Some of our victories don’t make big headlines, but still produce an impact. A few examples:
Family Office Rule: Starting in 2012, more advisors (including “family offices”) will be required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); however, the SEC’s final rule incorporated several
suggestions from the AICPA that will mean fewer advisors will be subject to the registration requirement.
Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR): The AICPA helped secure an extension to file (from June 30 to Nov. 1, 2011) for those with signature authority but no financial interest in an account.
High-Low Travel Substantiation Method: The IRS prepared to eliminate this method based on low feedback about its usage. The AICPA surveyed its members and relayed that it is still quite
important to many.
Technical Modifications to the Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GST): The AICPA requested that these be permanently extended. Congress agreed to extend it through 2012.
Home Runs in 2011
Preparer Registration: To ensure the term “registered tax return preparer” (RTRP) does not confuse consumers or endanger the CPA brand, the AICPA pushed for several changes with the IRS. For
example, RTRPs will have to state in their ads that the term does not imply an endorsement by the IRS.
1099: The AICPA led the effort to repeal a little noticed reporting provision that would have imposed considerable burden on rental property owners.
Tax Strategy Patents: A court decision resulted in patents on tax strategies that, left unchecked, would result in litigation and restrict use of the tax code for scores of preparers and their clients. The AICPA and state societies advocated for five years to stop the issuance of these patents. On Sept. 16, the president signed a law that does just that.
IRS Compliance Visits: The AICPA worked with the IRS to better inform practitioners about the purpose of these visits and prevent CPAs from being disturbed during the tax season.
Estate Tax and Carryover Basis: We conducted extensive advocacy in this area and our requests to the IRS for a blanket filing extension were granted. Also, many of our comments on the instructions to the Form 706 were adopted, resulting in clearer filing requirements and references to other forms and instructions.
What’s on Deck?
Tax Reform & Simplification: Corporate tax reform and calls for simplification are likely to dominate the tax policy agenda. The AICPA will share its tax reform principles with Congress and monitor the impact of any new tax law proposals. Electronic Records for IRS Exams: We prompted the IRS to clarify its guidance and will continue to be part of a dialogue with the IRS and software companies to explore ways to minimize the amount of extra data provided when records are requested.
Electronic Records for IRS Exams: We prompted the IRS to clarify its guidance and will continue to be part of a dialogue with the IRS and software companies to explore ways to minimize the amount of extra data provided when records are requested.
Electronic Filing: New rules will mean e-filing for most preparers in 2012. The AICPA commented to the IRS on potential implementation problems and will closely monitor the impact of the new rules.
Preparer Registration: The potential burden of suitability checks on CPA firms is a concern; the AICPA will call for ways to minimize the impact.
Foreign Trusts: In response to member concerns, we asked the IRS for guidance and provided suggestions to help foreign trusts comply with FBAR and the HIRE Act.
Due Dates for Certain Returns: In response to comments from members about late K-1s, the AICPA successfully sought House and Senate sponsors to back legislation that will make the filing process flow more logically and is working to make it a law.