Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

A: 48% & 0%. Q: Percent of individual income taxes paid by top 1% of taxpayers and bottom half (projected for 2015)

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Table 4 of the Fairness and Tax Policy document from the Joint Committee on Taxation contains projections from the committee for 2015 tax returns. The table projects income and taxes paid by income level.

All of the following income numbers are based on a fairly broad definition of income, starting with AGI and adding items such as employer social security taxes, employer payments for health insurance, workers comp payments, and nontaxable social security benefits.

(cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

Key items that jump out at me:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 4, 2015, 9:25 am at 9:25 am

Posted in Other stuff

Primer on Bitcoins and Cryptocurrencies

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The Wall Street Journal features a brief debate today asking Do Cryptocurrencies Such as Bitcoin Have a Future?

If you haven’t thought about the idea of Bitcoins much and don’t know what cryptocurrencies are, the Yes and No positions will provide a lot of brain expanding ideas. If you have pondered the issue enough to sorta’ kinda’ have an answer to the question, you may still find the article to be worth a read. If you already have a position, check out the arguments from the other side.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

Written by Jim Ulvog

March 2, 2015, 13:00 pm at 1:00 pm

Posted in Other stuff

From the dusty archives…Barings Bank. Thought to ponder: How do you prevent a rogue from taking down your business?

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A sad anniversary - 2/24 – The Guardian – Barings collapse at 20: How rogue trader Nick Leeson broke the bank

Twenty years ago Barings Bank was taken down by one trader, Nick Leeson. The bank was founded in 1762. It was London’s oldest merchant bank.

Barings was 233 years old when it failed.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 2, 2015, 8:18 am at 8:18 am

Why I chose a gun. Evil exists.

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General Peter van Uhm is the Netherlands chief of defense. In the following TED presentation, he explains why he chose a gun to make the world a better place. Others choose a pen or brush.

He intentionally picked up a gun.

I’ve not talked about my military service on my blogs. His presentation is a superb proxy for why I took my turn carrying a gun, especially one that held frightening power.

Here’s the reason in one phrase: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

February 28, 2015, 9:48 am at 9:48 am

Posted in Pondering

Here’s a scary thought. Maybe HSBC isn’t the worst at helping tax evaders.

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Perhaps HSBC is only getting all this massive attention because the huge leak of confidential data came from someone working at that bank. What would we know if there was a similar data dump of the 100,000 largest customers at all the other Swiss banks?

That idea was prompted by this article:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

February 28, 2015, 9:02 am at 9:02 am

Posted in Other stuff

Tagged with

Suppressed documentary on the brutal, I mean *really* brutal, competition between branches at Morgan Stanley. Sort of reminds me of a movie I saw.

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Investment News has discovered a documentary produced by Morgan Stanley chronicling the harsh competition between branches that is encouraged by their home office. Some news reports suggest this is a parody, but I don’t think so.

Click to see the ten minute video:

Margin Games:

Manager on Fire

Some of my favorite scenes:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

February 27, 2015, 7:32 am at 7:32 am

Posted in Other stuff

For businesses in California, did you know you must turn over unclaimed property to the State Controller’s Office?

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If your clients have old payroll checks or old payments to vendors that have never cleared the checking account and your client can’t find the employee or vendor, at some point in time they need to turn that money over the State of California. I think there are similar laws in most states.

I’m guessing lots of your clients may not have realized that. I’ll make another guess that they aren’t alone.

Just read a background article on the issue, which is referred to as escheat. I learned there is a 12% annual penalty on any amounts that should have been turned over to the state but were not.

Since I’m making lots of guesses, here’s another one. As hungry as the state is for tax revenue, we may someday see auditors from the State Controller’s Office start looking for money from businesses and charities that haven’t escheated funds. Twelve percent over three or four years could add up to some decent return on an auditor’s time.

You remember that old question about what to do with those old outstanding checks that haven’t cleared?

Writing them off doesn’t work as the answer anymore.  Those outstanding checks belong to somebody else.

The correct answer is look again for the payee and then after the proper time runs (3 years according to the article), you should start the specified two-step process and eventually get the money to the Controller’s Office.

A word to the wise is sufficient. Remember that 12% per year penalty. That is some expensive money.

Following article appeared in the California Board of Accountancy’s newsletter Update #77 and is reprinted with permission of the California State Controller’s Office and the California Board of Accountancy.

(For ease of reading, this will not be posted with quotes around the whole article.)

 

CPAS CAN HELP CLIENTS MEET UNCLAIMED PROPERTY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Written by the State Controller’s Office for use by the California Board of Accountancy

Do you have clients who are holding unclaimed property? Perhaps it is a returned security deposit or refund check. Or, it could be stocks, bonds, safe deposit box contents, or other property. With $7.6 billion in unclaimed property received by the State Controller’s Office (SCO) and an estimated 28.6 million owner accounts available to be claimed, chances are, you may have clients who need your guidance in this area.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

February 26, 2015, 15:17 pm at 3:17 pm

Posted in Other stuff

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