IRS softens the process for business extensions

Filed under: Banking & Finance |

If you are one of the many business owners who will need to file an extension this year, you’ll be glad to know the Internal Revenue Service has tried to make the process a little easier.

In a move the IRS says is intended to simplify the extension process, officials have designed a single-standard extension request form, eliminating the need for business owners to have to choose from four different forms.

All business taxpayers who previously filed extension forms 8800, 8736, 7004 and 2758 will only need to file the revised Form 7004, which has an extended title as well: “Application for Automatic 6-Month Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information and Other Returns.”

The revised Form 7004 grants taxpayers an automatic six-month extension without the need to file intervening forms.

Because the extension period is calculated from the due date of the return, business taxpayers must file Form 7004 by the due date of the return in order to receive the extension for 2005.

New regulations make this option available to most non-corporate business taxpayers, including partnerships and trusts.

Previously, only corporations could request an automatic six-month tax-filing extension. All eligible non-corporate business taxpayers had to choose the correct form and request an initial three-month extension and, if more time was needed, another three-month request was required.

IRS officials noted that filing the new form does not grant an extension to pay – only to file.

Large bank CEOs paid handsomely

News that Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis will receive $11.7 million of restricted stock as part of his compensation for last year is just one of the many high-paid banker stories.

According to the Associated Press, the amount was disclosed in a filing with federal regulators. Lewis’ total pay package, including salary and bonus, won’t be divulged until later this year. His total compensation in 2004 was about $22.5 million, according to the AP.

While news of the stock may have raised eyebrows in the banking world, Lewis’ tenure with BOA has not been without noteworthy success.

He led Bank of America to a record $16.9 billion profit in 2005, the same year the bank acquired credit card company MBNA Corp. and a 9-percent stake in a large Chinese bank, the AP reports.

Bank officials backed the compensation, saying it was always intended to be performance based.

In recent years, other CEOs’ pay packages have received a lot of attention.

The AP reports that in 2004, Citigroup, the nation’s largest financial institution, awarded CEO Charles Prince a $9.7-million bonus on top of his $983,333 base salary. He also received stock valued at $7.8 million. Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill earned $1 million in salary, an $8.4 million bonus and restricted stock valued at $6.8 million.

Wachovia Chairman Ken Thompson received $13.3 million in total compensation in 2004, which included a $1 million salary, a bonus of $7 million and a restricted stock award valued at $5.1 million. He also was granted options to buy Wachovia stock valued at $4.7 million.

Earlier this week, Lewis was awarded 263,697 shares valued at $44.36 each, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares vest after three years. The bank also awarded Lewis 425,000 stock options with a $44.36 exercise price.

Last year, Bank of America awarded Lewis options to buy 500,000 options and restricted stock worth $11.8 million.

Ent donates 43,900 pounds of food

Ent employees and members donated 43,928 pounds of food to Care & Share Food Bank during the organization’s annual Holiday Care Drive.

Ent’s service centers served as drop-off points for non-perishable food items and monetary donations throughout the drive.

Care & Share Food Bank provides food to nearly 400 human service agencies and 25,000 people each week throughout southern Colorado.

U.S. Bank offers zero-origination fee for Staffords

The U.S. Bank Student Banking Division will begin waiving all origination fees charged to Stafford loan borrowers on a nationwide basis starting July 1.

Under the new policy, all new Stafford loans disbursed after that date will receive the zero origination fee benefit. Removing the fee is expected to allow borrowers and their respective schools to access more of their loan funds immediately.

U.S. Bank provides a line of student banking products, including student loans, Internet scholarship programs, campus ID card programs, Internet banking, student checking accounts and the Visa Buxx prepaid spending cards.

American National Bank moving north

American National Bank is making plans to move north into Monument.

The bank took the first firm steps of the plan recently when they opened a loan production office in Monument that will be managed by American National Bank Senior Vice President David Harline.

Bank officials are working on plans to open a full-service branch in Monument but did not say when a branch might open.

Rob Larimer covers banking and finance for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.