Tax Patent We (the AICPA & MACPA) are trying to make sure you aren't.

Did you know that a simple excel spreadsheet to calculate a conversion to a Roth IRA, which almost every CPA would create after reading the tax code, is patented?

Well it is and you could be sued to “cease & desist”  if you were found to have a similar spreadsheet.

I found a link to it from The Finance Buff on Tax Patents, where he said, “I looked it up and lo and behold it’s there. U.S. Patent 6,058,376 “Process for evaluating the financial consequences of converting a standard form I.R.A. to the Roth form I.R.A.”

Here’s a quote from the summary of the patent:

“Disclosed is a computer-implemented process for evaluating the financial consequences of converting a standard format IRA to a new Roth form IRA. The process includes computing and disclosing the substantial federal income tax consequences involved in converting the standard form IRA to the Roth form.”” 

and there is plenty more of these to watch out for – see the USPO list here.

That is why I am pleased to report some progress on our (AICPA & MACPA) advocacy efforts to make these tax patents similar to medical patents, unenforceable due to the public interest.

Imagine if no other CPAs could create spreadsheets to support conversions to Roth IRAs? or the numerousother basic calculations needed to address the issues of the US Tax Code?

Read the latest legislative recap we just received from AICPA's Vice President of State Society Affairs, Cynthia Lund (and our Capitol Hill watchdog):

“The Senate Judiciary Committee did not receive any amendments to strike the tax strategy patent language from S. 23, the larger Patent Reform Act of 2011, and we received word from several Senate offices that they had heard from CPAs in their state.”

Our grassroots efforts were reflected in Senator Grassley's comments as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the need to exempt tax strategy patents (TSP)

Here is the AICPA's letter to the Committee and ours Download Sen Cardin – Patent Reform Act S 23 which was joined by 13 other State CPA Societies reflecting the voices and concerns of our members. AICPA CEO, Barry Melancon has said many times, that the collaboration and cooperation between the AICPA and the State CPA Societies is one of the best, if not the best,  among other professions and national associations. Mobility is a great example of that, as is working together on the federal agenda.

The power of WE!

While we still have a long way to go, this is critical first step.

More resources:

See our post about the collaboration curve)

Ten reasons to support your state CPA association

Private Wealth magazine article, Supreme Court fans flames on tax patents

BusinessWeek article, Sorry That Tax Plan is Patented

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