H&R Block opened this tax season with a new high-tech flagship office in New York’s Times Square.
tAX PrePArers Are PerseverinG despite being hit with
a number of negatives at the start of filing season, including
bad weather, the effects of the poor economy, and the demise
of several major bank product programs.
“irs filings are down compared to the same period a year
ago,” revealed Amy mcAnarney, CPA, executive director/vice
president of the tax institute at tax prep giant H&r Block.
“The irs predicted that 2 percent less would file this year due
to the recession, and we think that’s holding true,” said john
Hewitt, chief executive of liberty tax service. “our day-to-day
filing for February is down because of the snow in the east, but
overall liberty is up 10 percent for the year.”
The weather, in the form of several large snowstorms that
blitzed the northeast and the mid-Atlantic region, is respon-
sible for a decline in filing volume, agreed Chuck mcCabe, chief
executive of virginia-based Peoples income tax.
“We’re down primarily because of the snow,” he said. “We
missed a lot of early business at the end of january when the
BY ROGER RUSSELL
Bad weather and a bad economy
mean a slow start to 2010 tax season
See CRUNCH SEASON on 29
At le Ast 12 m Ajor nAtions — including
several of the U.s.’s top international trading
partners — are continuing to slam the door
on efforts by the Public Company Accounting oversight Board to conduct cross-bor-der inspections of non-U.s. audit firms as
required by the sarbanes-oxley Act.
As a result, more than three dozen foreign
accounting firms have managed to evade
PCAoB inspections, even though they registered with the board to audit U.s. corporations more than four years ago.
The board, however, released an update
to its list of jurisdictions outside the U.s.
where it conducted inspections of registered
firms. it conducted inspections in 33 jurisdictions as of the end of last year, including
far-flung locales like Papua new Guinea and
PCAOB thwarted on foreign firm inspections
BY KEN RANKIN / WASHINGTON, D.C.
Kazakhstan. ironically, the roster of foreign
audit firms that have sidestepped PCAoB
inspections is top-heavy with foreign affiliates of major U.s. firms such as the Big Four,
BDo and Grant Thornton.
The inability of U.s. authorities to complete field inspections of these firms has
thrown a monkey wrench into its plans to
move forward with its soX mandate to examine the performance of foreign accounting firms that audit U.s. companies.
At the onset of 2009, the PCAoB an-
nounced its intention to embark on an effort
to conduct inspections of firms in 27 coun-
tries, but was unable to undertake inspec-
tions in 12 of those countries “because of
asserted restrictions under non-U.s. law or
objections based on national sovereignty.”
in a statement outlining the progress of its
efforts during 2009, officials at the board said
that “access to the information necessary
to conduct inspections of registered firms
was, and continues to be, denied in China,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, ireland,
the netherlands, nor way, Portugal, sweden,
switzerland and the United Kingdom.”
Because of the resistance of many govern-
ments to permit U.s. inspections of audit
firms in their countries, the PCAoB issued
new rules allowing the board to defer, for up
to three years, the first inspection of certain
non-U.s. firms that otherwise would have
been required to be inspected in 2009.
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