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Do You Know Where Your Leases Are?

Published on December 22, 2017

Complying with the new lease accounting standard will require collecting data from lease contracts across numerous locations and geographies. 

The clock is ticking to fulfill the requirements of impending changes to lease accounting standards, which are creating a handful of organizational challenges for corporations. One of the more complicated of these challenges is finding lease rights and obligations from numerous (sometimes thousands) of lease agreements or other contracts across numerous locations and geographies. Many corporations are hampered by the uncertainty of where to start or how to tackle this issue and lack preparedness to make the transitions required by the new standards. Earlier this year Forbes reported a survey that found only 14% of companies considered themselves prepared for the new rules. 

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FASB Plans to Ease Lease Accounting Requirements

Published on December 22, 2017

The Financial Accounting Standards Board decided to ease some of the implementation burdens and possible costs of the new lease accounting standard by making several adjustments and offering some practical expedients. 

In the area of land easements, FASB decided to proceed with issuing a final accounting standards update that offers a more practical expedient as an optional transition to the new standard. If elected, the option wouldn’t require an organization to reconsider its accounting for existing land easements that aren’t currently accounted for under the proposed leasing standard known as Topic 840 in FASB’s Accounting Standard Codification. FASB is also clarifying that new or modified land easements should be evaluated under Topic 842 (the final standard for leases), once it becomes effective. 

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IRS Could Bring ACA Penalties to Many Employers

Published on December 22, 2017

The IRS is assessing penalties based on employers’ 2015 Affordable Care Act (ACA) filings on Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

Penalties are triggered by:

Not offering coverage to enough full-time employees, or

Not offering affordable coverage to one or more full-time employees 

These penalties could potentially affect any employer required to comply with ACA for the year 2015. 

Understanding your organization’s penalties

In many cases, employees mistakenly took subsidies from ACA, even though they were offered employer coverage. This means that the IRS may issue penalties to the employer even though the employer is not at fault. In addition, mistakes made by employers in the complex coding of Form 1095-C can result in large penalties, costing up to $3,120 per full-time employee. 

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FASB Combines Guidance for Income Statement, Comprehensive Income into One Topic

Published on November 21, 2017

In an effort to simplify its Accounting Standards Codification, FASB has combined its guidance for income statements and comprehensive income into one topic.

Previously, FASB’s guidance on these subjects has been located in Topic 225, Income Statement, and Topic 220, Comprehensive Income. Under the changes, all guidance on both subjects will be contained in Topic 220.

FASB did not make any substantive changes to the actual guidance on these subjects. The combined topic will be renamed Topic 220, Income Statement—Reporting Comprehensive Income.

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Advice for Mitigating Cybersecurity Threats

Published on November 21, 2017

Finance leaders’ involvement in cybersecurity is growing. Responses to cyberattacks include increased spending, according to a global survey.
 
Nearly three-fourths of company finance leaders have become more involved in cybersecurity in the wake of increases in phishing scams and credit card and database breaches, according to a new global survey.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents said their business had fallen victim to a cyberattack in the past two years. Sensitive information, reputation, and business operations were viewed as most at-risk, according to a survey of more than 700 finance leaders from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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Comparing the House and Senate Tax Proposals for You and Your Business

Published on November 21, 2017

On November 2, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which proposes significant tax changes for businesses and individuals. The 429-page bill is generally consistent with the tax reform framework that Republican leaders previously released

On November 9, the Senate Finance Committee released a summary of its tax reform plan (but not proposed statutory language). The proposals, if enacted, would generally be effective January 1, 2018. 

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If You Don't Monitor Your Internal Controls, Fraud Can Find Its Way In

Published on November 21, 2017

The most effective way to mitigate the risk of fraud in your business or organization is by designing and implementing strong internal controls. But even the best laid plans are susceptible to fraud if no one is monitoring those systems.

Fraud is perpetrated in large companies, small family-run businesses, nonprofits, and governmental entities all the time — and the victims are always incredulous. As auditors, we see clients develop strong control environments with effective control activities, but all too often they miss the opportunity to ensure those controls are working effectively and efficiently as changes occur in their organizations.

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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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