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When the clock struck midnight on April 12, the confetti and ballons fell on Mike Busch, the speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, signaling the end of the 428th session of the Maryland General Assembly, or Sine Die.

Or as Mark Twain might say, your life, liberty and happiness are safe until next year.

As CPAs, we had the most successful session in our 111-year history in Maryland. If you've been following along and keeping score, here is where we ended up:

We started the session with five priorities and accomplished all five!

  1. Pass 120/150 CPA exam requirements: SB 287 (this was carried over from last year).
  2. Stop sales tax on accounting, tax and consulting services (done — not introduced).
  3. Exempt CPAs from debt counseling registration (done — language in bills).
  4. Stop the “lawsuit tax” or unnecessary liability from comparative fault (done — not introduced).
  5. Pass “safe harbor” legislation for compilations for non-CPAs SB 370 / HB 328 (this fixes the confusion created by a 1981 Attorney General Opinion and was necessary to fix mandatory peer review).

There were a couple of more victories on top of this. The “cemetery bill” was withdrawn to stop CPA audit requirements, and combined reporting bills ended up with no action. This is in addition to victories at the federal level with FTC “red flags,” Dodd-Frank, 1099s and tax strategy patents.

All of these came to closure last week, and I must admit, it was quite different sitting in the gallery for Sine Die without any of our bills hanging in the air. (See the Twitter stream from last night here.)

The other thing I want to point out is that all of our bills were passed unanimously in both the Senate and House and without the need for any grassroots efforts other than testimony in the committees.

Why? I think it had a lot to do with the tremendous showing at CPA Day in Annapolis (which, by the way, has been schedule for Jan. 18, 2012; mark you calendars now). With record attendance and a prepared and informed mass of CPAs, the legislators heard your message very well.

Great job to all who helped! All of our MACPA members owe you a debt of gratitude, and so do we.

All CPAs who attended CPA Day and helped with legislative contacts are invited to be recognized along with all newly licensed CPAs at the Maryland CPA Summit and Swearing-in Ceremony on June 2. The 2011 CPA Summit is scheduled for June 3.

See our CPA Day coverage in Going Concern by blogger Adrienne Gonzalez, and on MACPA member Sharon Gubinsky's blog. You'll find photos here and here and our near famous “new math of legislation video.”

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