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EDI TOR-IN-CHIEF Bill Carlino
Life after tax season
Ex. Director, Creative Services
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Roger Russell, Danielle Lee
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Sometimes it almost restores your faith. As many of you probably noticed, this issue comes with our annual ranking of the Top 100 Firms, as well as the top Regional Leaders. ;is is the 12th edition of that annual feature that I’ve
been privileged to be a part of, and I’m delighted to say that over the several-months-long process it
takes to compile the exhaustive data, I did not receive one e-mail from a ;rm asking about the criteria
for inclusion. In the two-plus decades we’ve done the Top 100, the criterion predicated solely on ;rm
revenue has never veered, and it’s heartening to know that those guidelines may ;nally have reached
the farthest outposts of the profession.
But keeping the celebration short, let’s move on to the issues of the day, of which there are a few. First, a
few words — okay, maybe more than a few — about January’s State of the Union Address and tax reform.
;e word “taxes” came up in the speech almost as many times as the pronoun “I,” and encompassed
such areas as tax breaks for companies that don’t outsource jobs overseas, the tuition tax credit, the R&D
credit, and tax relief for small business, as well as a call for an extension of the payroll tax cut.
President Obama called for a change in the Tax Code, but emphasized that reform should follow the
so-called Bu;ett Rule, in that if you make more than $1 million per year, you should not pay less than
30 percent in taxes. I’m happy to report that’s one less thing that I will have to worry about.
Obama addressed expanding tax relief for small-business owners, but then proposed raising taxes
on those over the $250,000 threshold, proclaiming, “Everyone should pay his or her fair share of taxes.”
As an aside, apparently “fair share” is synonymous with “no share” when it comes to the president’s
executive sta;, 36 of whom owe an aggregate $833,970 in back taxes.
Even I know that it will be di;cult to ram through any type of signi;cant legislation in a presidential
election year. Nevertheless, there’s sure to be a modicum of discussion on the future of the payroll tax
cut and the frequently patched Alternative Minimum Tax.
Another topic de jour is ;nancial standards for private companies, as 2012 promises to be the year of
some movement on the 30-year-old and often-polarizing matter.
Over 6,500 comment letters have been received on October’s proposal by the Financial Accounting
Foundation calling for the creation of a Private Company Standards Improvement Council — as opposed to an independent board — that would remain under the purview of the Financial Accounting
;e FAF proposal weathered heavy criticism from many in the profession — particularly the American
Institute of CPAs — which, like others, saw the PCSIC as a recycled version of the ;ve-year-old Private
Company Financial Reporting Committee. Although to be fair, the PCFRC was not able to siphon sta;
resources from FASB and did not engage at a high level of interaction with the board.
At press time, the FAF was expected to issue a decision on the structure of the new council early this
month, following a series of four roundtable meetings across with country with stakeholders and users
of ;nancial statements.
Once ;ling season breaks, tax reform and private standards will likely usurp W-2s and 1040s as top-of-mind concerns.
Whether more is said on them than done is another matter.
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