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Private Universities to Receive Tax Relief

Private colleges and universities subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s 1.4% excise tax on their net investment income may get a break from the Internal Revenue Service. Through the issuance of Notice 2018-55, the IRS has announced its intention to issue proposed regulations providing a stepped-up basis rule to potentially lower the amount of capital gain subject to the new tax. Specifically, the notice states that the basis of property held on December 31, 2017, later sold at a gain will not be less than the property’s fair market value on that date, plus or minus any adjustments. Read More.

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Questionnaire Issued for Actuarial Section of OPEB Plan Reports

A six-page questionnaire to complete with comprehensive annual financial reports (“CAFRs”) for other post-employment benefits (“OPEB”) plans was recently issued by the Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”). Questions for the Actuarial Section of an OPEB Plan’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report replaces the actuarial section of the GFOA checklist, Postemployment benefit systems and investment pools. The GFOA advises that the new questionnaire is exclusive to the actuarial section of the CAFRs for OPEBs that have applied Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 74, Financial Reporting for Postemployment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans. An update for the entire checklist is expected soon. The questionnaire is available on the GFOA website.

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NAICU Partially Supports Federal Student-Level Database

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (“NAICU”) is considering changing its stance regarding the federal government’s efforts to collect data on college student outcomes. NAICU president David Warren said the private college group is open to supporting the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, a bill that would make colleges increase student data disclosures to the government. Warren noted, however, that the NAICU still opposes a student-level database that some public college advocates prefer. Despite the NAICU’s partial support, proponents of a student-level data system believe Warren’s remarks are a positive step toward creating more extensive. Read More.

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Implementation Guide Issued for Recent GASB Statements

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) has released Implementation Guide No. 2018-1, Implementation Guidance Update–2018 , to help state and local governments apply the latest GASB Statements on pensions, other postemployment benefits, the statistical section, regulatory reporting, and tax abatement disclosures. Effective for reporting periods starting after June 15, 2018, Implementation Guide 2018-1 also features amendments to previously issued implementation guidance regarding important topics. Implementation Guide 2018-1 is available on the GASB website.

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EQUIP Program Loses Support

Almost half the participants of a program aimed to provide nontraditional providers access to federal financial aid have pulled their support. Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (“EQUIP”) sought to help nontraditional providers achieve high-quality standards and positive student outcomes, but the program is taking longer than expected to launch. As a result, three of initial eight pilot programs are no longer part of EQUIP. It is uncertain why EQUIP is taking so long to develop, but one study suggested that many participants were unsure about how the program’s success would be measured. More on the EQUIP program is available on InsideHigherEd.com.

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Data Collection Form Revisions Proposed

In a Federal Register notice issued on April 3, the Federal Audit Clearinghouse (“FAC”) is proposing amendments to the Data Collection Form (“DCF”). Titled Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Data Collection Form for Reporting on Audits of States, Local Governments, Indian Tribes, Institutions of Higher Education, and Non-Profit Organizations , the notice outlines four significant changes to the Data Collection. The final Form changes would be effective for fiscal periods ending in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Those proposed changes include: Expanding the audit finding information that auditors include in the DCF to contain the audit finding’s actual text; Asking auditors to state whether they sent a written communication to the auditee concerning any non-audit finding issues should be directed to those responsible for governance matters;. Read More.

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