FINRA Proposes Auto Data-Collecting Rule
Dec. 23 — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Dec. 23 issued a Regulatory Notice soliciting comment on its proposed Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System.
Swiss Banks Under Pressure as Deadline Nears for DOJ Program to Find U.S. Accounts
Dec. 20 –The pressure on Swiss banks to turn over information on their U.S. clients to the Department of Justice is increasing as a Dec. 31 deadline nears for a program that lets the banks pay penalties and avoid prosecution, with many expected to participate, tax attorneys said.
IBT Members Ratify Four-Year Contract With Sikorsky Aircraft for 4,500 Employees
Dec. 20 — Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Dec. 15 overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. that provides wage increases of 10 percent over term, a $4,000 ratification bonus and up to 20 percent more in employer pension contributions, a union official told BNA Dec. 20.
Ruling on Detroit Pensions Seen as Incentive To Other Cities to Fix Funding Issues
Dec. 12 –Judge Steven Rhodes’ ruling that Detroit pensions are contractual obligations subject to modification in bankruptcy, notwithstanding a Michigan constitutional provision protecting them, may spur other municipalities with pension funding problems to resolve them sooner rather than later, attorneys watching the case said.
Competing House Bills Would Revise Television Retransmission Consent Rules
Dec. 18 –Some in Congress are clamoring to modernize the decades-old rules that govern the nation’s rapidly changing video marketplace, targeting the broadcast retransmission consent regime in particular.
House lawmakers introduced competing bills Dec. 12 that seek to revise program carriage rules.
SIFMA Says FATCA Questions Remain As July 1 Deadline for Reporting Approaches
Dec. 18 — Financial institutions still need a host of guidance on how to begin reporting on U.S.-owned accounts under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association told the government.
In a letter to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, SIFMA said that as the July 1, 2014, deadline for reporting and withholding approaches, big questions remain on the responsibilities of banks and uncertainties surround regulations and forms.
‘Accidental’ Tax Break Saves Wealthiest Americans $100 Billion
Dec. 17 — Sheldon Adelson makes no secret of his disdain for the estate tax.
“How many times do you have to pay taxes on money?” the casino magnate asks, leaning on a blue cane on the cobblestones of Wall Street on a crisp October morning.
Rate Court Grants Leave to Intervene to Music Publishers in Pandora Proceeding
Dec. 17 –Music publishers have sufficient interest in the outcome of a licensing proceeding between the owners of the Pandora online music service and the country’s largest performing rights organization such that they should be allowed to intervene to defend their position, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Dec. 13 (United States v. Am. Soc’y of Composers, Authors & Publishers, 2013 BL 345729, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:41-cv-01395-DLC-MHD, 12/13/13).
Deaths of Two Workers Killed in Explosion At Chemical Plant Leads to $99,000 Fine
Dec. 16 –A Louisiana chemical plant faces $99,000 in proposed penalties for violating process safety management standards after an explosion that killed two workers in June, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Dec. 11.
Madoff Trustee’s Bid to Pursue Assigned Claims Limited by SLUSA
Dec. 9 — Irving Picard, the Securities Investor Protection Act trustee for bankrupt Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, has standing to bring common law claims assigned to him by Madoff feeder-fund investors, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Sec. Investor Prot. Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Inv. Sec. LLC, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:12-cv-03489-JSR, 12/6/13).
Canada Launches Consultation to Improve Corporate Transparency, Detect Tax Evaders
Dec. 13 –Canada’s Department of Commerce launched a public consultation on an overhaul of Canada’s corporate governance legislation that would help detect tax evasion.
The consultation on the Canada Business Corporations Act is intended to enhance the ability of tax authorities to access information on corporate ownership, as well as improve efforts to combat bribery and corruption, Industry Minister James Moore said Dec. 11.
AT&T, Verizon to Exclude Resolutions On Data Sharing; Shareholders Fighting Back
Dec. 13 –AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) recently indicated that they intend to omit from their proxy materials shareholder proposals calling on the companies to disclose how often they shared customer information with the U.S. and other governments.
Debt Owed to Ex-Husband for Overpayment Of Spousal Support Is Nondischargeable
Dec. 13 –A $50,660 debt that a Chapter 7 debtor wife owed to her ex-husband for overpayment of spousal support is nondischargeable under Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(15) because the wife incurred the debt “in connection with a separation agreement,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held Dec. 9 (Taylor v. Taylor (In re Taylor), 2013 BL 339882, 10th Cir., No. 12-2163, 12/9/13).
Implementing, Avoiding ACA Can Expose Employers to Litigation, Speaker Says
Dec. 12 –Employers that are either implementing or trying to avoid being covered by the Affordable Care Act could expose themselves to new litigation claims under the ACA and other federal and state laws, James Napoli of Proskauer Rose LLP said.
Speaking in a Dec. 11 webcast sponsored by the Worldwide Employee Benefits Network, Napoli reviewed new potential ACA litigation risks, including claims under the ACA itself, benefit and/or breach of fiduciary duty claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, claims under federal labor and employment laws and claims under state laws.
Former Google IP Counsel Michelle Lee To Head PTO as Director Search Continues
Dec. 11 — Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker appointed Michelle K. Lee, former deputy general counsel at Google Inc., as deputy director of the Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 11.
Because the office is operating without a director right now, Lee will perform the director’s duties while the search continues for a permanent head for the agency. A press release indicated that Lee will assume the role–but not the title–of acting director effective Jan. 13.
Companies Often Not Providing Sufficient Detail on Tax Exposures, SEC Staff Says
Dec. 11 –Many companies aren’t clearly disclosing in their financial statements their tax exposures, including the reconciliation of their statutory tax rates with their effective tax rates, Securities and Exchange Commission accounting staff said.
Too often, preparers fail to provide “clear labeling of items within the reconciliation or have unclear disclosure of the underlying nature of the material reconciling items,” SEC Corporation Finance Associate Chief Accountant Tricia Armelin said Dec. 10 at the American Institute of CPAs National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments. She and other Corp Fin accounting staff said the views they expressed were only their own.
Groups Urge IRS Not to Retroactively Apply ‘Windsor’ Decision to Retirement Plans
Dec. 10 — Expected guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on the application of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor to retirement plans should be prospective in order to avoid compliance issues and administrative burdens, retirement and financial groups said in a letter to Treasury Department officials.
Keyword Advertising Protected From State Law Claims by Immunity Provision of CDA
Dec. 10 –Claims under California state law of trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices and trademark dilution targeting Yahoo’s keyword advertising program were barred by an immunity provision of the Communications Decency Act, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled Dec. 4 (Parts.com, LLC v. Yahoo! Inc., 2013 BL 339124, S.D. Cal., No. 3:13-cv-01078-JLS-WMC, 12/4/13).
Manufacturers Expect Revenue To Grow 4.4 Percent in 2014, ISM Says
Dec. 10 –Manufacturers are moderately upbeat about their business prospects for 2014, with 69 percent expecting their revenues will be greater next year than in 2013, the Institute for Supply Management said Dec. 10.
Purchasing and supply executives surveyed by the ISM expect a 4.4 percent net increase in overall revenues next year, compared to a 4.6 percent increase for this year over last. Sixteen industries look for revenues to rise next year.
Lawsuit Threatened Over New York’s Fracking Approval Delay, Impact Statement
Dec. 5 –The trustee for a bankrupt energy company is preparing to sue New York state to compel it to issue a long-awaited environmental impact statement on the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking.
Attorneys for the trustee for Norse Energy Corp. USA sent a letter to the environmental conservation commissioner Dec. 2, asking him to respond within two weeks or face a lawsuit to compel finalization of the statement.