www.lexisnexis.ca Vol. 30, No. 15 Mid-November 2014
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Board wants hard look at tax drag on economy

Canadaís current system of taxation and targeted fiscal expenditures represents a web of complex, often competing policies that need to be re-evaluated and reformed, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

"Over the years, many new policy initiatives have been introduced to the system, making it overly complex and inefficient. This inefficiency imposes a cost on our economy. Going forward, we can no longer afford to ignore this cost," warned the not-for-profit research organization in its recently released report, The Need for Tax Reform: Perspective of Business Leaders.

Glen Hodgson, the boardís Ottawa-based senior vice-president and chief economist and co-author of the report, told The Bottom Line the current system is expensive to administer for the government and, more importantly, for taxpayers.

Gender lawsuit against KPMG moving ahead

 

Approximately 9,000 current and former female employees of KPMG in the U.S. received notices in early October that they were eligible to join a class-action lawsuit against the firm claiming they were paid less than their male counterparts.

The lawsuit concerns KPMG in the United States only, not the Canadian firm.

Washington-based law firm Sanford Heisler, which is acting for the plaintiffs in the class action Kassman, et al. v. KPMG, mailed the notice after a long battle for approval in court. U.S. Southern District of New York Judge Jesse Furman in February 2013 ruled that the class action could proceed, and after reviewing voluminous briefings from the two sides, District Judge Lorna G. Schofield of the same court granted conditional collective action certification and leave to send out the notices in July. Women wishing to join the class action need to return a consent form by Jan. 31.

In the class action, initially filed in 2011, former KPMG senior manager Donna Kassman claimed she was repeatedly denied promotion after returning from maternity leave.

Trio of surveys highlight data breach risks

While three recent surveys underline the awareness of the importance of cyber-security among corporations, their boards and their customers and clients, few are doing enough to safeguard themselves from the threat despite instances of massive intrusions into corporate databases and catastrophic losses.

According to a PwC survey, the number of detected security incidents has risen globally 66 per cent year-over-year since 2009 and is costing businesses an average of U.S. $2.7 million annually. Meanwhile, security budgets actually decreased overall since last year.

The world is still not ready to deal with this problem, says Willie Wong, market manager, security and mobility, at IBM Canada.

Narrowing the idea of naming audit names

The U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is set to re-propose, albeit in a different way, the controversial public disclosure of an audit engagement partnerís name. Last yearís suggestion that it be disclosed in the audit report didnít go down well with the accounting profession on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, although investors championed it.

If adopted, the new rule would pose some challenges for Canadian auditors. An updated agenda released Oct. 1 said the PCAOB is drafting a request for comment proposing an alternative location for the disclosure. According to PCAOB spokeswoman Colleen Brennan, that would represent a compromise on the timing of the naming of the engagement partner.

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