Federal Issues

    Federal Legislative and Regulatory Issues 

    The Congressional & Political Affairs Team is currently engaged in, or has recently followed, the issues below:

     Issues We're Following
    Cash Accounting - Preserving the Cash Basis Method for CPA Firms
    The AICPA is opposed to certain provisions included in tax reform proposals that would limit the availability of the cash basis method of accounting.
     Audits of Federal Funds (Single Audits)
     Interest in audits of Federal funds increased, in part, because of the 2009 Recovery Act.  The AICPA continues to  
     stay abreast of legislative and executive attention paid to these audits.
     FASB Independence
     Maintaining the independence of FASB and the IASB in keeping the accounting standard setting process free 
     of political interests is one of the AICPA’s top priorities.  Read more about the AICPA's ongoing efforts.
     Financial Regulatory Reform and its Implementation
     Learn about the reforms passed by Congress and signed by the President in the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and
     Consumer Protection Act, and how they are affecting CPAs.
    • Municipal Advisors
      Section 975 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the SEC to regulate advisors to state and local governments who issue municipal securities.  Read more about this regulation.
    • Registration and Inspection of Auditors of Broker-Dealers
      The Dodd-Frank Act provides authority to the Public Company Oversight Board to expand, by rule, its oversight and inspections to all auditors of broker-dealers or to a targeted subset of its choosing. The Board issued a rule creating an interim program of inspection for all auditors of all broker-dealers. The AICPA is will continue to advocate for final PCAOB regulation that is more targeted.
    • Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
      Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, certain public companies will not be required to have their auditors attest to management's assessment of internal controls, and the SEC and GAO are required to study whether other smaller companies should be permanently exempted from the auditor attestation requirement.
      New bills in the current 112th Congress also have been introduced to modify this provision.
    • Whistleblower Rules
      The SEC and CFTC are each required under the Dodd-Frank Act to promulgate regulations allowing bounties to be paid to whistleblowers for corporate malfeasance.  Read more about these rules, the accounting profession's concerns about their scope and implementation, and legislation related to them.
     ERISA Fiduciary Definition - Appraisers of Employee Stock Ownership Plans
     The AICPA opposes the Department of Labor’s efforts to change the definition of fiduciary under ERISA as it would
     apply to valuation specialists who provide appraisal services to ESOPs.
     Financial Literacy
     The AICPA supports legislative and executive branch efforts to promote financial literacy through all stages of  
     life. Read more here.
     Interstate Taxation/Mobile Workforce Bill
     The AICPA supports legislation that would reduce the tax burden and compliance requirements related to
     nonresident state income tax withholding laws.
     Tax Legislation and Policy - Current Issues
     This page provides a short synopsis of several current tax legislation and policy issues, and links to more in-depth
     discussions on each.
     U.S.-International Accounting Principles Convergence and IFRS
     Read about the AICPA's position regarding International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the convergence of 
     certain U.S. and international accounting principles, and the timing for their implementation by U.S. public and non-
     public companies.
     Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) used in financial reporting allows for easier access and more
     transparent information in company reports.  Read about SEC rules to implement XBRL for public companies,
     and legislative proposals to utilize XBRL in other areas.
     Issues We've Recently Followed
     Aiding and Abetting Liability
     During the last Congress, several bills which would impact CPAs' liability under the securities laws were under
     consideration.  The Dodd-Frank Act requires the GAO to study aiding and abetting liability.  Learn about
     these bills and the AICPA's position.
     Audits of FHA-Approved Participants and Related HUD Requirements
     FHA issued guidance in April 2010 to audit and other requirements that are aimed at modifying credit policies and
     strengthening risk management.  Read how these changes impact CPAs and their clients.
     Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
     The CFPB is intended to provide additional protection to consumers.  The AICPA successfully advocated
     for recognition by lawmakers of the important role CPAs play in advising Americans on their financial decisions.
     Extraterritorial Private Rights of Action
     The SEC issued a staff study regarding whether private causes of action should be extended extraterritorially to 
     securities claims against foreign domiciled companies, brought by foreign-domiciled claimants who purchased
     their shares on foreign exchanges. This page contains more information about the SEC's study.
     FTC Rulemaking on Identity Theft "Red Flags"
     The CPAs and CPA firms were officially exempted from the FTC’s Red Flags rule with the passage of S.3987, the “Red 
     Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010” in December 2010. "Red Flags" rules, under Fair and Accurate Credit  
     Transactions Act of 2003, are intended to address the growing problems with identity theft.  Read more about these rules
     and AICPA's efforts to advocate for them to be appropriately targeted.
     GAO Study of Financial Planning
     The new financial reform law includes a requirement that GAO perform a study regarding the regulatory framework
     affecting all financial planners.  Read more about this study.
     Litigation Pleading Standards
     AICPA opposes legislative efforts to overturn two recent Supreme Court decisions affecting pleading standards.
     Tax Legislation and Policy - Recent Issues
     This page provides a short synopsis of several recently followed tax legislation and policy issues, and links to more in
     depth discussions on each.
     Tax Strategy Patents
     The AICPA continues to advocate for a legislative solution to eliminate the issuance of tax strategy patents.
     Temporary Funding Relief for Defined Benefit Pension Plans
     AICPA worked with a broad coalition to gain temporary funding relief for defined benefit pension plans that are
     underfunded as prescribed by the 2006 Pension Protection Act.  Read about AICPA's successful efforts advocating
     for a legislative solution.
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