News Articles

IRS Releases Inflation Adjustments for 2018

Published on November 10, 2017

The IRS has unveiled the tax year 2018 annual inflation adjustments for more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes.

The adjustments include:

Among other changes, the limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2018 returns of individuals will begin with incomes of $266,700 or more ($320,000 for married couples filing jointly).

The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption is $55,400 and begins to phase out at $123,100 ($86,200 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $164,100). The 2017 exemption amount was $54,300 ($84,500 for married couples filing jointly). For tax year 2018, the 28 percent rate applies to taxpayers with taxable incomes above $191,500 ($95,750 for married individuals filing separately).

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2018 Pension Plan Contribution Limits Are Announced

Published on November 10, 2017

The IRS announced that the limit on elective deferral for contributions to 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan will increase from $18,000 in 2017 to $18,500 for 2018. However, the catch-up contribution limit for those 50 and older remains $6,000. Most other inflation-adjusted amounts related to pensions increased from 2017 to 2018.

The ability of taxpayers who are covered by workplace retirement plans to make a deductible individual retirement arrangement (IRA) contribution is phased out for singles and heads of household who have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) between $63,000 and $73,000, a slight increase from last year.

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FASB Releases Hedge Accounting Standard

Published on November 10, 2017

The Financial Accounting Standards Board has released its long-awaited hedging standard, the final component of its financial instruments convergence project with the International Accounting Standards Board.

The accounting standards update has been in the works since 1998, when FASB last issued a standard for hedge accounting activities. After it agreed in 2002 to begin working with the IASB on converging accounting standards, FASB issued two exposure drafts in 2008 and 2010 on hedge accounting. However, after the comment period ended for the 2010 proposals, the project to improve hedge accounting guidance was put on hold to give FASB time to pursue other financial instrument initiatives. After FASB and the IASB diverged on issues such as accounting for impaired loans, the IASB issued a single set of International Financial Reporting Standards for financial instruments in IFRS 9 in July 2014. FASB then issued its standards under U.S. GAAP for the recognition and measurement of financial instruments in January 2016 and for credit losses in June 2016.

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What's Next for FASB

Published on November 10, 2017

FASB to work on developing accounting rules to address areas of distinguishing liabilities and equity, financial performance reporting, and segment reporting.

In an effort to reassure company finance personnel who are implementing challenging standards for accounting for revenue recognition and leases, FASB Chairman Russell Golden said during a speech last month that some of the projects the board was considering would take a significant number of years to complete.

Meanwhile, FASB voted to remove from its research agenda projects on:

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IRS Updates Special Per-diem Rates for Business Travel

Published on November 10, 2017

Business travelers who incur expenses while traveling away from home have new per-diem rates to use in substantiating certain of those expenses (Notice 2017-54). The new rates will be in effect from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. The IRS on Tuesday provided the 2017-2018 special per-diem rates, including the transportation industry meal and incidental expenses rates, the rate for the incidental-expenses-only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.

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Greetings to all NSAC members from the President!

Published on October 12, 2017

It is hard to believe that the harvest season is here for many of our members! It does not seem that long ago that we were all talking about the wet/dry, hot/cold weather than seemed to stay around for most of March, April and May. The weather sure can vary a lot in just a few miles across the country!

Member Communication

As part of the National Board’s strategic initiatives we are looking to increase member communication. Providing updates throughout the year was something that was suggested to help keep all members informed and the web based Annual Meeting kicked off that effort. This message is a continuation of that effort and we hope you find this a useful part of your NSAC membership.

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COSO Releases Updated Enterprise Risk Management Framework

Published on October 12, 2017

The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission released a long-awaited update Wednesday to its ERM Framework: Enterprise Risk Management–Integrating with Strategy and Performance, the first since 2004. 

The updated framework, developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers under the direction of the COSO board, aims to help organizations improve their approach to managing risk. COSO is also responsible for the recently updated internal control framework used by many auditors, and the ERM framework can also be used by accountants, auditors and consultants. The revamped framework highlights the importance of enterprise risk management in strategic planning, stressing the need to embed ERM throughout an organization to influence both strategy and performance. 

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3 Steps To Protecting Your Business From Workplace Fraud

Published on October 12, 2017

Every few months, a major fraud investigation hits the news. According to a new report titled Keeping Business Clean: A CGMA Guide to Countering Fraud & Corruption by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, despite awareness movements and advances in legislation, fraud and corruption continue to plague businesses. 

The World Economic Forum estimates that the typical organization can lose an average of 5 percent of its annual revenue to fraudulent behavior. The risk of fraud is increasing in magnitude in the current e-business environment since technology has enabled the methods of corrupt practices to evolve. 

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Companies shouldn't rush to adopt new hedge accounting standard

Published on October 12, 2017

The Financial Accounting Standards Board released its long-awaited hedge accounting standard this week, but companies may want to be careful about adopting it early, or else they could miss out on some one-time benefits. 

The accounting standards update for hedging takes effect for public companies in 2019 and private companies in 2020. But FASB is also allowing early adoption for companies if they want to begin using it right away. 

“Make sure you don’t rush to early adoption, and that you do actually take full advantage of all the transition elections you may have,” said Jon Howard, senior consultation partner in the accounting services group for financial instruments in Deloitte’s national office. 

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Embezzlement by Employees

Published on October 12, 2017

In the cult film "Office Space", workers at a technology company seek revenge for boring jobs and bad treatment by ripping off their employer via software that skims fractions of pennies with each transaction. Hilarity, guilt and accidental redemption ensue as the main character ultimately prepares to confess. 

Such pennies, in a real-world scenario, can add up more and over longer stretches of time than most employers imagine, according to a study of about 400 employee theft cases reviewed by insurance firm Hiscox. The study, expanded for 2016 to include firms over 500 employees, is based on public data, including from U.S. courts. 

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