Yogurt entrepreneur tastes success

Entrepreneur of the Century

A Turkish immigrant who five years ago started making Greek-style yogurt in an aging plant in Chenango County on Wednesday was named the nations top entrepreneur by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Chobani Inc. founder Hamdi Ulukaya used a small business loan in 2005 to buy the former Kraft Food plant in the town of Columbus, where he and about 50 employees later began making a specialty yogurt that was sold in just a single Long Island grocery store.

via Upstate yogurt entrepreneur tastes success – chicagotribune.com.

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Germany taxes Swiss bank accounts

Banknotes of the Swiss franc

Germany and Switzerland signed an amendment to their deal on taxing secret offshore accounts on Thursday, toughening terms for tax dodgers after the main German opposition party blocked the original accord, saying it was too lenient.

The amendment makes it more likely the deal will get the backing from opposition-ruled states and be approved by the German parliament, ending years of tortuous negotiations and netting the country billions of euros.

The German finance ministry said Germany and Switzerland had agreed to raise the retroactive levy on German funds stashed away in Swiss bank accounts to a rate between 21 and 41 percent, from a previously agreed range of 19 to 34 percent.

They also agreed a one-off tax of 50 percent for those who inherit Swiss bank accounts and do not want to declare them, the finance ministry said.

Under the revised deal, German officials will be allowed to put in up to 1300 requests with their Swiss counterparts to investigate cases of fiscal evasion, versus a previously agreed 999.

Germans will have to alert the Swiss authorities when they move their money out of Swiss bank accounts from Jan. 1 2013, versus a previously agreed May 31, in order to prevent an exodus into other offshore accounts.

via Germany, Switzerland revise deal terms – International | IOL Business | IOL.co.za.

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Impact 2012 budget will have on business owners

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01:  George Osborne...

Although Minister Pravin Gordhan’s 2012 Budget Speech (SA’s first-ever R1 trillion budget speech) received mixed reactions from the public. He repeatedly made a point that in order for the country to effectively address inequality and poverty, a partnership between government and the private sector was critical. He also revealed a number of tax-related changes that will impact and affect small business owners.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, Marketing Head for Sanlam Business Market, the key change of the budget speech is the implementation of dividend withholding tax on 1 April 2012. This will bring an end to secondary tax on companies, and entails that dividend withholding tax at 15% will be paid on any dividend paid out to the shareholders of the company. The Minister further announced that businesses with a revenue of less than R1 million are likely to be given the option of making payment for turnover tax, VAT and employees’ tax at twice-yearly intervals from 1 March 2012. Businesses that make less than R1 million would be able to file a single combined tax return on a twice-yearly basis. This means that the number of returns required for these taxes will fall from about 18 per year to only two per year.

“The tax exclusion amount on the disposal of small business when a person is over the age of 55, will go up from R900 000 to R1 800 000. The market value of assets allowed for small business disposal for business owners over the age of 55 will increase from R5 000 000 to R10 000 000,” says Engelbrecht.

Some of the key aspects of the National Budget in relation to individuals

Karin Muller, Head of Sanlam Growth Market Solutions, shares some insights:

• Minister Gordhan mentioned personal income tax relief of R9,5 billion. The majority of this will go to lower income earners.

• The most talked about items on the budget speech (on social networks) are the so-called “sin taxes”: tobacco products will increase between 5-8%. A 750ml bottle of spirits will cost you R6 more (a 20% increase) and a 340ml can of beer will cost 9c more (a 10% increase).

• More capital will be spent on nursing institutions and the rebuilding of five tertiary training hospitals.

• Currently there are not enough incentives to make the public save and Minister Gordhan proposed a new saving mechanism to help. This is still a proposal and a discussion document will be published in May 2012. The mechanism will enable you to save without paying tax on the returns you earn, which will surely enable many South Africans to make their savings work harder.

• If you’re under the age of 45, you can deduct up to 22,5% of your income if you contribute towards your retirement, irrespective of whether you are saving in a pension or provident fund (and irrespective of whether you or your employer makes the contribution). These deductions will, however, be limited to a maximum annual deduction of R250 000 for people younger than 45 years and R300 000 for people older than 45 years.

via The impact the 2012 budget will have on business owners – Men’s Lifestyle, Sports, Health, Fashion Tips & Business Network | Destiny Man.

The rich come clean

Punch cartoon (1907); illustrates the unpopula...

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Revenue Service Sars has uncovered thousands of unregistered high-net worth individuals HNWIs following a year-long investigation and has developed a DNA of these individuals that will allow it to discover thousands more.Its countrywide investigation has uncovered 9 300 HNWIs those earning a gross income of more than R7m per year or who have assets in excess of R75m who could be costing Sars R48bn in revenue, see chart. In a press statement released in April, Sars only had about 360 individuals in this income category registered.

via Moneywebtax – Sars uncovers 1000s of missing rich tax cheats – Income tax

If you are rich and under-declaring, come to Fixed Accounting where we legally help you to pay less tax.

Economy of Czechoslovakia

James Albert Bonsack's cigarette rolling machi...

After WWII, the economy was centrally planned, with command links controlled by the communist party, similarly to the Soviet Union. The large metallurgical industry was dependent on imports of iron and non-ferrous ores.

Industry: Extractive industry and manufacturing dominated the sector, including machinery, chemicals, food processing, metallurgy, and textiles. The sector was wasteful in its use of energy, materials, and labor and was slow to upgrade technology, but the country was a major supplier of high-quality machinery, instruments, electronics, aircraft, airplane engines and arms to other communist countries.

Agriculture: Agriculture was a minor sector, but collectivized farms of large acreage and relatively efficient mode of production enabled the country to be relatively self-sufficient in food supply. The country depended on imports of grains (mainly for livestock feed) in years of adverse weather. Meat production was constrained by shortage of feed, but the country still recorded high per capita consumption of meat.

Foreign trade: Exports were estimated at US$17.8 billion in 1985. Exports were machinery (55%), fuel and materials (14%), and manufactured consumer goods (16%). Imports stood at estimated US$17.9 billion in 1985, including fuel and materials (41%), machinery (33%), and agricultural and forestry products (12%). In 1986, about 80% of foreign trade was with other communist countries.

via Czechoslovakia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

USA and Hong Kong Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement for Accounting

Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accoun...

NEW YORK and NASHVILLE, Oct. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. International Qualifications Appraisal Board (U.S. IQAB) and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants have entered into a five-year Mutual Recognition Agreement that establishes the basis for reciprocity between the U.S. and Hong Kong accounting professions.

“The agreement we’ve signed today with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants will make great strides in advancing the reciprocity of CPAs in the U.S. and in Hong Kong,” said William Treacy, chair of the U.S. IQAB.  “IQAB has thoroughly evaluated the educational, examination and experience requirements of CPAs in Hong Kong and is confident they are substantially equivalent to those of the U.S. CPA.”

The agreement was signed at NASBA’s 104th Annual Meeting in Nashville.

“Our agreement with the Hong Kong Institute validates our purposeful and determined quest to be truly global in mutual recognition of high quality accounting credentials.  We look forward to our association with the Hong Kong Institute and to more effectively facilitating the professional practice of accountancy on behalf of the public interest of both the United States and Hong Kong,” said David Costello, NASBA President & CEO.

The U.S. IQAB is a joint body of the American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

“This new agreement will allow qualified accountants in the U.S. and Hong Kong to work across borders,” said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and CEO.  “Globalization is rapidly changing the way business is done across the globe and CPAs will continue to play a vital role in the financial systems in the U.S. and abroad.”

via U.S. and Hong Kong Sign Mutual Recognition Agreement for Accounting

SA to host 2012 business congress

Image from the Central Business district of Jo...

Small business in South Africa will get a boost next year when the country hosts one of the biggest international business congresses in Johannesburg.

Representatives from the US, Europe and the rest of the world will gather at the Sandton Convention Centre between 15 and 18 September 2012 for what will be Africa‘s first International Small Business Congress (ISBC).

The congress, which is hosted in partnership with The City of Johannesburg, Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services, Khula Enterprises and Finance and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, will showcase activities surrounding small business development in South Africa and around the world.

According to 2012 congress director Septi Bukula, the focus of the conference is to expose small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to business opportunities in South Africa and in different parts of the world.

via SA to host 2012 business congress – MediaClubSouthAfrica.com

Ask Fixed Accounting to change your banking details online

Tax rates around the world: Individual income ...

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Banking detail changes will be verified before profiles can be updated.

SA Revenue Services (Sars) has implemented new fraud prevention procedures and processes regarding the way in which taxpayersbanking detail changes will be implemented.

From now on, any changes to banking details will be verified before an individual or company banking profile can be updated and if any refunds are due, these will only be processed after the receipt and verification of the new banking details.

The new procedures will improve security and reduce fraud. Banking details can be changed in person at any Sars branch or the change can be made when an individual Income Tax return is submitted. Supporting documents must be provided.

As part of the general Sars encouragement of electronic submissions, banking details can also be changed via the Sars eFiling system when submitting an ITR12 Individual Income Tax return, but Sars may still ask the taxpayer to go to a branch to verify the change.

via Moneywebtax – Sars`s stringent new fraud measures – Income tax

Accounting can be door to professional class

Ernst and Young HQ in Munich, Germany

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WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – When Gemma Urquiza interviewed for her job at True Partners, a Chicago tax and consulting firm, she remembers talking about her university honors, her ambitions and her dad’s restaurant.

Urquiza, 25, is the eldest of four children of Mexican immigrants and, like many first-generation Americans, she’s found accounting to be a perfect fit.

Her employer likes her work ethic and multicultural upbringing, as well as her technical mastery and spreadsheet savvy. She likes the variety of the job and its stability.

Accounting has long provided a path for first-generation Americans into the professional classes. Good pay and a focus on numbers makes it an attractive career choice.

Still, recruiting the children of immigrants is complex, say some Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Parents’ opinions are influential and they often don’t know the field, a problem that alternatives like medicine or the law don’t face.

Once on the job, first-generation CPAs can face new challenges like decoding the relationship-driven, sometimes self-promotional American business culture.

As accounting firms rev up recruiting efforts on college campuses this fall, there is rising demand for multicultural candidates like Urquiza to match an increasingly global focus.

“It’s important to have talented accountants that reflect the demographic of a global economy.” Ken Bouyer, Ernst & Young Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting, told Reuters.

Specific figures on first-generation CPAs are hard to come by, but the biggest firms are spending millions of dollars on a diversification push that’s trying to reach minorities in college, high school and even as early as grammar school.

At a time when it is tough for many new graduates to find work, the Big Four accounting firms — PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & YoungKPMG– report they expect to hire more than 30,000 graduates this year.

via Accounting can be door to U.S. professional class | Reuters

US to adopt international accounting rules

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commi...

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Oct 5 (Reuters) – The United States would still play a pivotal role in shaping global accounting rules if it switches to standards set by the international accounting body based in London, a top rule-maker said on Wednesday.

Hans Hoogervorst, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), sought in his first U.S. speech to reassure America that giving up sovereignty in accounting rulemaking would not mean a loss of influence for the world’s biggest capital market.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is due to announce by year end whether it will make the switch.

World leaders including President Barack Obama have committed themselves to a single set of global accounting rules to improve corporate reporting transparency.

But some in Congress and smaller American firms are leery about a loss of independence in standard setting and the extra costs of switching to global rules.

Hoogervorst said U.S. sovereignty would be protected by the SEC having a final say before any IASB rule is introduced.

“Such endorsement mechanisms provide an important ‘circuit breaker’ if the IASB produced a standard with fundamental problems for the United States,” Hoogervorst told an accounting conference.

The SEC would remain in full control of enforcement.

“So there is absolutely no danger of importing different enforcement standards from abroad into the United States,” the former Dutch finance minister added.

Big companies such as Archer-Daniel-Midland Co , Bank of New York Mellon Corp , Kellogg Co , Chrysler, United Continental Holdings Inc and Ford Motor Co have called for U.S. adoption of IASB rules, he added.

Hoogervorst said it would be reasonable that a relatively long transition to full adoption is provided, along with an option of early adoption for companies that want to. (Writing by Huw Jones; Editing by David Holmes)

via Global accounting rule setter courts U.S. support | Reuters.