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State and Local


Political and economic climate improving for Streamlined Sales Tax Project

A bill that would implement the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) nationwide may be reintroduced in Congress later this year. Detailed provisions of the bill are still being worked on by interested groups. "Passage of a federal bill is becoming more likely because of political and technological developments," says Daniel Schibley, JD, Senior State Tax Analyst at CCH, who spoke with AccountingWEB. "States have an economic incentive for supporting the bill, and the fact that Democrats are in the majority in Congress improves the chances of passage.

New Jersey is offering tax amnesty program

The New Jersey Division of Taxation has initiated a limited time Tax Amnesty program for individuals and businesses that, due to tough economic times, owe taxes and are now confronted with accumulating interest payments and penalties. From now until June 15, 2009, the Division will waive all penalties and forgive half of the interest owed.Tax Amnesty is available to individuals and businesses that owe unpaid taxes to the Division of Taxation for tax returns due on or after January 1, 2002 and before February 1, 2009.

States turn federal tax credits into cash for would-be homebuyers

How do you turn a tax credit into a cash benefit that will have the power to stimulate the economy and improve lives? That's the task that 10 or more states are taking on, in an effort to make the recently passed federal $8,000 first time homebuyers credit effective. Here's a reminder of what this credit entails and how to claim it: The credit is available to first time homebuyers, defined as an individual who has not owned a home in three year period prior to the purchase.

Don’t get caught in the nexus trap

By Diana DiBelloIn sales and use tax, nexus is one of the most active areas of debate and analysis. Many an unsuspecting company has been caught in the snares of a state's nexus!Nexus requirements vary by state and often catch a seasoned tax professional unaware. Unlike income tax, PL 86-272 does not offer protection from sales tax.

New Jersey governor proclaims April as Financial Literacy Month

The importance of personal financial know-how to Americans can no longer be overlooked. The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) is undertaking a major effort to meet the needs of Garden State residents with information about managing their personal finances more effectively.

CPA mobility legislation update: Outlook for 2009

Four states - Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming - enacted a CPA mobility provision in the 2009 legislative session in February, bringing the total number of states that have passed mobility legislation to 35. Legislatures in eight other states - Alabama, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Vermont, where legislation was pending in 2008, and Kansas and Oklahoma, which have just introduced mobility bills - are currently reviewing mobility laws, the AICPA has told AccountingWEB.

New York governor signs groundbreaking accountancy legislation

New York Governor David A. Paterson has signed legislation that will amend the education law relating to certified public accountants in New York State and enhance public protection for users of CPA services. The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) strongly supported this legislation, which brings regulation of the profession into the 21st century. Most provisions of the law become effective in 180 days.

Illinois CPAs provide free tax services to members of the armed forces

In a show of appreciation to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families for their dedicated service, the Illinois CPA Society is once again partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to offer the Military Service Tax Preparation Project. The program, now in its sixth year, provides free personal income tax return filing assistance to members of the U.S. Armed forces who have recently returned or are still serving in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area. Preparing to file your taxes can be stressful enough under ordinary circumstances.

Young accounting professionals head to Gulf Coast to help hurricane victims

Five young certified public accountants from the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA) traveled to New Orleans, LA to participate in the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants' (NCACPA) and Operation HOPE's week-long Gulf Coast Relief Trip in November, providing financial advice to small business owners and nonprofits affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Gustavo, and Ike. These young professionals realized their ability to aid those devastated by the hurricanes and offered free consultations and seminars.

Budget shortfalls hammering state and local governments, nonprofits

As Congress and the Treasury Department struggle to stem the damage of the economic crisis, state and local governments are in their own world of hurt.Unlike the federal government, state and local governments must balance their budgets every year. Nonprofits, which bolster the needy with programs that supplement government assistance, are feeling the pain too.States are facing deficits of more than $40 billion in fiscal 2009 budgets, which are just weeks or months old.

AGA research study predicts bright future for XBRL use in state and local governments

Using XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) in public sector financial reporting is the subject of a research study, released in September 2008 by the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).This report, XBRL and Public Sector Financial Reporting: Standardized Business Reporting: the Oregon CAFR Project, demonstrates the feasibility of developing and using an XBRL taxonomy to tag data in a state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Texas accountant wins career makeover

Oscar Elizondo, a Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA) candidate member from Amarillo, TX, received a career makeover as the recipient of TSCPA's grand prize giveaway in a recent random drawing. Elizondo is an accountant with Amarillo accounting firm Kile & Co PC. As the grand prize winner, Elizondo won a personal consultation with Certified Protocol Consultant Colleen Rickenbacher and a trip to TSCPA headquarters in Dallas.
Community News

Pennsylvanians will recognize a CPA for outstanding community service efforts

Nominations are being sought for Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (PICPA) 2009 Distinguished Public Service Award. Deadline for nominations is Nov. 21.Since 1981, PICPA annually recognizes a Pennsylvania certified public accountant who is a community service leader, a passionate volunteer, and an advocate for worthwhile causes. This is PICPA's top honor.The winner is chosen by a panel of judges from across the state, and will be honored at the Institute's annual meeting and conference in June.

State tax initiatives receive mixed results on election day

Income tax repeal measures were defeated in last week's election, as Massachusetts voters once again rejected a ballot question to eliminate the state's income tax, six years after the question lost by a slim margin. And in North Dakota, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would reduce their income taxes by 50 percent and create an oil-tax trust fund.

Ohio Accounting Show’s expanded schedule reaches more than 2,000 CPAs

More than 2,000 CPAs and accounting professionals attended The Ohio Society of CPAs expanded Ohio Accounting Show line-up this year. The Accounting Show schedule was expanded to include shows in Cincinnati and Columbus in addition to the long-standing programs in Dayton and Cleveland. The Ohio Accounting Shows deliver outstanding speakers, great member networking events and business growth-oriented exhibitors. The four show schedule will be on the calendar again in 2009.The most recent Show, held in Columbus on Oct.

Income tax repeal, investments in renewable energy on state ballots this year

While tax measures are less prominent on most state ballots this year, Question Number 1 in Massachusetts asks voters to cut the state income tax from 5.3 to 2.65 percent on January 1 and eliminate it entirely by 2010. North Dakota voters are being asked to cut their income tax by 50 percent and the corporate tax by 15 percent, largely because they enjoy a revenue surplus from a tax on oil drilling, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ohio Accounting Show covers the biggest issues impacting CPAs

"The new preparer penalty is incredibly complex – over 200 pages long – and impacts all signing return preparers and those who advise them," said Matt Kadish, an attorney and shareholder in the Cleveland law firm of Kadish, Hinkel & Weibel. Kadish and his father Steve Kadish provided a detailed update on the latest federal tax developments in one of the most popular sessions at The Ohio Accounting Show in Cleveland.

Michigan enacts CPA mobility legislation

Michigan has become the 24th state to enact CPA license mobility provisions on Wednesday, June 11 when Governor Jennifer Granholm signed House Bill 5936.The bill, now Public Act 161 of 2008, was sponsored by Representative Andy Coulouris (D-Saginaw), chair of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, and met little resistance throughout the legislative process.

Sometimes it pays to fight the tax authorities

When the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) filed its 1999 tax return, it made a huge mistake based on a misreading of the tax law. That mistake led them to overpay their state taxes by millions of dollars. Combined with other amounts they had paid (about $4.9 million) they still got a refund of over $685,000. Here's where the mistake occurred. SAIC, a California- based company also had offices in Maryland. In 1999 they sold stock, in Network Solutions, Inc, which they had held for investment, resulting in a gain of $716 million.

For most states, stimulus payments will mean added revenue

The economic stimulus payments that taxpayers have received will not be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Service but some of this money may end up in the coffers of individual states, which are free to decide how to treat the payments. Few will tax the money directly as income - currently, only Alabama is considering this option - but most anticipate additional revenue from sales or excise taxes, or indirectly, in some states, from a decrease in a deduction.


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