Federal Issues

Tax Legislation and Policy 

The Congressional and Political Affairs Team often assists the Tax Team with tax legislation and policy issues, and advocates about them to Members of Congress and other key policymakers on behalf of the profession.  Below are several significant current tax issues in which the AICPA is involved.  A complete list of all issues the AICPA is following can be found on the Tax Advocacy webpage.

Tax Return Due Dates

The AICPA has long been concerned about the difficulties taxpayers face when receiving delayed Schedules K-1, which are informational documents sent to owners and beneficiaries of partnerships, S-corporations and trusts. Because many of these owners and beneficiaries have due dates similar to Schedules K-1, it often is impossible for those taxpayers to file complete and timely tax returns. Rather, they are forced to file for extensions on their own tax returns.
 
To solve this problem, the AICPA supports requiring Schedules K-1 to be filed in advance of the owners’ and beneficiaries’ return due date.  In the 112th Congress, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced S. 845, the Tax Return Due Date Simplification and Modernization Act of 2011, a bill that generally incorporates our proposal.  Also in the 112th Congress, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) introduced H.R. 2382, a bill that generally incorporates our proposal and is similar to Senator Enzi’s bill.  Both Senator Enzi and Congresswoman Jenkins are planning to reintroduce the bills in the 113th Congress.


Proposed Preparer Regulations

IRS Commissioner Shulman announced that the IRS would phase in a process to regulate all paid tax return preparers for the 2011 filing season. The proposal will mandate that all paid tax return preparers both register with the IRS and obtain a Preparers Tax Identification Number (PTIN), to be used in signing all tax returns and that all paid preparers be subject to Circular 230. Paid tax return preparers will be subject to an annual CPE requirement as well as an entry competency test. CPA’s are generally exempt from the latter two requirements as they have already passed a licensing examination and are subject to annual continuing professional education requirements. 

Non-signing preparers who are employed by CPA firms will have to register and receive a PTIN, but will not have to take the exam or meet the IRS’s continuing education requirements.    The IRS’ proposal to require fingerprinting (CPAs would be exempt) as part of a suitability check continues to be on hold while the IRS considers alternatives. The AICPA is pleased that the IRS has modified its regulations from those initially proposed and continues to work with the Service to address issues in the regulations that may adversely affect its members.

On January 18, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the IRS lacked the statutory authority  to promulgate the PTIN rules that require tax preparers to pass an exam and take continuing education courses.  The court held that requiring tax preparers to register and receive a PTIN is acceptable.  The IRS has announced that it intends to appeal the decision.


Estate Tax

Effective January 1, 2010, Congress allowed the Federal Estate and Generation Skipping Tax to expire. Simultaneously the rules on step-up in basis expired and a rule requiring carryover basis for estates. However, effective January 1, 2011, the Federal Estate Tax and Generation Skipping Tax will be automatically reinstated but at their mandated rates and exemption levels as they existed in tax year 2000. The AICPA supports reinstating the Federal Estate Tax at the rates and exemption levels that were in place in 2009 until a permanent solution is found.

During the lame duck session of Congress in December 2010, a 2-year extension of the estate and gift tax was enacted.  The estate tax has a $5 million exemption and a 35% rate.


Expiring Tax Provisions


Congress allowed many temporary tax provisions to expire at the end of 2009 without taking action. This list of expiring provisions includes several business and individual tax issues that are of significant concern to AICPA members and their clients as the impact of these expiring provisions will be that tax liabilities may be significantly changed. The AICPA supports Congressional action to reinstate specific issues on this list.  They were extended for two years during Congress' December 2010 post-election session.  A similar situation is expected to occur in 2012.


Required Disclosure of Uncertain Tax Positions

The IRS has continued forward on the required disclosure of uncertain tax positions, with modifications from its original proposal in January 2010.  For tax filings beginning with 2010, disclosure of uncertain tax positions will be required by companies that have audited financial statements prepared under U.S. GAAP, IFRS, or other accounting standards, where the financial statements include a reserve for any uncertain tax positions, as well as for tax positions where a reserve has not been recorded due to an expectation to litigate.  In addition, for 2010 the company must have total assets exceeding $100 million, and file Form 1120, Form 1120 L, Form 1120 PC or Form 1120 F.  The IRS is phasing-in the disclosure such that by 2014 it will apply to companies with total assets exceeding $10 million. The AICPA submitted written comments to the IRS on June 1, 2010 and on December 2, 2010 regarding various aspects of the IRS proposal.  The AICPA continues to discuss with the IRS its concerns with the rule.


Resources

Copy of Legislation

A copy of all noted bills and laws are available on the Library of Congress's THOMAS website.

Staff Contact

Peter M. Kravitz
Director, Congressional and Political Affairs
202-434-9218
pkravitz@aicpa.org 

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Preserving the Cash Basis Method of Accounting for CPA Firms

Overview The AICPA is opposed to certain provisions included in tax reform proposals that would limit the availability of the cash basis method of accounting.
Published on July 22, 2016

Department of Labor Overtime Rule

Article On May 18th, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its final rule related to overtime pay. Under the new rule, the standard salary threshold will double from $455 per week to $913 per week. This amounts to a change in an annual salary from $23,660 to an annual salary
Published on July 05, 2016

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Issues

Federal Law This page highlights the advocacy issues in which the Congressional & Political Affairs Team is advocating on behalf of the profession, and also those issues that the team has recently followed.
Published on May 24, 2016

Letter from Senate Democrats to Department of Labor February 2016

Legislative Letters Letter of support from Senate Democrats, encouraging Secretary Lew to work swiftly in implementing the Department of Labor proposed overtime rule on February 29th, 2016.
Published on May 24, 2016

May 2016, Cash Coalition Letter to the Senate Finance Committee

Legislative Letters Cash Coalition letter to Senate Finance Committee on cash basis method of accounting 5-10-2016
Published on May 11, 2016

April 2016, Letter to Senate Finance Committee from the AICPA

Legislative Letters AICPA letter for the record to the Senate Finance Committee on hearing entitled “Navigating Business Tax Reform.” The letter encourages the committee not restrict the use of the cash basis method of accounting for pass-through entities.
Published on May 10, 2016

PPWO Letter of Support S. 2707 4.18.16

Legislative Letters Coalition letter sent in support of Senate bill S. 2707 blocking the proposed Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

PPWO Letter of Support H.R. 4773 4-18-16

Legislative Letters Coalition letter sent in support of the House Bill H.R. 4773 blocking the proposed Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

PPWO Letter to the Hill re Overtime Rule 12-7-15

Legislative Letters Coalition letter opposing the Department of Labor Overtime Rule.
Published on April 27, 2016

AICPA Comments on Proposed Revision of the Employer Information Report (EEO-1)

Comment Letter AICPA's comments in response to the proposed revision of the Employer Information Report advanced by the EEOC to collect summary pay data separated by gender, race, and ethnicity.
Published on April 22, 2016

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 December 15, 2015

AICPA Comment Letter to DOL Regarding Proposed Overtime Rule

Comment Letter Comments in response to the DOL July 6, 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend the FLSA exemptions from minimum wage and overtime requirements for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales, and computer employees.
Published on September 24, 2015

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 August 03, 2015

Innovation Act Support Letter - US House

Legislative Letters Letter sent by Barry Melancon to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of HR 9, the Innovation Act.
Published on July 16, 2015

Audits of FHA-Approved Participants and Related HUD Requirements

Article FHA proposes new rule to strengthen risk management and shift accountability for the underwriting of FHA-insured loans to the mortgage banks. It may no longer require FHA to approve loan correspondents (mortgage brokers) participating in the FHA program and HUD would no longer require FHA to submit audited financial statements or audits
Published on June 03, 2015

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