AICPA's Tax Reform Center 


    The complexity and uncertainty surrounding the tax code affects tax practitioners and taxpayers alike. The code has reached nearly 4 million words and, according to one estimate, 4,107 changes to the tax code have been made since 2004, an average of more than one a day.

    The AICPA is at the forefront of the efforts to shape a better tax system that benefits taxpayers and the accounting profession and meets our core principles for fairness, transparency and simplicity.  

     

    What's New in Tax Reform?

    • The AICPA sent a letter to the 114th Congress, offering to be a resource on tax reform.
    • The AICPA submitted a Compendium of Tax Legislative Proposals to the new Congress.
    • The AICPA sent a comment letter to the Senate Finance Committee Tax Reform Working Group (Individual Income Tax). In the interest of good tax policy and effective tax administration, we advocate for: Simplified Income Tax Rate Structure, Education Incentives, and “Kiddie Tax” Rules; Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Measures, and  Relief for Missed Elections (9100 Relief).
    • Congress is again ramping up tax reform discussions - the Senate Finance Committee chairs appointed 5 working groups to produce a report by May 31
    • The House Ways and Means Chairman predicts action this summer.
    • Senate Finance Committee Republican staff released an in-depth analysis, “Comprehensive Tax Reform for 2015 and Beyond.” 
    • The AICPA offered a comprehensive critique of a proposal from former Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp that is expected to play a significant role in any upcoming action. 


    What is the AICPA Doing for Tax Reform?

    The AICPA staff and volunteer task forces meet regularly with policy makers and congressional staff to voice the profession's tax administration concerns -  some of those concerns are now included in key proposals. For example, the AICPA's recommendation to streamline filing of certain business returns (by adjusting due dates) was recently included in the President's FY16 budget proposal.

    Speaking Up for the Profession

    The AICPA has testified numerous times and provided significant thought leadership on tax reform, including:

    • Substantial analysis in favor of the need for the cash basis method of accounting
    • Recommendations for penalty reform to encourage compliance



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     Hot Issues for the Profession

    Most tax practitioners agree - it's time for a change. What that change will look like is hard to predict with so many issues in play. But certain challenges rise above the rest; among the AICPA's priorities for change are:

    • Eliminating temporary provisions that cause tremendous uncertainty for taxpayers

    • Retaining the cash method basis of  accounting

    • Making the tax system, including retirement plan administration, friendlier for small businesses

    • Repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax


    aicpa's influence on tax form legistlation

    Shaping a Better Tax System

    The AICPA's thought leadership is widely respected by policy makers and we have laid significant groundwork to help shape future tax reform legislation, including: 

    If you need a specific item, please let us know.


    tax reform and the individual taxpayer

     

     Key Proposals & Tax Reform Resources

     

    • Tax Reform.gov -  Congress' tax reform site that includes form for public comments

    •  Former Chairman Camp's proposal WHAT 

     

     

    Civil tax penalties

    Spotlight on Tax Penalties 

    Civil tax penalties have soared in recent years and the trend toward strict liability makes it difficult for taxpayers to get relief. An automatic $10,000 penalty for failing to report a foreign asset is only one example.

    "Many aspects of the civil tax penalty regime concern our members," the AICPA told Congress when it submitted a comprehensive set of recommendations that address several flaws in the penalty system, including:

    • Inconsistent application of reasonable cause relief;
    • Lack of clear standards; and
    • Need to improve IRS training and education of taxpayers.

     




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