Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

A Taxing Situation

irs-and-capitol2President Obama announced his intention to curb the use of offshore tax havens for multinational corporations.  The Treasury Department is looking to raise tax revenues and believes that by closing the use of offshore tax shelters it will be able to raise over $200 bn over the next ten years.  According to the New York Times,  firms like Citibank, Morgan Stanley, GE and Proctor and Gamble utilize hundreds of these type structures to shelter revenue from being taxed by the IRS.  It has effectively driven down the tax rates these companies pay and has been a key driver in maintaining corporate profitability.

This move should come as a surprise to no one.  The Treasury Department needs to find sources of tax revenues to cover the massive spending programs necessitated by the credit crisis and the global economic meltdown.  The TARP program designed to revitalize banks has  expenditures that amounted to $700 bn.  Amounts pledged for economic recovery through EESA, PPIP and ARRA will push Treasury Department expenditures targeting economic stimulus projects and programs to approximately $2 tn.  These amounts are over and above routine federal budget expenditures that is running significant deficits as well.

The planned move by the Treasury Department to rewrite the tax code may be an intentional effort to close budget deficits but it also represents a significant rise in tax audit risk.   For the past two years the IRS has been developing a practice strategy and organizational assets to more effectively enforce existing tax laws.  Private sector expertise, practices and resource has significantly out gunned the IRS’s ability to detect and develop a regulatory comprehension of the tax implications of the sophisticated multidomiciled structured transactions flowing through highly stratified and dispersed corporate structures.  The IRS is looking to level the playing field by adding to its arsenal of resources required to engage the high powered legal and accounting expertise that corporate entities employ.

The IRS has hired hundreds of new agents  and has developed risk based audit assessment guidelines for field agents when examining corporations with sophisticated structures and business models.  As such investment partnerships, global multinational corporations and companies utilizing offshore structures can expect to receive more attention from IRS examiners.

The IRS had developed Industry Focus Issues (IFI) to be used as an examination framework to guide audit engagements for sophisticated investment partnerships and  Large and Mid-size Businesses (LSMB).  The IFI for LSMB has developed three tiers of examination risk.  Each tier has comprises about 12 examination issues that will help examiners focus attention of audit resource on areas the agency considers as high probability for non-compliance.  Clearly the audit risk factors risk

To respond to this challenge, Sum2 developed an audit risk assessment program to assist CFO’s, tax managers, accountants and attorneys conduct a through IFI risk assessment.  The IRS Audit Risk Program (IARP) is a mitigation and management tool designed to temper the threat of tax audit risk.   A recent survey commissioned by Sum2 to measure industry awareness of IFI risk awareness indicated extremely low awareness of tax audit risk factors.

Sum2’s IARP helps corporate management and tax planners score exposure to each IFI risk factor.  It allows risk managers to score the severity of each exposure, mitigation capabilities, mitigation initiatives required to address risk factor, responsible parties and mitigation expenses. The IARP allows corporate boards and company management to make informed decisions on tax exposure risk, audit remediation strategies, arbitration preparation and tax controversy defense preparation.

The IARP links to all pertinent IRS documentation and information on each tax statute and IFI audit tier.  The IARP links to pertinent forms and allows for easy information retrieval and search capabilities of the vast IRS document libraries.  The IARP also has links to FASB to have instant access to latest information on accounting and valuation treatments for structured instruments.

The IARP is the newest risk application in the Profit|Optimizer product series.  The Profit|Optimizer is a enterprise risk management tool used by SME’s and industry service providers.

The IARP is available in two versions.

The IRS Audit Risk Program for investment partnerships (IARP)

Buy it on Amazon here: IARP

The Corporate Audit Risk Program (CARP)

Buy it on Amazon here: CARP

Sum2’s Audit Risk Survey results are here: IFI Audit Risk Survey

You Tube Video: Chairman of the Board, Pay to the Piper

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May 7, 2009 Posted by | business, commerce, economics, EESA, FASB, government, hedge funds, IRS, off shore, Profit|Optimizer, regulatory, SME, TARP, Tax, taxation, Treasury | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Joe the Plumber

The GOP has injected another populist caricature into the election campaign. Joe the Plumber joins Hockey Moms and Joe Six Pack as the holy trinity on whose rocks the Republican Party will make its stand.

Joe the Plumber from the swing state Ohio sounds like he could be from Jersey. Joe the Plumber said he wants to buy his bosses plumbing business. But Joe the Plumber doesn’t like Obama’s tax plan because he thinks it will force him to pay higher taxes on a $250,000 salary he hopes to earn someday. I don’t know of many plumbers that are making $250K a year. Many small business owners don’t have to take a salary or pay themselves a distribution from the profits of the business if it pushes them into a higher tax bracket. Joe the Plumber should see an accountant.

But that is not the point. Joe the Plumber wants to start a business and hire Joe Six Pack. Joe Six Pack needs a job so he can make car payments on the Chrysler minivan that his Hockey Mom wife drives to get the kids to practice.

Every four years The GOP seems to rediscover the common folk with a slew of populist rhetoric to run cover for their trickle down economics. The trickle down economics that have been practiced for the past 8 years have led to the abysmal economic mess we are now fighting to overcome.

McCain’s disingenuous socialist insinuation of wealth redistribution belies the fact that generous unfunded tax cuts, entitlement giveaways and unbridled corporate welfare have all been hallmarks of the recent GOP legacy. A kind of socialism for the rich.

This legacy has contributed to the broken down minivan in Ms. Hockey Mom’s driveway and the inability to afford the kids participation in the way too expensive hockey league. All this has left Joe Six Pack crying in his beer over his lost job and his resetting mortgage rate that he won’t be able to make payments on.

Obama’s tax plan will not discourage small business capital formation. On the contrary, Obama’s plan will reduce the tax burden on the middle class so they can hire Joe the Plumber to replace the old hot water heater and repair the leaky pipes under the kitchen sink. Duct tape just ain’t doing it anymore.

So with all the extra income in the hands of Joe Six Pack and Ms. Hockey Mom they will have the money to spend with Joe the Plumber and he will finally be able to buy that business from his boss.

Joe the Plumber should really be in the tank for Obama. Another GOP administration may forever flush away the possibility of Joe the Plumber’s dream of owning his own business.

Music Video: Plumbing Song, Weird Al Yankovich

Risk: small business taxation, capital formation, tax policy

October 16, 2008 Posted by | elections, McCain, Obama, Palin, politics, pop, republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment