AICPA Spring Council includes focus on tax simplification issues

By Adrienne Gonzalez

For attendees at the spring meeting of AICPA Council in Washington, D.C, the key issues were all about fairness, simplicity, and innovation in the tax code. The three-day event included remarks by the Center for Audit Quality, an update on the Audit Quality Centers from AICPA Vice President Susan Coffey, the announcement of a new managerial accounting credential, and an update on professional issues and IFRS readiness from AICPA President and CEO, Barry C. Melancon, CPA.

The AICPA identified the following issues as key points for this session:

The Equal Access to Tax Planning Act of 2011 S139
This bill would prevent patents for tax strategies, which allows for the free flow of innovation in the tax planning realm.

Tax Return Due Date Simplification and Modernization Act of 2011 S 845
This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for the logical flow of return information between partnerships, corporations, trusts, estates, and individuals to better enable each party to submit timely, accurate returns and reduce the need for extended and amended returns, to provide for modified due dates by regulation, and to conform the automatic corporate extension period to longstanding regulatory rule. Proponents argue that tax return due dates for individuals and corporations should better correspond to K-1 issue dates to prevent the need to amend returns after the fact.

Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2011 HR 1864
This bill would limit the authority of states to tax certain income of employees in other states for duties performed in other states. "Local taxation issues have now become national in scope, and these burdens must be eased in order to promote interstate commerce and ensure it runs efficiently," said Jeffrey A. Porter, CPA on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to a House panel May 25th.

Also on the AICPA's radar this year is the all-important subject of simplification of the tax code. Maryland Senator Ben Cardin told the Maryland Association of CPAs group on Hill visits that if they want to talk tax reform, "We'll be talking about this for 20 years," implying that there will always be work to be done towards tax reform.

Allen DeLeon, CPA, founding partner of Maryland-based DeLeon & Stang, expressed concern that his was a top 10 most AMT-impacted district and that his firm processes 3,000 tax returns, about half of which are affected by AMT. "Most [of these taxpayers] do not understand it," he told Senators Mikulski and Cardin, "[AMT] clearly wasn't intended for that level of taxpayer."

"AICPA Council plays a critically important legislative role in protecting the CPA profession and to help shape sound tax policy," DeLeon said of the week's events.

For Anoop Mehta, CPA, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of government contractor SSAI and MACPA Secretary/Treasurer, an additional issue needed to be brought to the attention of Maryland legislators: three percent withholding on payments to small business government contractors. Coincidentally, AICPA Tax Executive chair Patricia Thompson gave testimony to Congress last week on this very issue, urging Congress to repeal the burdensome rule.

Said MACPA CEO Tom Hood of the importance of Council, "I wish every CPA could have been here to be a part of Council. It takes a lot to maintain our Profession and our role in society. Our legislative successes and ongoing advocacy require more and more CPAs to get involved. You can make a difference!"


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