Weathering Sandy: Advice, Assistance, Notifications from CPA Societies and Others

Post-Sandy, CPA societies, government offices, and other organizations are providing information and resources to assist those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. We will keep you updated as news comes in.

From the AICPA
The AICPA Examinations Team's office is located in Ewing, New Jersey, and has been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Although the offices were not damaged, extended loss of power and telecommunication affected systems and staff. As a result, the release of CPA Exam scores for results received day 1 - 20 by the AICPA and were scheduled to be released on November 5 had to be delayed.
 
Barring further complications, scores for test results that were received day 1 - 20 by the AICPA will be released by NASBA to state boards of accountancy based upon the target score release dates noted below. Please be advised that some state boards of accountancy require at least one day beyond the published target dates to process and release exam scores.
 
  • Target release date for AUD, FAR, and REG: November 12
  • Target release date for BEC: November 13.
 
We apologize for the inconvenience to candidates and thank you in advance for your patience while the AICPA resumed operations following the effects of Hurricane Sandy. 
 
The AICPA is responsible for the scoring of the CPA Exam and then releases the scores to NASBA for distribution to candidates. For more information on how the CPA Exam is scored, please visit aicpa.org/cpa-exam.
 
 
From the IRS
The IRS, in response to shortages of clear diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Sandy, will not impose a tax penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway.
 
This relief applies beginning October 30, 2012, in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and will remain in effect through November 20, 2012.
 
This penalty relief is available to any person who sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use. In the case of the operator of the vehicle in which the dyed fuel is used, the relief is available only if the operator or the person selling the fuel pays the tax of 24.4 cents per gallon that is normally applied to diesel fuel for on-road use. The IRS will not impose penalties for failure to make semimonthly deposits of this tax. IRS Publication 510, Excise Taxes, has information on the proper method for reporting and paying the tax.
 
Ordinarily, dyed diesel fuel is not taxed, because it is sold for uses exempt from excise tax, such as to farmers for farming purposes, for home heating use, and to local governments for buses.
 
Finally, the IRS will not impose the tax penalty on a failure to meet the requirements of EPA highway diesel fuel sulfur content regulations if EPA has waived those requirements.
 
The IRS is closely monitoring the situation and will provide additional relief as needed. 
 
Marcum LLP is providing tax updates for storm-affected areas. For up-to-date information, visit Marcum's Hurricane Relief webpage. The national accounting and advisory firm will continue to post updates state by state.
 
The VSCPA is here to help you recover with free Disaster Recovery Resources, part of its Financial Fitness initiative to improve the financial health of Virginians. These resources are intended to help you deal with the financial and tax implications of the storm.
 
Among the resources listed is the VSCPA's Ask a CPA E-mail Program, which enlists experienced, licensed certified public accountants (CPAs) to provide free answers to financial questions. Ask questions on any disaster preparedness or recovery topic and receive an answer within three business days.
 
The VSCPA also offers the following tips on dealing with disasters: 
  • Organize your financial records. With or without power, now is a good time to organize your financial and family records. This can save you time, money, and trouble. Grab a flashlight and sort through the paperwork you've been collecting and move important permanent records, such as birth certificates, wills, property deeds, and trust agreements, to a secure fireproof location. Other records can be organized in a file cabinet or using whatever system works for you. 
  • Calculate your net worth. Look at your total financial picture to determine exactly where you stand. This will help you budget if you must pay to repair damages caused by the storm. 
  • Build an emergency fund. If you escaped Mother Nature's wrath this time, that doesn't mean you'll be so lucky if another storm blows through. If you sustained damage over the past week, make sure you're protected as the storm season goes on. Most CPAs agree that it's a good idea to create an emergency fund equal to roughly six- to nine-months' worth of living expenses. The right amount for you depends on your financial circumstances. It will take time and a few sacrifices to set aside that amount of money, but it's worth the peace of mind it provides in an emergency. Using an automatic savings plan to direct money to your emergency fund is a relatively painless way to save. Be sure to keep your emergency funds in an easily accessible account, such as a savings or money market account. While the interest rate may be low, bear in mind that liquidity is the goal for your emergency fund.
  • Be adequately insured. One of the best defenses against financial difficulties is a well-formulated plan for insuring yourself and your possessions. You should review your homeowner's insurance at the start of each year to determine whether or not your policy amounts are keeping pace with the increased value of your home. Also, review your car, life, and medical insurance policies regularly to ensure sufficient coverage.
 
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While work matters are secondary to more important things like family and friends, we want you to know that the NJSCPA is striving to get our programs and services up and running. Here is the latest information:
  • Power is out at the NJSCPA office in Roseland. Our e-mail and website are down and the office itself is inaccessible. The NJSCPA website URL is automatically redirecting people to http://connect.njscpa.org/Home/ (a temporary page on the Ohio Society of CPAs'website).
  • We are evaluating whether to cancel CPE programming the remainder of the week. Please check back periodically for more information.
  • Once available, we will updates on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Please share those updates with your friends and followers

It's unclear at this time how long it will take to get our lives back to "normal." We will do our best to keep you informed about professional news and the status of CPE programs as things progress. 

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Residents across Ohio impacted by damaging winds and severe weather caused by Hurricane Sandy could be eligible for emergency assistance in the form of reduced interest rates on loans under Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel's Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio programs. Small businesses and homeowners who apply for bank loans for construction, restoration, or cash flow for damage and hardship resulting from severe weather may be eligible to receive interest rate reductions through the Treasurer's office. 
 
"In the wake of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has caused . . . Ohioans are on watch for flooding, high winds, and severe weather. Any Ohio homeowners and small businesses affected by the storm may be eligible for various state and federal programs, including the Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio-linked deposit programs, which can help lower interest rates on loans," said Treasurer Mandel. "These programs can be used by businesses, farmers, or homeowners who are victims of flooding, wind damage, power outages, or other forms of severe weather." 
 
Treasurer Mandel has made $25 million available through the Ohio Treasury's Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio emergency financing programs.
 
Businesses and farmers can apply to obtain up to a three percent interest rate reduction on new loans for construction or to improve cash flow. The interest rate reduction may be applied on up to $400,000 of the loan for up to four years.
 
Rebuild Ohio will assist homeowners with an interest rate reduction on loans to finance the restoration of their homes. Homeowners who have suffered severe damage or loss as a result of severe weather will be eligible for a three percent interest rate reduction on up to $400,000 of the loan for a five- or seven-year period.
 
The Renew Ohio and Rebuild Ohio programs are able to be used in addition to other state and federal disaster assistance programs that might be available to victims. For information on how to apply for the Renew Ohio or Rebuild Ohio programs, please contact the Ohio Treasury's Department of Economic Development by calling (614) 466-6546 or (800) 228-1102, option 3; or visit the Renew & Rebuild Ohio webpage.
 
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From CCH
CCH has in place a disaster recovery policy and plan for customers whose businesses and practices have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  
 
For CCH research customers
  • Affected customers will receive free replacement of print products, which are currently produced in print. Products that cannot be replaced because they are out of print or no longer available in the original format will be replaced with a like product. Some exceptions may apply; please contact CCH with questions.
  • Upon customer request, CCH will temporarily change their mailing addresses to another address or location not impacted by the storm. 
  • CCH will provide free online access to CCH IntelliConnect®, the powerful research platform for the tax and accounting industry, until customers are able to accept replacement of their print products. 
  • All IntelliConnect product IDs and passwords will remain active so customers may continue to access and use web and online subscription products from remote locations. 
  • Impacted customers will receive automatic renewal of product subscriptions that end before customers are able to resume their business or practice, so service is uninterrupted and products stay current and complete.
 
Research customers needing disaster recovery help can contact CCH at (800) 248-3248 or open an online support ticket
 
For CCH software and product customers
  • ProSystem fx replacement software, at no charge.
  • A temporary license at no cost to access Global fx, the online version of ProSystem fx® Tax, hosted on CCH servers.
  • Optional service center printing of tax returns for the remainder of the year, at no charge.
  • A temporary hold on mailing of all product updates, newsletters, to our customers located in the affected areas.
  • Automatic renewal of licensing agreements that end before customers are able to resume their business or practice, allowing service to remain uninterrupted and products to stay current and complete. 
  • Waiver of late fees and any overdue notices.
 
For these services, affected customers should contact CCH Account Services at (800) 739-9998 option 1, and then press option 2. Customers may also open an online support ticket. For all other inquiries, general CCH customer support is also available at (800) 344-3734.
 

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