Daily Tax Update - July 26, 2005

TRANSPORTATION CONFEREES CLOSE TO FINISHING NEGOTIATIONS:
House and Senate highway reauthorization bill conferees could reach an agreement today on a $286.5 billion six-year transportation reauthorization bill. Yesterday, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) was cautiously optimistic that an agreement could be reached before the current extension expires tomorrow night. Inhofe said, "I'm not saying it's going to happen, I'm just saying it's doable." The major issue yet to be resolved is how to distribute public transit funds.

FINANCE COMMITTEE APPROVES PENSION REFORM BILL:
Today, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved a comprehensive pension reform bill, the "National Employee Savings and Trust Equity Guarantee Act of 2005."

  • Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) said, "Today, the Finance Committee is turning its attention to the critically important and time-sensitive issue of pension reform. The fragile state of our nation’s pension plans has caught the attention of Americans everywhere. It was not long ago that American workers used to be fairly sure of a good pension plan. That’s not the case anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that, some within Congress’ control and some not in our control. We need to fix the problems within our control." Grassley added, "Senator Baucus and I have worked to produce a bill that treats both companies and workers fairly. It’s a reasonable approach that’s meant to prevent a real crisis and bring pension rules into the 21st Century."
  • The description of the bill can be accessed here.

PCAOB ADOPTS STANDARD ON REMEDIATION OF MATERIAL WEAKNESS, RULES ON AUDITOR INDEPENDENCE AND TAX SERVICES:
Today, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) adopted certain ethics and independence rules addressing tax services, contingent fees, and other related general ethics and independence standards. The Board also adopted an auditing standard on reporting whether a previously reported material weakness continues to exist. This standard, PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 4, establishes requirements and directions that apply when an auditor is engaged to report on whether a previously reported material weakness in internal control over financial reporting continues to exist.

  • Additional information can be accessed here.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE - CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE:
As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP - TAX PRACTICE
Steptoe & Johnson LLP has one of the largest and most diverse law firm tax practices in the country. The practice covers the entire spectrum of federal taxation, including representation of businesses before the Congress, Treasury and the national office of the IRS; transactional planning for domestic and multinational corporations; complex audit and controversy work for corporations and other business interests contesting IRS adjustments; litigation before the Tax Court, Court of Federal Claims, district courts, courts of appeals and the Supreme Court. The firm's tax practice also encompasses all aspects of employee benefits (ERISA), executive compensation, tax-exempt organizations and charitable giving.  Steptoe has an extensive state and local tax practice, representing an array of business clients on complex sales and use tax, corporate income tax and property tax matters, both advising those clients and handling audits, administrative appeals, and litigation for them.  Read  more information on Steptoe's tax practice