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In the News: Year-end Tax Planning, Changes to Offshore Accounts

FATCA FBAR comparison 2012A December 10 Wall Street Journal article titled What’s Next for Offshore Accounts detailed new rules affecting 2011 tax returns. These rules will require taxpayers with assets held offshore to make extensive disclosures to the Internal Revenue Service or risk harsh penalties. The article included a table (click to expand) provided by AICPA indicating which accounts and assets should be disclosed on the new Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, and/or on Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). 

Bloomberg reported that, for many U.S. taxpayers, year-end planning may be more focused on events in 2012. Ted Sarenski, CPA/PFS and member of AICPA’s Financial Literacy Commission notes there are other federal tax breaks set to expire at the end of 2011 that individuals may want to use while they still can. That includes a rule related to charitable donations from IRAs, Sarenski said. Owners of traditional IRAs, which generally have tax- deferred contributions, must take annual distributions starting at age 70 1/2 or over, according to the IRS. This year, savers are allowed to donate up to $100,000 from their IRA directly to a qualified charity without paying income tax on that money.

check NC State universityAccounting Today covered the news that a team from North Carolina State University received a $10,000 award for taking first place in a national case competition. The AICPA competition focused on a fictional Texas company looking to expand its business into the Nigerian oil fields. The N.C. State University team believed the company could achieve their objectives of expansion while working with management to ensure they implement the necessary preventive, detective and corrective controls. They stressed that effective controls should be designed to meet three objectives: limit fraud exposure, align with the company’s strategic goals and being cost effective.

“Through hard work and research, the winning team showed great insight into the many components of a business strategy, including compliance with international and U.S. law,” said AICPA chairman Greg Anton, who announced the winners in Washington, D.C.

Students from Iowa State University took second place and received a $5,000 award. The third-place team from the University of Texas at Dallas won $2,500.

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