Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2011) – Top elected leaders of the accounting profession from all 50 states are visiting Capitol Hill today to talk to members of Congress about tax issues important to CPAs.
“Our tax laws are a vital component of the economic health of our nation as evidenced by the discussion in Washington about tax reform,” Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said. “We think it’s important for members of Congress to talk taxes with CPAs as they consider changes to the law. CPAs can provide objective advice, based on real-world experience.”
Members of the AICPA’s governing Council, consisting of 262 leaders from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam are concluding a three-day meeting in Washington today.
The CPAs will be holding hundreds of meetings with their House and Senate members today and tomorrow. Tax simplification is one of the issues topping the list. The CPAs will tell lawmakers that tax laws need to be simple and based on sound tax policy so that taxpayers can understand them and comply correctly and cost effectively.
Passing a comprehensive patent reform bill that includes an AICPA-backed provision that would stop patents for tax planning methods is a key priority for CPAs. The Senate passed a patent reform bill, S. 23, on March 8 by 95 to 5. A similar bill, H.R. 1249, cleared the House Judiciary Committee on April 14 by 32 to 3 and is awaiting action by the U.S. House of Representatives.
CPAs will discuss with their elected representatives the need to establish a national standard for withholding state income taxes for nonresident workers, so that compliance burdens on business can be reduced.
CPAs are seeking to rationalize the due dates for filing returns for partnership, S corporation and other pass-through entities, so these taxpayers don’t face problems when they receive IRS K-1 Schedules late. These effect businesses such as partnerships and LLCs in which the taxes are “passed through” to individuals and paid on their personal income tax returns.
Council members heard presentations over the three days from House Ways and Means Committee member Eric Paulson and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Representative Paulson is a Minnesota Republican and Representative Wasserman Schultz is a Florida Democrat.
The founding members and co-chairs of the 10-member bipartisan Congressional CPA Caucus – Representative Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, and Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat – spoke to Council members. Other congressional speakers included two newly-elected CPAs: Representative Jim Renacci and Representative Steve Palazzo. Renacci is a Republican from Ohio who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, and Palazzo is a Republican from Mississippi who serves on the House Armed Services Committee.