March-madness4How is basketball like legislative advocacy?

In March everything comes down to the wire until midnight on the last day of the Session – midnight on April 9th.

The House and Senate and their respective committees are like the regionals and divisions in the famous NCAA Basketball tournament. As CPAs, we have our “picks” being the “bad” bills that we want to stop and the “good” ones we want to pass.

With less than two weeks left, we are coming down to the wire and still advancing in our brackets!

Here is where we stand:

Opposing HB 1051, 'Sales and Use Tax – Services’ – No action in House Ways & Means Committee

The measure would impose a sales tax on professional services, including many of those provided by CPAs.

Opposing (with Amendments) SB 152 / HB 87, the 'Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2012' – Amendments to bills took out broad language and restricted to just internet purchases

These bills originally included a provision that would have extended the state's sales tax to include any product that is electronically downloaded. The so-called “digital download tax” was so vague that it could have encompassed online payroll services, accounting software with service, payment processing and research services, all of which could directly impact Maryland CPAs.

Suporting SB 1086 Income Tax  – Credits – Electronic Filing Requirements – Passed Committee and Second Reading in Senate

In order to improve the transparency and efficiency of DBED’s tax incentive programs, it is necessary to have accurate and detailed information. The current paper tax return system does not possess the analytical advantages of an electronic tax return, and poses difficulties when measuring the progress of DBED’s tax incentive programs. By mandating that businesses utilize an electronic system to claim a few tax credits, DBED and the Comptroller’s Office will be able to assess the practicality of a fully electronic filing system, and improve DBED’s ability to offer the most effective tax incentives to businesses.

Opposing SB 269 / HB 941 Maryland Business Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting) – Defeat in Senate Budget & Tax (7-6) & No action in House

Our opposition was based on compliance complexity and we asked for a an extended implementation time for tax preparers and corporations to be able to understand the reporting issues before actually filing of the taxes.

Two bills that would reduce the compliance burden on small businesses and simplify our Maryland tax structure:

Supporting HB 203Maryland Death Taxes – “Family Property Protection Act” – No action in Committee

Supporting HB 581 Income Tax – Expensing of Business Property and Bonus Depreciation – No Action in Committee

That is four for four and two in “limbo” for the session so far. Overall our major issues are headed for victory and we will keep you posted until the final buzeer strikes at midnight on April 9th!

Press coverage:

MACPA – Maryland CPAs raise their voices to fight onerous tax legislation 

AccoutingWeb – Maryland CPAs Are Fighting Proposed Tax on Professional Services

CPA Practice Adviser – Maryland CPAs Campaign to Fight New Tax Legislation

CityBizList – Maryland CPAs Launch Grassroots Campaign to Fight Tax Legislation

BBJ – Maryland Businesses Caught in General Assembly Tax Debate

Maryland Chamber – Tax Credit Evaluation Bill & Senate Committee Rejects Digital Downloads Tax

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