Market Perspective

The markets have been extremely volatile in the past few weeks. We saw sharp declines in the markets in the beginning of last week only to turn around and end the week with a slight increase in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices and a slight decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The S&P …

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Sales of New Homes in Metro Phoenix Surge in July

Many economists believe this year’s surge in homebuilding is beginning to look more and more like a real recovery of the Valley’s new-home market. New Home Permits Issued in July 2015 are 55% Higher than Prior Year The Phoenix Housing Market Letter published by RL Brown and Greg Burger reports that: New home sales were …

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Forensic Accountants: What Makes Them Effective – or Not?

I have been performing forensic accounting services for clients since 1984. During that time, I have heard many definitions of “forensic accounting services” from other CPAs, seminar instructors, and attorneys. The American Institute of CPAs (“AICPA”) has a practice aid[1]  (“Practice Aid”) which gives the following definition of forensic accounting services: “Forensic accounting services generally …

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Depositing Checks Remotely – The Banks are on Top of this, Right?

Ah, the convenience of depositing a check right from my phone. How much easier could it get? Log onto my account, choose remote deposit, snap a picture of the front and back of the check and ABRACADABRA my check is deposited. No getting out to the bank or finding a deposit slip. Once I receive …

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Mitigation – A Key Issue in the Assessment of Damages

A damages award must consider steps the plaintiff took, or reasonably could have taken, to mitigate the alleged losses. The defendant has the burden to prove that losses could have been avoided by reasonable efforts of the plaintiff without causing undo expense or risk. Duty to Mitigate One of the principles limiting recovery of damages …

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A New Tax-Free Vehicle for the Disabled

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (“ABLE Act”) offers a new tax-free savings vehicle for disabled individuals to pay for expenses not covered by government programs such as health care, employment training and support, housing, transportation and education. The ABLE Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December 2014 as …

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Could New Section 2704 Regulations Eliminate Discounts Applicable to Transferred Interests in Family Owned Entities?

Section 2704(b) Internal Revenue Code Section 2704(b) provides that certain “applicable restrictions” that would typically justify the application of lack of control and/or lack of marketability discounts to transferred interests in closely-held family entities such as limited partnerships or limited liability companies are to be ignored for the purpose of valuation, if those interests are …

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Divorce business valuations: double dip, reasonable compensation conundrums

Family Law Court magistrates often face two dilemmas regarding what monthly spousal maintenance payments should be when a business is owned by the divorcing couple and is an asset to be distributed in the property settlement part of the divorce. For purposes of discussion, let us assume that the spouse who runs the couple’s business …

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Did You Just Try to Scam a Forensic Accountant?

As a forensic accountant, I know that telephone scams are becoming increasingly more common. However, I was surprised when I actually received a phone call recently with an automated message stating that I needed to call back regarding a serious tax liability. Although I knew it was bogus, I called back and spoke to a …

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