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.


    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

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    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 January 14, 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

    Accounting Partnership Retirement Practices

    Article In recent years, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) staff have been investigating and considering litigation against accounting firms organized as partnerships with a goal of requiring firm partners to be treated as “employees” for purposes of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The AICPA has written the EEOC asking
    Published on June 02, 2015


    Overview 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 June 02, 2015

    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 June 02, 2015

    H.R. 1, Tax Reform Act of 2014

    Article Legislative text of Chairman Camp's tax reform act of 2014.
    Published on June 02, 2015

    Interstate Taxation/Mobile Workforce Bill

    Article The AICPA is supporting legislation that would reduce the tax burden and compliance requirements related to nonresident state income tax withholding laws.
    Published on May 13, 2015

    Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

    Article The Sarbanes Oxley Act requires that the management of public companies assess the effectiveness of the internal control of issuers for financial reporting.  Section 404(b) requires a publicly-held company’s auditor to attest to, and report on, management’s assessment of its internal controls. AICPA believes that all investors in public companies
    Published on May 13, 2015

    Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Rules

    Article Dodd-Frank Act Sections 922 and 748 require the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission to implement rules to pay cash awards of up to 30% in settlements over $1 million to whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information about violations of the Securities laws and Commodity Exchange Act,
    Published on May 13, 2015

    FASB Independence and Fair Value Accounting

    Article The AICPA strongly and unequivocally supports independence of the U.S. and international accounting standard setting bodies, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, Connecticut, and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in London.
    Published on May 01, 2015

    March 15, 2015 AICPA Letter to Senate Finance Committee Business Income Tax Reform Working Group

    Legislative Letters March 15, 2015 AICPA Letter to Senate Finance Committee Business Income Tax Reform Working Group
    Published on April 22, 2015

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