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While You Were Coping With a Filing Season out of...

Sleeping-CPAIt’s hard to believe that I’m coming up on my 30-year anniversary at the AICPA.  Before that, I spent eight years in public practice – six with a local firm and two with an international one. Truth is those 30 years have not dimmed the memories of the challenge of filing season.  I joke about those memories but I also admit about how important it is for me to “feel the pain.” 

So many of our members are in public practice and have to “live the pain.”  That is one of the reasons why I am glad that my two directors have experienced many, many filing seasons - one of them ran her own practice for 17 years – as it motivates the Tax Team even more to lessen our members’ pain.

So with this filing season out of... well, you get the picture... we also heard from many of you.  “Ed, get the IRS to give us a number of extra weeks or even a month to get things done!” But for every one of those messages, I heard many times over: “Are you crazy? Don’t you dare ask the IRS to extend the pain!” Even if they wanted to, the IRS could not have extended filing season as the original due dates are set by statute.

Just like our members, the IRS had a rough hand dealt to them with a new tax law not getting enacted until Jan. 2. We appreciated the IRS’ efforts but didn’t hesitate to push back when they announced the delay of several forms; consequently, a few forms did come out earlier, including the depreciation form (4562). The IRS also reacted favorably to our request to mitigate penalties in connection to the delayed forms. Take a look at Notice 2013-24; it may help you should any of your clients receive a penalty notice and one of the delayed forms contributed to the problem.

I would love to take credit for these types of successes but we are a member-driven organization. I have to give a shout out to the 200+ members who serve on our committees, technical resource panels and task forces, and, despite the horrid filing season, were able to dig deep and help move our work forward.  And cheers to Jeff Porter, chair of our Tax Executive Committee, who flew to DC the evening of April 15 so that he could represent AICPA at a congressional hearing on tax reform.

Tax reform discussions continued in Washington and so did our thought leadership in this area.  Weekly conference calls, numerous meetings on Capitol Hill, and completion of our Compendium of Legislative Proposals - a 50-page package of simplification and technical improvements that will help make the tax system more administrable. We’ve also just sent Congress our updated white paper, Civil Tax Penalties: The Need for Reform; and we continue to promote tax return due date re-alignment. Again, thank you to our volunteers – you’ve done so much!

So I suspect that a better-than-normal vacation is in order this year for all of you - enjoy! And when you catch your breath again, let me know what’s on your mind as we continue to represent you as the premier provider of tax services.

Edward S. Karl, CPA, Vice President of Taxation, American Institute of CPAs.

Tired office worker image via Shutterstock



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