Federal Issues

    Municipal Advisors 

    The AICPA generally supports the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Proposed Rules as a means to strengthen investor protections in the municipal securities market.  The AICPA also believes that the establishment of a permanent registration regime with the SEC for municipal advisors, including the imposition of certain record-keeping requirements, will further the goals of accountability and transparency in the financial system.  The Institute is concerned, however, that the broad definition in the Proposed Rules of “municipal advisor” will encompass accountants who are performing “customary and usual” services incidental to, or inextricably linked to, the practice of accountancy and should not be subject to required registration.

    Background

    Section 975 of the Dodd-Frank Act amended Section 15B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to, among other things, make it unlawful for municipal advisors to provide certain advice to, or solicit, municipal entities or certain other persons without registering with the SEC. The SEC believes that the preparation and audit of financial statements or the issuance of letters for underwriters by accountants would not constitute the provision of advice within the meaning of the Exchange Act.   Accordingly, in its rulemaking, the SEC proposes to exclude from the definition of a “municipal advisor” accountants preparing financial statements, auditing financial statements, or issuing letters for underwriters for, or on behalf of, a municipal entity or obligated person.

    The AICPA also believes that requiring registration for accounting services was not the intended result of the Dodd-Frank Act.   There is already substantial and appropriate regulation of the accounting profession at the state and federal level.  Therefore, in its comment letter on the SEC’s proposed rule, the AICPA recommended that accountants performing customary and usual accounting services, including accounting, tax, advisory, or other services, including audit and attestation services, where those services are subject to the regulatory authority of a State Board of accountancy or a Federal authority, be exempted from the requirements.

    Regulatory Action

    The SEC proposed new rules 15Ba1-1 through 15Ba1-7and related forms under the Securities Exchange Act, as published in Release No. 34-63576, File Number S7-45-10, Registration of Municipal Advisors.  Several Members of the House and Senate have met with SEC staff to advocate for a rule that would be similar in applicability to the bills, H.R. 2827 and S. 3620, both which are discussed below. The comment period has closed, and the SEC is currently working on a Final Rule.

    Legislative Action

    112th Congress

    Congressman Robert Dold, an Illinois Republican, introduced H.R. 2827 in August 2011, defining the municipal advisors which will be subject to SEC registration and contains certain exemptions from registration.   A hearing was held in July 2012 in the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises of the House Committee on Financial Services.  The AICPA submitted a letter to the Committee in advance of the July Subcommittee hearing supporting H.R. 2827, conditioned on the exemptions being expanded to include CPAs doing customary and usual accounting services.  The bill was marked up in the Subcommittee in August 2012 and was favorably reported to the full Committee.  In September 2012, the House Financial Services Committee marked-up and favorably reported the bill with a vote of 60-0.  The AICPA sent a letter in support of the bill to the members of the House Financial Services Committee.  At the full committee mark-up, Congressman Dold offered a substitute bill that defined municipal advisors without including CPAs who perform customary and usual accounting services.   Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat, took the lead in negotiating the compromise substitute bill for the Democrats, making this a truly bipartisan bill.  The bill overwhelmingly passed the House on a voice vote in September 2012.

    In September 2012, Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, introduced S. 3620, a companion bill to H.R. 2827.  The Senate did not take action on the bill during 2012, therefore, new bills will need to be reintroduced for these proposals to be considered in the 113th.

    113th Congress

    Congressman Steve Stivers, an Ohio Democrat, and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat, introduced the Municipal Advisor Oversight Improvement Act of 2013, H.R. 797 in February of 2013.  It is identical to the Dold/Moore bill from the 112th Congress.

    AICPA Position

    The AICPA supports H.R. 797, and will continue to advocate for CPAs who provide only customary and usual services from having to register as municipal advisors, whether through legislative or regulatory action.

    Resources

    Copy of Legislation

    All major Congressional actions related to municipal advisor legislation are available on the Library of Congress's THOMAS website by searching for the legislation by bill number.

    AICPA Comment Letter to the SEC

    February 25, 2011 AICPA letter to the SEC

    AICPA Letters to the House Financial Services Committee regarding H.R. 2827

    September 10, 2012 AICPA Letter to the House Financial Services Committee
    July 19, 2012 AICPA Letter to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets

    Staff Contact

    Peter Kravitz
    Director, Congressional and Political Affairs
    202.434.9218
    pkravitz@aicpa.org

    Mary Foelster
    Director, Governmental Auditing and Accounting
    mfoelster@aicpa.org
    202.434.9259

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    Cash Accounting Senate Letter

    Legislative Letters
    Published on August 07, 2014

    Congressional and Political Affairs Advocacy

    Overview The AICPA monitors and advocates on legislative and other matters that affect the accounting profession. Working with state CPA societies and other professional organizations, the AICPA provides information to and educates federal, state and local policymakers regarding key issues.
    Published on May 20, 2014

    XBRL

    Article Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) used in financial and other reporting allows for easier access to more transparent information.  AICPA supports legislative proposals to utilize XBRL by companies, Federal agencies and recipients of Federal funds.
    Published on May 20, 2014

    Camp Letter On Cash Basis April 25, 2014

    Legislative Letters The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) voices strong opposition to draft legislation that would limit the use of the cash method of accounting for pass-through entities and personal service corporations.
    Published on May 08, 2014

    Convergence of International and US Accounting Principles and IFRS

    Article International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) set by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in London is a response to worldwide demand from regulators, investors, businesses, and auditing firms for a single set of high-quality, globally-accepted accounting standards.
    Published on April 17, 2014

    AICPA Letter to SEC on Proposed Regulation Crowdfunding

    Comment Letter AICPA comments on the SEC's proposed new Regulation Crowdfunding under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to implement the requirements of Title III of the JOBS Act as published in SEC File No. S7-09-13.
    Published on February 06, 2014

    Jan 2014 - AICPA Statement for the Record regarding Conferences and Travel

    Article AICPA provided a Statement for the Record to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in  response  to the hearing held on January 14, 2014 entitled, "Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government."
    Published on January 28, 2014

    Cash Basis Letter to Senate Finance Committee from Associations-Jan7-2014

    Legislative Letters Cash Basis Letter to Senate Finance Committee dated Jaunary 7, 2014 from American Council of Engineering Companies, American Dental Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Institute of Architects, American Institute of CPAs and S Corporation Association.
    Published on January 22, 2014

    ERISA Fiduciary Definition - Appraisers of Employee Stock Ownership Plans

    Article The AICPA believes that the U.S. DOL should implement rules that would require appraisers of ESOPs to meet minimum qualification requirements, including holding relevant credentials and training, and comply with applicable professional valuation standards.
    Published on December 30, 2013

    Take Action Legislation Affecting ESOP Appraisers

    Article The AICPA urges FVS section members to seek congressional support of legislation to fix DOL fiduciary proposal on ESOP appraisers S. 273/HR 2041.
    Published on September 18, 2013

    CPAs Count! Make Your Voice Heard on Capitol Hill.

    Overview The AICPA PAC is the profession’s political action committee. This describes frequently asked questions about the AICPA PAC.
    Published on July 30, 2013

    AICPA Letter to House and Senate Cosponsor S273 and HR2041

    Legislative Letters AICPA Letter to House and Senate Cosponsor S273 and HR2041
    Published on July 12, 2013

    AICPA Letter to U.S. House of Representatives Supporting H.R. 1564.

    Legislative Letters The AICPA supported a bill passed on July 8, 2013 by the U.S. House of Representatives which would prevent the PCAOB from imposing mandatory audit firm rotation for public companies.
    Published on July 12, 2013

    May 21, 2013 Letter in Support of H.R. 2061, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013

    Comment Letter May 21, 2013 Letter in Support of H.R. 2061, the “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013”.
    Published on June 27, 2013

    May 22, 2013 Letter in Support of S. 994, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013

    Comment Letter May 22, 2013 Letter in Support of S. 994, the “Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2013”
    Published on June 27, 2013

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