In a recent post on our sister blog, Legislative Insider, Tom Hood offered a terrific summary of the wave of regulatory and legislative issues that is swamping the CPA profession. We're reprinting that post in its entirety below. Be sure to also read up on the MACPA's 2011 legislative agenda.

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Do you want to be a vicitm or a participant?

Protecting the CPA license and your profession is major part of our founding purpose since 1901. However, with the dizzying pace of recent federal and state legislation and regulation, we are going to need your help to stay successful.

Here is an update and how you can help.

Listen to our recap from our year-end managing partner summit that talks about the “new math” of bad legislation and our federal and state agenda.

Then read the rest of this post for updates on all of the issues and make plans to join us at CPA Day in Annapolis on Jan. 19, 2011.

Federal legislation / regulation

  1. IRS tax preparer registration (PTIN). There has been some major progress here. The IRS announced with Notice 2011-6 that non-signers in CPA firms will be exempt from test and CE requirements. See our post over at CPA Success for details.
  2. Business 1099 requirement from the Health Care Act of 2010. There have been two attempts to repeal this provision, both unsuccessful. We did get Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin to sign on as a co-sponsor in December. This will be a major effort in the new Congress in 2011. (See our earlier post here.)
  3. Monitoring of the regulation process of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act. We had five major successes in stopping unnecessary and onerous provisions, but there are more than 500 rules and regulations expected in the next few years that could adversely affect CPAs. See our post, 5 things that almost happened with Dodd-Frank.
  4. FTC “red flags” mandated identity theft policies for small business and non-profits. CPAs in practice were granted relief by year-end (see our post at CPA Success), but small businesses and non-profits (like the MACPA) will still have to comply by Dec. 31, 2010. Here is a sample policy to get you started (courtesy of the AICPA) and FTC resources.

2011 Maryland legislation

  1. Pass 120/150 legislation. This legislation will allow students to sit for the CPA exam after completing the accounting requirements in an undergraduate program. They can get their license upon completion of the 15o credit hours. This bill (HB 1137) passed the House and Senate committee last year but ran out of time before sine die. See our prior post about this here.
  2. Stop sales tax on accounting, tax, and consulting services. The real issue here is the compliance costs to CPA firms (and their clients) as intangible services are hard to identify where and when they are delivered to and from.
  3. Exempt CPAs from proposed regulation of debt counselors. CPAs' education, examination and experience requirements, along with rigorous state licensing and oversight, make it unnecessary to include CPAs in this legislation. See our prior post here.
  4. Stop the lawsuit tax. Efforts by the trial bar to liberalize tort law will be detrimental to CPAs and small businesses as the basis to argue suits would increase and liability would be linked to the entities with insurance. This means more suits and more settlements, creating effectively a lawsuit tax. This is bad legislation even in a good economy.
  5. Pass “safe harbor” legislation. This is a technical correction necessary since passing mandatory peer review legislation in 2005. This will clarify the definition of “attest” and practicing certified public accountancy in Maryland law. This will allow non-licensed accountants to prepare compilations for clients provided that they do not use AICPA SSARS language and state that they are not required to undergo peer review.

 

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