Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prepare for 2013 with an Invitation from Vanguard

Vanguard Investments is an easy, low cost, investment source for anyone who likes to have direct involvement in their investment and retirement portfolios.  Please consider checking our their webcast and get prepared for 2013 and beyond.

~ Kris Halterman

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Bill McNabb and Tim Buckley assess the markets and economy

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Tax Man Cometh

The Tax Man Cometh: What to Expect in an IRS Visit

November 27th 2012 by Intuit Staff

For the third year in a row during the 2012 tax return season, the IRS sent letters and scheduled visits with thousands of tax return preparers nationwide. These annual letters and visits are part of the IRS’ ongoing compliance initiative to improve the accuracy and qualify of filed tax returns and to heighten awareness of preparer responsibility. And, while the focus of the letters and visits may change, tax practitioners can anticipate another round of letters and visits during the 2013 filing season.

During both the 2011 and 2012 tax return seasons, the IRS focused on tax return preparers who prepared a large number of individual returns with Schedules A (Itemized Deductions), C (Profit or Loss from Business) or E (Supplemental Income and Loss) in the prior year. In November 2010, the IRS sent more than 10,000 letters to selected preparers and scheduled visits with about 2,500 preparers between December 2010 and the end of April 2011. In November 2011, approximately 25,000 preparers nationwide received missives from the IRS, with about 2,100 visits scheduled through April 15, 2012.

You’ve Got Mail

According to the IRS, the purpose of the preparer letters is to heighten awareness of preparer’s responsibilities, the consequences of filing incorrect returns and tax return preparer requirements. The letters include enclosures that outline common issues preparer’s should be aware of on the targeted schedules.

Preparers are not required to respond to the IRS letters—but may want to prepare for the possibility of an in-office visit.

You’ve Got Company

Based on past experience, upwards of 2,000 preparers who receive letters can expect a visit from the IRS. An IRS agent will call selected tax return preparers in advance to schedule the date and time of the visit. The agent will then send a letter confirming the visit.

Assessing Fraud; Part 1

From The Experts
Tips and Techniques to Assess Fraud, Part 1
November 6th 2012 by Dan Ramey
Would you like to know where an employee might create a scheme to defraud your organization? As much as 7 percent of top-line revenue may be at risk, so how do you fight back against these employees who want to take advantage of your organization?
As mentioned in my previous article, Detecting Fraud: The Tone at the Top, the presence of fraud is prevalent in today’s business, educational, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. A strong internal control environment is one of the main strongholds to reducing the likelihood of fraud in the organization. As these articles continue, other key proactive characteristics of an organization prepared to reduce the occurrence of internal fraud will be addressed.
One of the first steps an organization should take to evaluate its fraud risk is to perform an enterprise-wide fraud risk assessment. A fraud risk assessment allows the organization to identify potential areas where fraud may occur and who the perpetrators might be.
The fraud risk assessment team should consist of employees across many disciplines of the company. This include the following:
  • Accounting and finance individuals from all levels, not just senior management, because they are familiar with the processes of the transactions and existing controls.
  • Individuals in operational-type positions should be included due to the wealth of information they have regarding their day-to-day operations and the opportunities that might exist from external forces and management pressures for performance.
  • Legal and compliance representatives should be included due to their knowledge of the regulations surrounding your individual industry.
  • If an internal audit function exists within the organization, the audit staff is a great source of information of current control weaknesses and opportunities for fraud within the organization. The staff is trained to look for fraud and be aware of the opportunities for fraud.
  • Senior management should be included due to their responsibilities for the overall control environment and are usually keenly aware of fraud issues within the industry. They also have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization’s stakeholders.
  • Lastly, include forensic accounting experts who deal with fraud investigations on a daily basis – they have seen a wide variety of fraud schemes and broken controls which allowed the fraud to occur in the first place.