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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    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

    Municipal Advisors

    Issue Brief The AICPA generally supports the SEC’s proposed rules as a means to strengthen investor protections in the municipal securities market.  The AICPA is concerned, however, because the proposed rule would require that accountants performing customary and usual accounting services would be required to register as municipal advisors.
    Published on January 07, 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 December 30, 2013

    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

    March 12, 2013 Letter in Support of Federal Government Data Transparency

    Comment Letter March 12, 2013 Letter in Support of Federal Government Data Transparency
    Published on June 27, 2013

    AICPA Letter to House Financial Services Committee Supporting H.R. 1564.

    Legislative Letters The AICPA supported a bill approved on June 19, 2013 by the House Financial Services Committee that would prevent the PCAOB from imposing mandatory audit firm rotation for public companies.
    Published on June 19, 2013

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