To help Capitol Hill staff prepare for the April 15 tax filing deadline, the American Institute of CPAs offered two tax season briefings on February 20, 2013. During the hour-long sessions, AICPA Director of Taxation, Melissa Labant, CPA explained new information for filing 2012 tax returns and what to plan for in 2013 under the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
Sixty individuals participated in the briefings. They were from 50 offices, including the personal offices of senators and representatives, the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Labant began the session by answering the most frequently asked questions staff receive from their constituents, which range from, “Do I need to file a return?” to “Should I itemize or take a standard deduction?”. In addition, she identified the most common tax return mistakes and how to avoid them and ended the session by answering participants’ questions about their own tax returns.
Melora Heavey, AICPA senior manager – communications and consumer education, provided an overview of the free resources the AICPA offers the public through its financial literacy effort, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, and reminded attendees that their local state CPA society also offers a variety of tools, events and information for their constituents.
In addition to the presentation, a tax return checklist of the required information for preparing a tax return and the Principles of Good Tax Policy was distributed to all attendees at the session as well as emailed to all who RSVP’d for the event. This is the second year the AICPA has offered the free program and the first time the session was held on both the House side and the Senate side.