The AICPA represents the CPA profession and its interests before the government and regulatory bodies. The AICPA regularly meets with the White House, Congress and regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.
Ever found yourself wondering why all the fuss over patent trolls? Aren’t patent holders entitled to invention protection and the right to license their discovery to others who manufacture and sell it? Of course. But, in a disturbing trend, many patent assertion entities – better known as patent trolls – are using litigation to wrongfully target end-users of such products.
If, for example, your office has a copier with a “scan to email” function, your company or employer could be at risk. As holders of vague patents, some PAEs have sent letters to small businesses, demanding approximately $1,000 per employee for the use of such scanners. The demand letter’s message: settle or be sued. Most choose to settle, primarily because of concerns about the cost of a defense.
Continue reading "Trumping the Patent Trolls" »
What opportunities and challenges does the head of the AICPA foresee for the CPA profession in 2014? What were the profession’s significant achievements in 2013? Barry C. Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, answers these questions and offers insights on how the profession will continue to adapt to today’s changing environment, addressing clients’ and employer’s needs. Citing successes with regulation, legislation, recruitment and positioning the profession for the future, Barry strongly believes CPAs will build on a solid foundation.
1. What were the AICPA’s legislative or regulatory priorities this past year and what’s in store for 2014?
We continued to have success in the advocacy area in 2013. In one significant victory for the profession and the public, the Securities and Exchange Commission exempted CPAs from registration as municipal advisers when they are providing certain accounting or attest services. We urged the SEC to exempt CPAs from the definition of municipal advisers after it had indicated that anyone performing accounting services for governments would be defined as a “municipal adviser.” It was critical that our voices be heard on this issue because such a broad definition would have made it more difficult for CPAs to serve governments and potential investors without taking on unnecessary and duplicative costs or compliance burdens.
Continue reading "Q&A with Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA President & CEO" »
Humorist Art Buchwald once described tax reform as taking
the taxes off things that have been taxed in the past and putting taxes on
things that haven’t been taxed before. Buchwald’s amusing analysis notwithstanding,
tax reform is an arduous task. There are a lot of moving parts being studied on
Capitol Hill at the moment. And one part in particular is of great concern to
the nation’s CPAs.
As Congress considers the most significant attempt at tax
reform in almost 30 years, the House Ways and Means Committee has produced a
small business tax reform discussion draft that focuses on simplifying the tax
codes for small businesses, including individuals and passthrough entities.
While supportive of the Committee’s efforts to simplify the tax code and
responsiveness to taxpayer concerns that the code is too complex, the AICPA
strongly opposes a proposed limitation on the use of the cash basis method (for
the non-CPAs among us, the cash method recognizes revenue and expenses when
cash is received or disbursed rather than when earned or incurred. It is
simpler in application, has lower compliance costs, and does not require
taxpayers to pay tax before receiving the income being taxed).
Continue reading "Preserving Cash Accounting" »
Across the county, state legislatures considered numerous issues that impact the CPA profession. In part two of this two-part post, we review issues dealing with: CPAs providing services for marijuana-related businesses, state board of accountancy reorganizations, sales tax on professional services and peer review.
Marijuana Businesses and CPAs
An issue with implications for the CPA profession centers on the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use. While the sale and use of marijuana is illegal at the federal level, state governments and voters are increasingly showing a willingness, in certain jurisdictions, to decriminalize the drug. In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The AICPA, with input from the Colorado and Washington state CPA societies, has developed an issue brief that gives an overview of U.S. recreational and medicinal marijuana laws, the current legislative/regulatory environment and information for CPAs considering providing services to businesses that operate in these industries (including a list of questions for CPAs to ask themselves before considering this line of work).
Continue reading "Fall Review of State Legislative and Regulatory Issues: Part 2 of 2" »
Across the county, state legislatures considered numerous
issues that impact the CPA profession. In
Part one of this two-part post, we review legislation that affected CPA
mobility, including streamlining military family licensure processes, promoting
film tax credits and creating state tax tribunals. Part two will cover state board
reorganizations, sales tax on professional services, new peer review laws and CPAs
providing services for marijuana-related businesses.
Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia have
passed individual CPA mobility
laws and the remaining U.S. jurisdictions are working toward this goal. These laws allow CPAs to operate across state
lines without obtaining reciprocal licenses in each state in which they
practice. New state legislation is sometimes
proposed in a way that can have unintended consequences on the profession’s mobility
regime. This year, there were three particularly
noteworthy areas where CPA cross-border practice could have been put in
jeopardy. These included:
- the easing
of occupational licensing requirements for members of the military and their
- the creation of film tax incentives requiring audits by in-state
- the establishment of state tax tribunals wherein CPAs would seek
to represent taxpayers.
Continue reading "Fall Review of State Legislative and Regulatory Issues: Part 1 of 2" »