Statement from AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon on Senate Passage of Bill to Stop Tax Strategy Patents

March 9, 2011

New York (March 8, 2011) – The AICPA applauds the Senate’s passage today, by a vote of 95 to 5, of S. 23, The Patent Reform Act of 2011, also known as the America Invents Act.  This bill would overhaul the nation’s patent system and includes a provision, Section 14, strongly supported by the AICPA to stop the further issuance of tax strategy patents.

Tax strategy patents restrict taxpayers’ use of the tax laws as Congress intended and, in effect, create a monopoly on tax compliance for those holding the patents.  The patent holders can effectively become gatekeepers for who can and cannot use certain parts of the tax code.  The AICPA believes that no taxpayer should be sued or have to pay a royalty just for using the best legal means available to comply with the Federal Tax Code.

Section 14 of S. 23 is a pro-taxpayer measure that finally would solve the tax strategy patent problem and give all taxpayers and their advisers equal access to the tax laws.  The AICPA applauds, in particular, the leadership of Senators Patrick Leahy, Charles Grassley, and Max Baucus for championing the tax strategy patents provision.

The AICPA now urges members of the House of Representatives to move forward with patent reform legislation with a similar tax strategy patent provision so that this problem can be fixed as quickly as possible.