CPAs and Advisors with Your Growth in Mind

Supreme Court Tightens Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court narrowed the definition of a whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second, Fifth and Ninth Circuits had different rulings over the interpretation of the whistleblower protections, but the Supreme Court ultimately decided on a narrow definition. The decision stems from the case of Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, which involved the termination of former Digital Realty Trust vice president Paul Somers after he reported possible violations to management. Somers claimed that the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections, which bar companies from retaliating against employees who report misconduct under certain. Read More.

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SBA Releases its Small Business Contracting Scorecard

On May 18, 2017, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) released its annual small business contracting scorecard. This scorecard is a measure of how selected agencies are doing in regard to meeting their small business contracting goals. It should be noted that the scorecard only measures the performance of 24 agencies. Thus, it does not evaluate how all agencies are doing in meeting their small business goals. As described by the SBA, the annual Scorecard is an assessment tool which measures: (1) how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals; and (2) agency-specific progress. Read More.

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Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections Headed to Supreme Court

This October, the U.S. Supreme Court plans to review whistleblower protections under the Dodd-Frank Act. Announced on June 26, the decision to hear the case of Somers v. Digital Realty Trust will resolve who is protected from possible retaliation under the reform law. The case revolves around former Vice President Paul Somers of Digital Realty Trust Inc., who was fired after reporting to management potential securities law violations. Somers sued Digital Realty Trust Inc. for allegedly violating Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower rules, but the dispute centers on where he initially reported the transgression. Digital Realty’s lawyers contended that since Somers’ concerns were. Read More.

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Support for Students with Disabilities in Supreme Court’s Hands

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to detail which services are deemed appropriate for a student’s educational experience. The basis of the inquiry involves parents discovering their autistic son made further progress at a specialized private school. After the parents asked the local public school to offer the same level of services the private school provided their son, the district office declined. As a result, the parents sued the district to cover the private school’s $70,000 tuition. More on the case is available on the Insider Higher Ed website.

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Supreme Court Upholds Ruling on Abby Fisher

After reviewing the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin for a second time, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the university’s consideration of race in its admissions process. Abby Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, sued UT Austin in 2008 after her college application was rejected. Fisher claimed her rights were violated by the university’s consideration of race and ethnicity in admitting students. The court, however, determined that Fisher was denied admission primarily due to the university’s “10 percent plan,” which admits the top ten percent of high school graduates. More on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin is available on Inside Higher Ed.


The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision on Manufacturing and Distribution

After years of lower court decisions unfavorable to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the U.S. Supreme Court (“the Court”) ultimately sided with the IRS regarding severance pay considered as wages. As a result of the Court’s ruling, severance pay is now considered wages and subject to FICA tax. Let’s explore the impact of this decision and tax planning strategies for employers. Background of the Decision Previously, severance pay was not considered as wages. Thus, severance pay was not subject to FICA withholding. Now, due to the United States vs. Quality Stores ruling, both the employee and employer must pay FICA,. Read More.

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