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Council Update with Slides

Wednesday, July 3, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Amy Spencer
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A new National Congress convenes in Washington D.C. on odd years to coincide with the election of new members of the House of Representatives that takes place on even year. On these odd years, the Spring Council of the AICPA is held in Washington D.C. Each state brings their Federal Key Persons, who have relationships with the state delegations, along with members helping with political activities. The Council meetings have a political focus and guest speakers are members of the House and Senate who speak on the current state of politics as well as how to visit our state delegations.

The purpose of holding the meetings at the beginning of the new Congress in D.C. is for each state to visit each member of that state‚Äôs delegation. Over a two day period, every member of the House and Senate is visited by CPAs in their state and are briefed on four issues set forth by the AICPA. We were fortunate to be meet with all six members of the Utah delegation. 

The four issues discussed were:
The Fiscal State of the Nation
IRS Disaster Relief
Modernizing the IRS
Taxation of the Digital Economy

We have discussed the Fiscal State of the Nation on prior visits to The Hill and were asking for members of the House and Senate to co-sponsor, or at least support, legislation. This issue had no winners or losers and was designed to assist policymakers in having long-term fiscal understanding as they make decisions that impact the nation on a short-term basis. In past years, we had advocated for a presentation by the Comptroller to a full joint session of the House and Senate. This time the proposal was a presentation to the joint budget committee meeting only with an invitation being extended to other members.

Currently the IRS is only authorized to grant extensions to file returns based on federally-declared disasters. We were asking members to co-sponsor legislation that would be introduced shortly that would allow the IRS to grant extensions based on state-declared disasters as well. Another issue that came up in our discussions that we asked our delegation to consider were digital disasters similar to the CCH data breach that occurred this year.

In a recent survey of AICPA members, just 4% agreed that the IRS is a modern, functioning agency. The IRS is still running applications today from the Kennedy era. We have talked about this in every visit to The Hill for at least the last 10 years. We pointed out that taxpayers are not the only customers as tax preparers are responsible for about 60% of the returns filed each year. Our ask in this situation was to sign a letter to the IRS commissioner to encourage modernization and specifically to establish a practitioner services division to be able to help practitioners with more complicated issues.

The final issue was merely a thought leadership piece as a resource for members of the House and Senate to refer to as issues come up with our global, digital, ever-changing economy.
We offered to be a resource to members of the delegation as issues come up that they need help understanding on a national or state level. Interestingly enough, at the end of each visit the legislator asked us what was going on with Utah tax reform and how we thought it was going to play out. Each expressed gratitude that they are spectators from the national scene and some pondered sending letters to their state representatives as a resident of their district, not as a national legislator.

The AICPA and CIMA have also completed the merger and alignment of fiscal years and the chair of the AICPA, Bill Reeb, was inaugurated at the end of the Council meeting.

Several other issues were discussed, view the slides here:

Orientation for Incoming Members of Council

CPA Evolution - Regional Council Recap

Report on Finance and Operations

The Future of Learning

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