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Tax News

IRS Suspends Identity Protection PIN Online Program.

The IRS has announced that it has temporarily suspended its online Identify Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program. The program, which began in 2011, allowed taxpayers who had received IP PINs and then lost or misplaced them to retrieve them online. For the current filing season, approximately 130,000 taxpayers used the online tool to try retrieving a lost or forgotten IP PIN. The IRS said it is conducting a further review of the application, and is looking at further strengthening the security features of the tool.

SEC News

Business Lobby Opposes PCAOB’s Auditor Name Disclosure Rule.

In a comment letter, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the SEC that it should not approve a PCAOB rule requiring audit firms to name the engagement partner and other accounting firms that participated in an audit because it may heighten an auditor’s legal liability. The audit regulatory board has worked on the rule for several years, with multiple proposals to address liability concerns, but Tom Quaadman, a vice president with the Chamber, wrote in a letter to the SEC that the new requirement would still impose unjustified costs. “While we recognize that the initiative has evolved over time, the Proposed Rules do not resolve our liability concerns,” Quaadman wrote.

Vacancy Filled at Top of Enforcement Division’s Fund Unit.

On March 10, the SEC named Anthony Kelly as co-chief of the Enforcement Division’s asset management unit. Kelly is filling a post that had been vacant since February, when Julie Riewe left the SEC. Kelly has been with the SEC since 2000 and with the asset management unit since 2012. “Anthony’s wide-ranging experience in enforcement and examinations, along with his exceptional judgment and dogged investigative skills, will be tremendous assets in rooting out fraud in the asset management industry,” Enforcement Division director Andrew Ceresney said.

“Will [the FASB lease accounting standard] destroy the economy? Probably not.”


Lease Standard Foes Surrender.

Critics of FASB’s lease accounting standard, which was 10 years in the making, appear to be acquiescing to a new era for U.S. GAAP now that the standard has been published. The standard requires companies that lease valuable assets like aircraft, real estate, and heavy equipment to recognize on their balance sheets the assets and liabilities generated by contracts longer than a year. “Will it destroy the economy? Probably not,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who was a critic of the standard. “But it’s an unnecessary drag, and we tried to stop it. We delayed it. I am glad this harm to the U.S. economy is happening now rather than when we were at a worse position.”


PCAOB Launches Redesigned Website.

In the PCAOB’s latest step to improve how users access its rules and standards, the board launched a revamped website on March 7 that is designed to work across desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices. The redesign also features easier navigation of standards and other online content, the PCAOB said in a news release. Under the changes, content can be accessed through an expandable “mega menu” at the top of every page, as well as through links at the bottom of pages.


Vice Chairman Mackintosh Steps Down, Finnegan Retires.

IASB Vice Chairman Ian Mackintosh will leave his post at the end of his term in June, the IFRS Foundation said on February 12. Mackintosh, a native New Zealander and the former chair of the U.K.’s Accounting Standards Board, had been the IASB’s second-in-command since July 2011. According to the foundation’s statement, Mackintosh offered to step down as the foundation reviewed the IASB’s structure and effectiveness and the accounting board reevaluated its standard-setting agenda.

The accounting board also announced the retirement of Pat Finnegan, effective June 30. Finnegan is two years into his second term, but wished to return to the United States before he completes the term. “Pat has played a leading role in the board’s work to deepen its cooperation with the investor community around the world,” Michel Prada, chair of the IFRS Foundation, said in a statement.