FICPA Legislative Update
Image: Legislative Update
 Summer Ends, Elections Pass Halfway Mark

Image: Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMASchool has begun, summer is almost over and it's an election year. The profession already has something to celebrate as our very own were re-elected last week. Congratulations to State Reps. Dan Raulerson of Plant City and David Richardson of Miami Beach! We're so proud to know they'll continue fighting for Florida CPAs and closely watching the state's finances.

With the primary elections over, we look to two other CPAs still pushing forward to November. U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy and Florida Rep. Michael Bileca will have opposition in the general elections, and they're working hard to become re-elected. We'll keep everyone informed of their progress leading up to Election Day.

With new candidates running for office throughout the state, your participation makes a big difference in our advocacy efforts. Our Key Person Contacts (KPC) program is a vital component of our communication with elected leaders. An election year is the best time to begin new relationships, or rekindle old ones, with your local legislators.

Please join us as we make sure CPAs have a voice in the process.

Sincerely,

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

In Case You Missed It
Image: State Rolls Back Tag Fees Image: Florida Trend Names FICPA Member-Firms Best to Work For Image: FICPA on Watch as Marijuana Law Takes Shape
State Rolls Back Tag Fees
Yesterday, Florida vehicle registration fees – raised in 2009 to cover budget shortfalls – were reduced by an average of $25. Gov. Rick Scott's administration and the Florida Legislature have characterized the reductions as a tax cut for Florida drivers. The reductions will add up to about $400 million per year that the state won't collect from citizens.

"Floridians deserve to keep more of their hard earned money,"Scott said when he announced the cuts taking effect last week.

How much drivers save will depend. The annual vehicle-specific renewal fee decreases by:
  • $3.50 for motorcycles
  • $5 for automobiles less than 2,500 pounds and trucks less than 2,000 pounds
  • $8 for automobiles 2,500 to 3,499 pounds and trucks 2,000 to 2,999 pounds
  • $11.50 for automobiles 3,500 pounds or more and trucks 3,000 to 4,999 pounds
  • There is no vehicle-specific savings for trucks 5,000 or more pounds, or for any leased vehicle.

The initial vehicle registration fee will stay the same – $225. Those who've already renewed for two years won't see the benefits this time. The state won't offer refunds.

If you have questions, email your Governmental Affairs staff at govaffairs@ficpa.org.

Florida Trend Names FICPA Member-Firms Best to Work For
As Florida Trend tells readers, "For more than 50 years, the magazine has reported on the people and issues that have defined Florida and shaped its future."

Seven FICPA member-firms were included in the magazine's "Best Companies to Work For 2014,"its sixth annual ranking of Florida companies. The list was comprised of companies that have 15 or more employees in Florida and chose to participate in the survey process.

Best Companies Group conducted the survey, observing all aspects of the companies and randomly soliciting feedback from employees.
  • Avarett Warmus Durkee - Orlando
  • Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants - Miami
  • Cross, Fernandez & Riley, LLP - Orlando
  • Ennis, Pellum & Associates CPAs - Jacksonville
  • Gregory, Sharer, & Stuart CPAs - St. Petersburg
  • Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Co. - Fort Myers
  • Myers, Brettholtz & Co., PA - Fort Myers
See the entire list of companies.
FICPA on Watch as Marijuana Law Takes Shape
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) Office of Compassionate Use held its second workshop Aug. 1 to discuss implementation of the "Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014,"which passed during the 2014 Legislative Session. DOH will develop the administrative code rules to implement the new law, which allows the use of a "non-euphoric"marijuana extract that has been proven to be an effective treatment for children with intractable epileptic seizures.

The law and rules will create the regulatory framework that will allow patients to receive the new treatment beginning Jan. 1.

As part of the framework, DOH will approve five organizations in Florida to cultivate, process and dispense the non-euphoric marijuana. The approval process DOH is considering would require the organizations to provide financial information as part of their applications.

The FICPA has monitored this process and is actively involved to ensure that any financial information CPAs may prepare does not conflict with professional standards. As the draft rules progress, the FICPA will continue to update you on the potential impact to the profession.

For legislative or regulatory questions, contact the FICPA Governmental Affairs Department at govaffiars@ficpa.org.

 

     
Image: IRS Limits Deposits to Fight Fraud Image: Pigskins Bring Green to the Sunshine State Image: Primary Elections Lack Voter Turn Out
IRS Limits Deposits to Fight Fraud
Florida is ground zero for tax return and identity theft. In 2012, the FICPA Federal Taxation Committee sent a letter to Congress outlining Florida practitioners' concern and potential solutions to combat the growing number of fraudulent returns.

In July, the IRS addressed a recommendation from the Committee and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concerning direct deposit of tax refunds.

Effective January 2015, the IRS will limit the number of refunds to a single financial account or prepaid debit card.

The move seeks to prevent criminals from fraudulently receiving multiple refunds.Taxpayers will only be allowed to receive three refunds by direct deposit. They will receive any additional refunds via a check in the mail.

Read more about this IRS initiative here.

 

Pigskins Bring Green to the Sunshine State
Thousands of college football fans donned their school colors last weekend as this year's season kicked off. Although the fans and players are looking at wins and losses, the state of Florida will only see a win-win this season, according to a recent report from the watchdog group Florida TaxWatch.

According to the research group, Florida's college football programs are substantially impacting the state's economy and their success could give all Floridians a reason to celebrate.

"Florida taxpayers should be cheering on Florida football programs this year, because Florida team wins create value for the state,"said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro.

The ripple effect from a successful football team can bring big bucks to local communities. Tallahassee's visitor bureau, Visit Tallahassee, suggests a Florida State University home football game can bring between $1.5 and $10 million to the economy, depending on the opponent.

Read the full report from TaxWatch.

Primary Elections Lack Voter Turn Out
Hopefully, if you're reading each issue of IMPACT Report, you were motivated to vote last week in Florida's primary elections. If so, you were among the 17.55 percent of those who did. Wait a minute – 17.55 percent?

It's not a typo. The statewide voter turnout was the lowest since 1998. If these elections are any indication of what's to come in November, there could be some big surprises on election night.

Looking to the general election, there already are 46 state legislators elected without opposition – eight senators and 38 representatives. This includes our CPA legislators, Reps. Dan Raulerson and David Richardson!

 

Last week's elections determined eight races, and there are another 12 in which the winner will face only a minor party or write-in candidate in the general.

The remaining 94 races for the state House and Senate will face an opponent from the opposing party on Nov. 4.

PAC Holds Wine & Spirits Fundraiser at Accounting Show

Image: Stronger Together: Your Florida CPA/PAC During the 29th Annual Accounting Show, the Florida CPA/PAC directors are planning a fun event to highlight the PAC's activities and raise funds for the upcoming general elections.

Those who contribute $50 to the PAC at the show will have the opportunity to select one of the more than 70 fine bottles of wine and spirits that have been donated. Everyone who participates is a GUARANTEED winner, but there will be a limited number of bottles. Once they're gone, we're "tapped."

Look for the Florida CPA/PAC Board of Directors or visit the Florida CPA/PAC table for more information at the event.

Can't attend? No problem! You can show your support at www.ficpa.org/paccontribute. Please consider donating the value of at least one hour of your time each year to your Florida CPA/PAC.

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