CalCPA is looking for women who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession or who demonstrate characteristics that enable them to become leaders in the profession.

Our Women to Watch awards will be given in two categories: Experienced Leaders and Emerging Leaders. Winners will be selected by members of the Women’s Leadership Forum Planning Committee and announced at our Women’s Leadership Forum April 28.

Nomination information and applications are available online. Nomination forms are due Feb. 17.

CAMICO Tip of the Month: Don’t Treat Employees Like Family

While it’s normal to develop a bond with people you spend the majority of your waking day with, if that bond in the office between management and employees is akin to family, the firm can be at risk. The risk to the firm presents itself when partners let their guard down and the level of professionalism drops. Partners and managers sharing personal experiences and feelings, using inappropriate language and speaking about other employees can create an atmosphere of dysfunction. Often times there is a perception of favoritism, which can result in a negative impact on employee morale.

Office celebrations that include drinking can exacerbate the problem and result in poor decisions, inappropriate behavior and unprofessional actions that cannot be undone. It’s imperative that firm management set the example for the firm personnel. Whether work-related events are held onsite or offsite, communicate to employees that professional and sound judgment needs to be demonstrated during and after the celebration, and that employees are expected to hold themselves to the same standards used in the workplace. This expectation of “sound judgment” also should be extended to informal “after hours” gatherings that may occur. Friendly is fine; family is not.

For more information and guidance about CPA firm insurance issues, visit CAMICO online

CalCPA Council Approves Dues Increase

At our most recent CalCPA Council and Business Meeting on Jan. 30, our members passed a membership dues increase that went into effect Feb. 1, 2017. The updated member dues are:

  • Executive: $510 (+$11)
  • Prof +5: $410 (+$11)
  • Prof <5: $340 (+$11)
  • Associate: $510 (+$11)
  • Financial Professional: $200 (+$1)

Check out our new membership brochure to read what some of our members have to say about their favorite benefits of belonging to CalCPA.

Updated Guidance on Form AP

The PCAOB issued updated staff guidance for firms filing the new Form AP. Staff guidance on Form AP, Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants and Related Voluntary Audit Report Disclosure Under AS 3101, Reports on Audited Financial Statements, was recently updated with a few technical clarifications. The most significant change is the addition of an explanation of the filing deadline for issuers that do not file reports with the SEC.

This staff guidance replaces the June 28, 2016, version and should be used by firms going forward.

Under rules adopted by the PCAOB, registered audit firms are required to submit Form AP to disclose the names of engagement partners and other accounting firms that participated in audits of public companies.

Learn more.

Your Clients May Need to Renew Their ITINs

IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) to individuals who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a valid U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) but who are required by law to file a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The IRS announced last year that certain ITINs would expire Dec. 31, 2016:

All ITINs with middle digits 78 or 79 (9NN-78-NNNN and 9NN-79-NNNN).

All ITINs not used to file a U.S. tax return at least once for 2013, 2014 or 2015.

Timely renewal of ITINs will help avoid processing delays when filing; however, only taxpayers included on a tax return in 2017 need to renew their ITIN. Additionally, if a taxpayer is now eligible to obtain a SSN, they do not need to renew their ITIN and would use their SSN for 2017 filing purposes.

What do you do if your client cannot locate their ITIN and you do not have a copy of a prior year’s return for reference? To retrieve a lost ITIN, have your client call the IRS ITIN Hotline at (800) 908-9982. The IRS will ask them a series of questions to verify their identity before providing the number.

The IRS has an extensive list of ITIN Expiration FAQs including how taxpayers should notify IRS when an SSN has been assigned so that tax records may be combined.

IRS Issues Urgent Alert

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice.

Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

In the latest twist, the cybercriminal follows up with an “executive” email to the payroll or comptroller and asks that a wire transfer also be made to a certain account. Although not tax related, the wire transfer scam is being coupled with the W-2 scam email, and some companies have lost both employees’ W-2s and thousands of dollars due to wire transfers.