FICPA Legislative Update
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 Florida and D.C. Heat Up Ahead of Elections

Image: Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMANot only is August a month for hot Florida weather, it's the time when state politics heat up. Congress is heading home for recess and the primary elections are set for Aug. 26. Your association is out in full force, meeting with candidates and legislators to build the relationships necessary to be effective in Tallahassee.

As part of our continued endeavors to update you on our advocacy efforts during the year, I'm pleased to share with you the first video edition of the legislative update.

Image: FICPA 2014 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Through IMPACT Report, we'll continue to update you on our progress and inform you about priority issues each month.

Thank you for your continued support of the FICPA.


Image: Deborah Curry Signature
Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMA
FICPA President/CEO

In Case You Missed It
Image: Florida CPA Lawmaker Speaks on AICPA Tax Panel Image: U.S. House Passes Internet Tax Ban, Senate Unsure Image: Appliance Tax Holiday Approaches
Florida CPA Lawmaker Speaks on AICPA Tax Panel
Florida Rep. David Richardson, CPA and Louisiana Rep. Julie Stokes, CPA participated on a panel of guest speakers discussing emerging state tax issues during the State Tax Policy Pre-session held the day before the AICPA & CPA State Executives Association (CPA/SEA) Interchange Conference in New Orleans.

Panel members discussed the IRS’ recent actions to regulate tax-return preparers; sales tax on professional services; comprehensive state tax reform initiatives; and the impact of federal tax changes on the states. The discussions provided insight into issues that state legislatures could take up in the coming years.

FICPA governmental affairs staff participated in the event and continues to monitor these issues as part of the efforts in Tallahassee.


U.S. House Passes Internet Tax Ban, Senate Unsure
With the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) set to expire on Nov. 1, Congress is discussing options for the future of the Internet and taxation. The House of Representatives passed legislation in early July that would permanently ban the government from taxing Internet access or levying discriminatory Internet-specific taxes on things such as email or bandwidth. Although the Senate has a companion version of the same legislation, several key Senate Democrats made a move to couple the more controversial taxation online sales, most widely known as the Market Place Fairness Act, with a 10-year extension of ITFA.

With little hope of moving a bundled plan through the House and hearing from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Majority Leader Harry Reid shifted away from the plan to combine the two initiatives last week as the August recess approached. The more likely outcome will be that the ITFA extension will pass both chambers just in time to meet the November deadline. The outcome of the mid-term elections in November, and the makeup of both chambers afterward, will determine how much traction the issues of banning Internet taxation and taxing online sales will have moving forward.


Appliance Tax Holiday Approaches
After taking advantage of the back-to-school sales-tax holiday last weekend, Floridians will have one more chance to save money, coming up in September.

After taking advantage of the back-to-school sales-tax holiday last weekend, Floridians will have one more chance to save money. Starting Sept. 19, all Energy Star and WaterSense products will be exempt from state sales tax. The exemption applies to the first $1,500 of the sales price of a new Energy Star or WaterSense product.

Energy Star is the government rating for efficient appliances, such as air conditioners, air purifiers, ceiling fans, clothes washers and dryers, dehumidifiers, dishwashers, freezers, refrigerators and water heaters. Items that would apply for the WaterSense rating are bathroom faucets and accessories, high-efficiency toilets, showerheads and other items that conserve water.

Before the sales-tax holiday begins, the FICPA will share information from the Florida Department of Revenue to help members educate clients.



Image: AICPA Files Suit Against IRS Image: IRS Warns Taxpayers About Scam Image: Governor Appoints Keegan to BOA
AICPA Files Suit Against IRS
On July 15, the AICPA filed a lawsuit against the IRS in U.S. District Court regarding the IRS’ voluntary “annual filing season program.” The lawsuit challenges IRS’ new rule regulating tax-return preparers.

This recent challenge by the AICPA comes after a federal courts ruling struck down the IRS’ attempt to regulate tax-return preparers in the Loving v. IRS case.

“The AICPA has been a steadfast supporter of the IRS’ overall goals of enhancing compliance by tax return preparers and elevating ethical conduct. However, the IRS’ new rule regulating tax-return preparers is an unlawful exercise of government power,” AICPA President and CEO Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA said in a statement last month.

Melancon further suggests that the new rule creating the voluntary program does nothing to address the issues with tax-return preparers, and the IRS should be prevented from moving forward.

Read the full statement from the AICPA.


IRS Warns Taxpayers About Scam
The IRS has identified a nationwide scam to defraud taxpayers. Individuals claiming to be IRS agents are telling taxpayers they owe taxes that must be paid with a pre-paid debit card or by wire transfer.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has issued a warning to taxpayers to be aware of this fraud and providing guidance on reporting any fraudulent calls they may receive. See TIGTA’s press release.

We encourage FICPA members to educate their clients about this potential threat. Taxpayers who have been victims of the scam can report it to TIGTA here.

The FICPA will continue to monitor the IRS and TIGTA’s activity related to this and other acts of fraud targeting taxpayers. For a list of suspicious activities the IRS has identified as potential risks for clients, visit the IRS website.
Governor Appoints Keegan to BOA
Gov. Rick Scott appointed Tracy Keegan to the Board of Accountancy last week.

Keegan, of Naples, is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of First Southern Bank. She succeeds Teresa Borcheck and is appointed for a term beginning July 14, 2014 and ending Oct. 31, 2017. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate. We look forward to working with Keegan on issues that impact the profession.

If you’re interested in serving on a statewide board, please contact your governmental affairs department and send a copy of your bio and resume.

Gubernatorial Race Heats Up

July was a big month for the gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Rick Scott and his challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist announced Annette Taddeo-Goldstein of Miami as his running mate. Taddeo-Goldstein, the current Miami-Dade Democratic Party chair, previously ran for the U.S. Congress against Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Gubernatorial candidates typically don't announce their running mates this early. With polling data showing the race is as close as it's ever been, there's much speculation about what effect the early announcement will have. Taddeo-Goldstein's has the potential to attract female and Hispanic voters, but how much she can help former Gov. Crist statewide is yet to be seen. The first indication will come on Aug. 26 when voters head to the polls for the primary election between Crist and former Sen. Nan Rich.

Stay tuned for more on the gubernatorial race and other campaigns throughout Florida.

CPA/PAC Looks to Members as Elections Approach

Image: Stronger Together: Your Florida CPA/PAC The 2014 elections are fast approaching and the Florida CPA/PAC’s annual outreach efforts are in full swing. In July, the PAC began its annual fundraising campaign among the Top 250 firms in the state. During the last 10 years, the FICPA has recognized more than 80 of the leading firms in Florida for their generous support of this annual campaign.

To see last year’s leading firms, read more about the PAC or contribute, click here.

To do your part by contributing as little as $25 today, just click the contribute button below.

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