FICPA Legislative Update
Image: Legislative Update
 Florida Delegates Attend AICPA Spring Council

Image: Deborah Curry, CPA, CGMALast week, eight FICPA members served as delegates at the AICPA’s spring Council meeting in Washington, D.C. AICPA leaders from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam attended the meeting.

Our priority during the trip was taking the AICPA’s legislative agenda to members of Congress. We met with 17 of the 27 U.S. House of Representatives offices and both of Florida’s U.S. Senators. In this special edition of IMPACT Report, we’ll recap some of the issues and highlight some of the special events.

As part of the trip, the FICPA broadcasted updates on Twitter and by video on www.ficpa.org/live. We hope you had a chance to follow along as we advocated on behalf of our profession.

In addition to meeting with members of Congress, we heard an address on the status of the profession from AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. We also heard from a host of other guest speakers, including U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; Brian Peretti, director of the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury; and Billy Atkinson, chairman of the Private Company Council.
 
The Council determines AICPA programs and policies. It has approximately 260 members with representatives from every state and U.S. territory and meets twice each year.

Sincerely,

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

In Case You Missed It
Image: Graham, AICPA Urge IRS Service Resolution Image: Delegates Propose Permanent Disaster Relief Image: Mobile Workforce Act Would Limit Taxation
Justin Thames, Mia Thomas, Alan West (left to right) and Donna Mackenzie (far right) meet with Congressman Ted Yoho.

Graham, AICPA Urge IRS Service Resolution
Any Florida CPA will tell you the IRS’ customer-service level was at an all-time low this tax season. Floridians experienced record-long telephone hold times and frequent disconnections.

In response, Congresswoman Gwen Graham (CD-2) has written a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, asking him to look at the factors contributing to the IRS’ unacceptable service and the options available for improving them. Graham closes her letter by saying, “We believe it is imperative that sufficient resources are allocated to taxpayer services and that you work to ensure that agency resources will in the future be allocated appropriately to ensure that taxpayers receive adequate assistance.”

Additionally, the AICPA governing Council approved a resolution that “urges policy makers to create an objective, bipartisan forum” to offer recommendations to transform the IRS into a “modern-functioning, evolutionary and respected federal agency.” The resolution also outlines six principles, such as stakeholder engagement and empowered oversight, to guide the process. 

“Taxpayer service must remain a high priority under any circumstances,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon. “We are hopeful that an objective forum will be able to identify ways to improve IRS responsiveness to taxpayers and tax practitioners alike.”

Read Congresswoman Graham’s full letter here.

Read the full AICPA resolution here.

Jeff Barbacci, Deborah Curry, Abby Dupree and Stam Stathis (left to right) prepare to meet with Congresswoman Gwen Graham.

Delegates Propose Permanent Disaster Relief
As Florida expects an active hurricane season, the Florida delegates asked members of Congress for permanent tax relief when natural disasters strike.

 

“Because tax relief is dependent on Congressional action after every disaster, it has been available only sporadically,” the AICPA explained in a publication developed for the Hill visits. “The CPA profession believes Congress should provide fairness, certainty and consistency with permanent tax-relief measures that automatically apply once the president issues a disaster declaration.”

Based on experience with past tax relief and in partnership with state CPA societies, the AICPA identified 10 disaster tax-relief measures that should be enacted into law.

The Florida delegation to the AICPA Council asked Congress to consider the following:

  • Waive the individual casualty loss limitations
  • Extend the net operating loss carryback five years
  • Increase Section 179 expense limits
  • Increase the property replacement period to five years
  • Waive the penalty for early retirement withdrawal
  • Allow a housing exemption for displaced individuals
  • Allow discharge for indebtedness
  • Provide an employee retention credit for affected employers
  • Permit the use of prior year’s income to calculate the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Premium Tax Credit
  • Increase the Medical Expense Deduction

 

Ken Strauss, Donna Son, Tammy Velasquez, David Biedel and Joey Esptein (left to right) meet with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (front center)

Mobile Workforce Act Would Limit Taxation
Another issue discussed with members of Congress was the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, H.R. 2315, sponsored by Congressman Mike Bishop of Michigan. The bill creates a uniform national standard that will limit state or local taxation of the compensation of an employee who performs duties in more than one state or locality to:
  1. the state or locality of the employee’s residence ; and
  2. the state or locality in which the employee is physically present performing duties for more than 30 days during the calendar year in which compensation is earned.

Forty-one states impose a personal income tax on the wages of individuals whose work takes them over state lines, and several states require withholding for as little as one day of work. The accounting profession throughout the country supports this legislation, and similar legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.

Currently, from the Florida Congressional delegation, Congressmen Patrick Murphy, Dennis Ross and Ted Deutch have co-sponsored H.R.2315.


Delegates Attend Murphy Reception at Florida Embassy

Image: CPA Wins Special Primary ElectionOn the second day of AICPA Council, AICPA leaders and Florida delegates attended a reception at the Florida House with Congressman Patrick Murphy. AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon and Congressman Murphy spoke to the group about what was happening in Washington and the importance of having CPAs in Congress.

“The state of Florida is a critical point of having CPAs in Congress. Patrick Murphy would be the first CPA in the United States Congress if he is elected in Florida,” Melancon said.

Murphy, an FICPA member, recently was profiled in Florida CPA Today magazine and has spoken at several AICPA events.

Watch a video of Barry Melancon’s remarks at the reception here.

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