illustrate how a properly executed and filed Form 8332, Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption...
Simplified Home Office Deduction Safe Harbor Now Available
In Rev. Proc. 2013-13, issued in January, the IRS gave taxpayers an optional safe-harbor method to calculate a deduction for expenses of a business use of a residence under Sec. 280A, effective for tax years beginning in 2013. Individual taxpayers...
Smart Tech Tips
Technology mistakes can cause higher expenses and lost revenue opportunities. During a session at the AICPA Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference in January, Advisor Products President and CEO Andrew Gluck shared tips on how to avoid the...
Tax Considerations When Dividing Property in Divorce: Marital Estate Division Offers Challenges and Opportunities for Advisers
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The emotional aspects of a divorce often interfere with planning for the efficient distribution of the marital estate. The shock and ill feelings may create a barrier between spouses that prevents even discussing issues. Tax...
Tech Talk: What CPAs Need to Know: Experts Weigh in on Smartphones, Tablets, PCs, Cloud, Cyberthreats, and More
Tax Code modifications and new FASB rules aren't the only changes that CPAs have to concern, themselves with these days. Whether it s the security of clients data, the implications of migrating to the cloud, or the uncertain future of the once-venerable...
The Last Word
I wake up early and try to make the most of my day. I'm usually at work before 7. I don't take a traditional lunch break. I make sure to get to the gym, then I pick up my son and spend a good, quality three hours with him. I might have an evening event...