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Due Date Changes– A Way Station on the Journey

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.
― Lewis Carroll

JourneyIt started like most things we do: AICPA members needed it done. One after the other, after the other, and on and on, we heard from members who were tired of receiving complicated K-1s on October 13, 14 or even 15. “Please help us” they asked, so we turned to our Tax Executive Committee and said: “what makes sense?” And so, a multi-year, imaginative effort to craft a solution ended in a “way station” of success on July 31 when President Obama signed into law the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 3236).

The law provides for a more logical flow of a broad array of returns. The main idea was to have flow-through returns completed before the returns in which the information is reported – Forms 1040 and 1120; give folks enough time to breathe and digest the flow-through information. And so calendar-year partnerships are due March 15 and calendar year C corporations are due April 15. Partnership returns are due a month earlier than they had been, but six-month extensions are now available. Other fixes were made, too, to Forms 990, 1041 and 5500. Also, the due date for FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR) moves from June 30 to April 15, but for the first time, taxpayers will be allowed a six-month extension.

Like all our advocacy efforts, we didn’t work on this solution in a vacuum. We vetted our ideas with our entire committee structure – some 200 members strong – and also polled members outside of our committee structure. I can’t count how many articles and website and social media posts have been provided to let folks know what was going on, and we communicated often with the state CPA societies. In fact, we greatly appreciated the efforts at the state level to help move this legislation along over the last several years. Finally, we held many discussions with officials from the IRS and Treasury to understand the impact of potential changes from the government’s perspective.

One of the first things we realized was the inherent discomfort most people have with change; when you factor in the CPA community and combine that change with tax return due dates . . . well, the apprehension is understandable. It is your bread and butter and we get that. I’ve been at the AICPA a long time, but I’ve lived through a number of filing seasons in my previous life and know that the tax season psyche is ingrained. That is why we made the recommendation that any legislation have a long lead time. The good news is that the effective date for the due dates is the 2017 filing season. And we’re committed to being by your side on that journey to 2017 and beyond.

My two directors, Jina Etienne, who leads our efforts to support and improve members’ tax practices, and Melissa Labant, our lead on tax advocacy efforts, both have many years of CPA firm experience. They simply get it. Whether it’s helping you navigate the horrors of ID theft, pushing the IRS to simplify forms and rules (including those for 1099s), or advising ways to best utilize the repair regulations, they are on it.

I’m proud of what we accomplished for tax practitioners and taxpayers with the due dates legislation, but I also realize there’s more to do. As Lewis Carroll also said: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” We’re committed to doubling the pace.

Edward Karl, Vice President-Taxation, American Institute of CPAs.

Road at sunset courtesy of Shutterstock.


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