Tax Reform and IRS Modernization Top List of Issues for CPA Advocates’ Visits on Capitol Hill

June 20, 2017

Spring Council 2017 - Rep. Sewell with Mary Stone and Jeannine Birmingham
Jeannine Birmingham, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the Alabama Society of CPAs (right), and Mary Stone, CPA, Ph.D., Hugh Culverhouse Endowed Chair of Accounting, University of Alabama, and a member of the AICPA Board of Directors (left), meet with Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) to explain the role of sound tax principles in tax reform and why improved IRS services are important to Alabama CPAs and taxpayers. photo: Sam Kittner /

Several hundred CPAs from around the nation visited Capitol Hill in May to share the accounting profession’s advocacy agenda with lawmakers.  The visits were a highlight of the three-day meeting of the American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) governing Council in Washington, D.C.

Topping the list of issues were tax reform, improvement of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer services, mobile workforce legislation and the fiscal state of the nation.

“The AICPA has a long history of advocating for sound tax policy and assisting lawmakers on tax policy matters,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA.  “We continue to provide unbiased facts and analysis to foster informed discussion and conformity with our newly-updated Principles of Good Tax Policy.”

Melancon also noted that the AICPA and the state CPA societies are committed to supporting Congress in its efforts to ensure a service-oriented, modernized tax administration system that earns the respect and appreciation of taxpayers, as well as their CPAs.  “We led a transparent process with a coalition of stakeholders that developed a series of sustainable recommendations.  It is our hope that those recommendations will be included in any congressional response to the IRS modernization challenge.”

Mobile workforce legislation is another issue CPA advocates raised during the meetings with members of their states’ congressional delegations.  The profession advocates for a 30-day standard for interstate income tax withholding because easing the burden on non-resident workers would promote interstate commerce and simplify the requirements for taxpayers and their employers.

The CPA profession also supports a bipartisan congressional resolution to boost awareness of the information contained in the federal government’s financial statements.  H.Con.Res. 8, the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution, would require the U.S. Comptroller General to give a presentation to a joint session of Congress on the audited financial statements on the accounts and associated activities of the federal government, together with an analysis of its financial position and condition.  The resolution is related to the AICPA’s “What’s at Stake” initiative, in which CPAs are encouraged to use the federal government’s financial statements as a tool to illustrate the danger budget deficits pose to our nation’s economic future.

Jeannine Birmingham, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the Alabama Society of CPAs, said, “Our visits to lawmakers’ offices in Washington are tremendously beneficial.  We can explain the local connection to the national issues and how the issues affect the accounting profession.  This year, we visited all seven of the Alabama House members and our two Senators to offer the Society as a resource and to ask for their support on the issues.”