NewsFlash April 20, 2017

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Celebrating Our Independence Day...From Taxes!

On Monday, Floridians celebrated Taxpayer Independence Day 2017 – the first day of the year when taxpayers no longer are working to pay their tax bill, but are working for themselves. This symbolic date, calculated by Florida TaxWatch, assumes every dollar earned from the start of 2017 went to pay taxes at all levels of government.
An improving economy in Florida is producing steady, but modest, growth in personal income. This economic activity is increasing tax collections as well, especially at the local level, as property values are rising again. Overall, the growth in income and taxes in 2017 is expected to be the same (4.7 percent), resulting in Taxpayer Independence Day arriving on the same date as last year.
The good news is that achieving Taxpayer Independence Day took no longer than it did last year and came two days earlier than in 2015. The increase in tax collections comes mostly from economic growth, not tax increases – and this year, on average, taxpayers’ ability to pay is increasing at the same rate.

Florida TaxWatch hopes Floridians will celebrate by recognizing the impact different levels of government have on their daily lives and on their paychecks.
For a full analysis, click here.

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TaxWatch Releases Annual Tax Comparison Report

Florida TaxWatch recently released its annual report, 2017 How Florida Compares – Taxes, which ranks Florida’s state and local taxes against those levied throughout the nation. The report provides comprehensive information on state and local tax rates, tax collections and other government revenues for all 50 states, as well as historical information for Florida.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state. Floridians’ per capita state and local own source revenue collections total $5,516, the 42nd highest amount among the 50 states.
  • While Florida’s state tax burden is very low compared to the other states, its local tax burden is much higher. Florida’s “Per Capita State Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita State Tax Collections” rank 48th and 49th, respectively, whereas “Per Capita Local Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita Local Tax Collections” rank 16th and 27th, respectfully.
  • Florida has the highest state and local selective sales (excise) taxes on utilities in the nation. Florida also taxes motor fuels and alcoholic beverages higher than average, ranking 15th and 18th, respectively.
  • Florida is one of seven states without a personal income tax. The average state relies on personal income taxes for 37 percent of its tax revenue.

 To read the full report, click here.

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FICPA Fed Tax Committee Meets with IRS and U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

On April 3, the FICPA Federal Taxation Committee hosted a Tax Reform and IRS Liaison Town Hall Meeting for approximately 25 CPAs from throughout the state. FICPA Federal Taxation Committee Chair Byron Shinn, managing partner of Shinn & Co., introduced U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan.

Congressman Buchanan is co-chair of the bipartisan, 29-member Florida Congressional Delegation and currently serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care, welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Buchanan is chair of the Oversight Subcommittee, a key watchdog panel with investigative authority over all issues under the full committee’s jurisdiction, including health care, the IRS, welfare, Social Security and Medicare. Congressman Buchanan introduced the Main Street Fairness Act to ensure small businesses – which account for 94 percent of all businesses in America – never pay a higher tax rate than large corporations.

Congressman Buchanan said it’s time to focus on tax reform and pass-through as we have not had this opportunity since 1986. He said the current tax code punishes ordinary Americans and suffocates business growth, and that it’s time to fix the economy by simplifying the tax code and reducing rates on individuals and business. He said small businesses are our nation’s job creators and employ about half of our nations’ private-sector workforce. He is optimistic we will get tax reform done in this Congress. Congressman Buchanan had an open discussion with the committee, addressing their concerns and listening to ideas and suggestions.

Other speakers were:

Special Agent Christina Powrie, criminal investigations. Powrie discussed some of the things the IRS is doing and how they are partnering with various organization to help combat tax fraud. She discussed the various types of fraud such as refund fraud, stolen identity refund fraud, CPA computer compromises, IRS impersonation schemes and tax-return preparer fraud. For return preparer fraud, some of the key fraud areas are inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions and/or the use of excessive exemptions and fraudulent tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Supervisor Thomas Dave Kramer, IRS field collections operations. Kramer said there has been a 42 percent decline in field collection officers from 2010 to 2016 – 1,720 officers – and there is $59 billion due from Forms 941 unpaid as of June 30, 2016. Approximately 69 percent of IRS revenue collections in 2015 came from withholding. The IRS has various early interaction initiatives in place or in process, such as FTD Alert X Coded Pilot implemented in April 2015 and EFTPS Early Alerts to be implemented in 2019. The intended benefits are to educate taxpayers and modify taxpayer behavior to enhance compliance, improve collection case selection and assignment, and enable data-driven decisions regarding taxpayer contacts. Other IRS hot topics include impersonation concerns, hiring, private-debt collection and passport legislation.

Supervisory Agent Daniel Itchue, small business field audit. Itchue discussed the role of supervisors, who assign cases for which objectives, priorities and deadlines have been established in organizational procedures and policies. For example, assignments may be based on caseload level, geographic area, industry or similar defined categories. Each field auditor maintains an average of 24 ongoing cases at any one time. He discussed how staffing levels have impacted the IRS and the hope that new technology and “big data” will help with the reduced budget and staffing concerns.

Supervisory Officer Eric Goodwin, appeals. Goodwin discussed reduced staffing in the appeals area and how, every year, the Office of Appeals helps more than 100,000 taxpayers resolve their tax disputes without going to Tax Court. They are an independent organization within the IRS whose mission is to help taxpayers and the government resolve tax disagreements. Appeals does not seek to take sides in a dispute. Rather, they offer an objective point of view on each individual case. They review each case after the applicable IRS compliance has made its decision and work to resolve disagreements on a basis that is fair and impartial to the government and the taxpayer. There was a lot of discussion about the Fast Track Settlement Program and how various tax advisors view the program. Appeals also offers mediation services through Fast Track Settlement and other programs. These mediation programs are designed to help resolve a dispute at the earliest possible stage in the audit or collection process.

Senior Stakeholder Liaison Karen L. Russell. Russell discussed the IRS’ Security Program, “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself,” and various ways the IRS and CPA firms can help protect their data and their clients’ data. She discussed ways we, as tax preparers, can protect our EFIN and PTINs by monitoring them, especially as we get closer to the filing deadline. More on how to monitor information can be found here. See the articles dated Aug. 9, 2016 and Jan. 11, 2017 with detailed instructions on accessing and monitoring this information.

The FICPA continues to work for you by building these relationships and monitoring activity related to tax issues. As always, the FICPA and the IRS welcome your thoughts and input on how to work together in the most efficient and productive way possible.

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Apply to Serve on FICPA Committees
Tomorrow is the Deadline!

The FICPA offers more than 30 committees for which you can volunteer your service. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen your leadership skills, play an influential role in shaping the future of accountancy and grow your network with other professionals throughout the state. Time is almost up to submit your application – the deadline is Friday, April 21!

Committee membership is open to all FICPA regular members, non-resident members, accounting educator members, associate members, retired members and lifetime members in good standing.

Use our 2017 Committee Volunteer Guide to review our list of committees and learn more about how you can get involved.

Submit Your Application Today | View the Committee Volunteer Guide
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 |

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Nominate a Colleague
Outstanding CPA in Government Award, Outstanding Educator Award

The FICPA Outstanding CPA in Government Award acknowledges the extraordinary achievements of an individual CPA employed in federal, state or local government. The FICPA recognizes an outstanding CPA who strives to promote the CPA designation as the premier professional credential for accounting, auditing and finance professionals in government.

  • Who’s eligible: FICPA members who work in government
  • Nominations due date: May 19, 2017
  • Awards announced: State & Local Government Accounting Conference, Aug. 24-25, 2017, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Orlando

To access the nomination form, click here.

The FICPA Outstanding Educator Award is designed to recognize full-time college accounting educators distinguished for excellence in teaching and for national prominence in the accounting profession. The award has a dual function: to extend profession-wide recognition to the recipient and promote role models in academia.

  • Who’s eligible: FICPA members who work in education
  • Nominations due date: June 1, 2017
  • Awards announced: FICPA Accounting and Business Show, September 27-29, 2017

To access the nomination form, click here.

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Register Now: 1040K Run/Walk Returns to Coconut Grove This Saturday

Awards and bragging rights await CPA runners of the 28th Annual 1040K Run this Saturday, April 22 when the race returns to Coconut Grove. Who’ll be this year’s fastest CPA? Registration is open for the 10K, 5K and Kids runs. Win a 3-day, 2-night stay at the luxurious Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo and other great raffle items. Register now, celebrate the end of tax season and get your body moving! See you there?

The FICPA Educational Foundation (EDF) gratefully acknowledges 1040K sponsors:

  • Platinum: Dosal Tobacco Corporation; Four D’s Realty, LLC
  • Legacy: Davis Family Foundation, Team Lewis
  • Gold: Berkowitz, Pollack & Brant; Crowe Horwath; Downstairs IPH, LLC; FICPA; Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra; Orion Fuels
  • Silver: Dorot & Bensimon PL; iRun; Kaufman Rossin; PwC; Robert Half
  • Bronze: BCA Watson Rice; Biscayne Bank; Brigade Bookkeeping; Cuban American CPA Association; Deloitte; KPMG; Kunin Associates; Levy Advertising; National Association of Black Accountants; Mitch Cutler, CPA; Urbieta Oil
  • FICPA Chapters: Broward County; Miami-Dade; North Dade/South Broward; Palm Beach; Southwest Florida

Last Year’s Top Honors

  • 2016 Corporate Cup (most runners registered): Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra
  • 2016 College Champion’s Cup (most runners registered): Florida International University
  • 2016 CPA & Community Runner Race Results | 10K | 5K | Photos

Register Now

For more information about the race, contact EDF Senior Director Jan Dobson at (800) 342-3197, Ext. 380 or

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The 2017-18 Year is Coming!
Is Your FICPA Record Correct?

The new FICPA membership year will open May 9 renewals are due by July 1. The 2017-2018 membership year begins July 1, 2017 and ends June 30, 2018.

  • Have you moved recently? Update your personal profile here.
  • Are you working for a new firm/company? Update your professional profile here.
  • Are you in the correct membership category? Have you retired lately? Call us at (800) 342-3197, Ext. 1.

Firm administrators – please update your rosters (delete or add new staff) in the firm portal. Need help? Please give us a call.

Thank you for your membership and support of the FICPA!

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Save on Seminars with Spring Steals



Need CPE credit near you? For your convenience, the FICPA offers seminars throughout the state on a variety of topics. Save 15 percent on all of our CPE seminars scheduled through June 30, 2017.* Take as much as you need, but hurry – this offer will expire before you know it! Find a location near you – Boca Raton | Coral Gables | Ft. Lauderdale | Ft. Myers | Jacksonville | Key West | Miami | Orlando | Panama City | Pensacola | Sarasota | Tampa | West Palm Beach.

Learn More 
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 |

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Not-for-Profit Organizations Accounting Conference
May 18-19, 2017
Tampa • Ft. Lauderdale • Online



Last year, CPAs looked forward to the release of the long-awaited Accounting Standards Update to the FASB guidelines for nonprofit accounting. This first update in 20 years was designed to simplify and improve the face of the financial statements, and enable nonprofits to better communicate their financial performance. Learn more about this update in Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale or online via Simulcast at the Not-For-Profit Organizations Accounting Conference.

Other conference sessions will address:

  • COSO internal controls
  • Endowments and application of Florida law
  • Tax compliance for nonprofits
  • Detecting and investigating fraud in nonprofits

Check out our agenda for session details and much more. Register now – time is running out!

Register for the Conference or Simulcast | Learn More 
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 |

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Florida State University Accounting Conference (17 CPE)
May 11-12, 2017
Tallahassee or Online



This convenient North Florida conference is a great way to catch up on your CPE and boost your panhandle network.

Join us at the Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center to earn up to 17 CPE credits covering employment law, internal controls, accounting for leases, tax reform, revenue recognition and more, plus the updates you need on the economy, single audit, not-for-profit reporting and GASB.

For our Thursday Lunch Presentation, Rep. Joe Gruters will give a firsthand account of the 2017 Legislative Session, covering the laws that passed and their impact on the state and your profession.

If you can’t attend in person, we’re offering up to 15 CPE credits from the conference via online Simulcast. With the in-person event and the Simulcast, first-time attendees can save $100 by using promo code NEWFSU17 during registration,* and young CPAs can save $150 by using promo code YCPAFSU17!**

Register Now | Learn More
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 |

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Mega CPE Conference (Up to 40 CPE)
June 14-17, 2017
Orlando or Online



If the two things on your mind as you emerge from busy season are taking a vacation and catching up on your CPE, the Mega CPE Conference should be the third. CPAs from all specialties will be enjoying the award-winning Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando this June at a conference room rate that simply can’t be beat.

If you join us in Orlando, you’ll be less than 10 minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World® Resort and less than 30 minutes from SeaWorld® Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort™© plus countless restaurants, shopping and other attractions. If you need to be somewhere else, you also can join us online for three full days of education in the Simulcast.

The Mega CPE Conference is a great place to catch up on your CPE. It’s loaded with:

  • Up to 32 hours of CPE plus the opportunity to earn up to eight bonus online hours with your registration
  • 53 breakout sessions covering everything from forensic accounting to corporate finance, cybersecurity and more
  • Keynote addresses from Robert Weissert, executive vice president of Florida TaxWatch; and Tim Christen, past chairman of the AICPA Board of Directors
  • Four conferences in one: This year’s Mega CPE Conference also includes the State Tax Conference, Employee Benefits Conference and Women’s Leadership Summit
  • Four early-bird sessions
  • Four general sessions
  • Four hours of ethics
  • And so much more

Register before the early-bird price deadline to attend in person and save $55. Save even more by booking early at the Gaylord Palms with our special conference rate. If you’ve never been to Mega, you can save an additional $55 by using promo code NEWMEGA17 when you register to attend 16 CPE hours of more!*

Register to Attend in Person | Simulcast – Day 1 | Simulcast – Day 2 | Simulcast – Day 3 | Learn More
Ask Us: Member Service Center (800) 342-3197 | (850) 224-2727 |

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In Memoriam

Omar del Rio – Nov. 8, 2016
Ray Walter Markham Sr. – Feb. 1, 2017
John Carey Schrenker – April 4, 2017
Richard V. Sturm – Dec. 30, 2016

Look for the next issue of FICPA NewsFlash May 4, 2017.

Comments or Suggestions?

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