Legislative / Regulatory | Leadership / Management | Tax | Taxation

MACPA’s busiest legislative session ever comes to a successful close

The balloons, confetti, and other traditional midnight celebrations in Annapolis on April 10 signaled more than just the end of the Maryland General Assembly’s 445th session — they also marked the conclusion of one of the busiest, most successful legislative sessions in the Maryland Association of CPAs’ history.

The MACPA’s legislative volunteers provided testimony for an astounding 21 bills this year — an all-time record. They offered comments on legislation related to corporate tax rates and reporting issues, estate taxes, income taxes, the electronic filing of tax documents, and proposed financial literacy education in public high schools.

With five issues on its agenda, the MACPA’s final 2023 legislative scorecard looks like this:

  1. Opposing sales taxes on professional services, including those provided by CPAs: Not introduced.
  2. Opposing efforts to replace Maryland’s contributory negligence standard with a comparative fault rule. Comparative fault is a legal maneuver that would result in increased costs of doing business and decreased productivity. Not introduced.
  3. Opposing the elimination of state licensing boards in an effort to lower prices for consumers and barriers to entry for businesses. Not introduced.
  4. Supporting a properly funded budget for Maryland’s Comptroller’s Office. Success.
  5. And though they offered no testimony on the issue, MACPA volunteers also offered guidance for lawmakers tasked with implementing the voter-approved sale of recreational cannabis to adults in Maryland. That guidance came in the form of 12 guiding principles of good tax policy that elected officials should take into account as they consider new legislation.

Meanwhile, with the assistance and expertise of the MACPA’s State Tax Committee, a number of other bills backed by the state’s CPAs were passed in Annapolis. Some of their most impactful testimony centered on Maryland's Office of the Comptroller.

  • The MACPA submitted testimony in support of a properly funded budget that will allow the Comptroller’s Office to retain its current team, hire additional qualified personnel by offering competitive salary levels, and allow for a more modern IT system.
  • We supported Senate Bill 659 , which would create a "21st Century Financial Systems Council," which would be tasked with improving the operations and efficiency of the state’s financial systems.
  • Legislative volunteer Jeff Lawson, chair of the MACPA's State Tax Committee, testified in support of Senate Bill 660 , which would create a Taxpayer Advocate Division within the Office of the Comptroller “to assist taxpayers and their representatives in resolving certain taxpayer problems and complaints and represent taxpayers' interests in a certain manner.” Members of the MACPA’s Tax Community have supported the creation of a Taxpayer Advocate in Maryland for years. This year, they finally had the opportunity to formalize that support.

Other CPA-supported bills that were passed in Annapolis include the following:

  • Senate Bill 240 , which provides “an addition modification under the Maryland income tax for the amount of a certain tax credit claimed for certain taxes paid to another state by a pass-through entity.” MACPA volunteers were instrumental in helping to draft amending language for this bill.
  • House Bill 687, which establ ishes rules “governing the exercise of the decanting power to distribute the property of a first trust to one or more second trusts or to modify the terms of a first trust.”
  • House Bill 179, which alters “the period of time within which a person is required to file a Maryland estate tax return for the purpose of allowing a surviving spouse to take into account the deceased spousal unused exclusion amount.”
  • Senate Bill 104, which establi shes an “Apprenticeship 2030 Commission” to make recommendations on expanding access to apprenticeships to reduce skill shortages in high-demand occupations.

Equally impressive is the fact that all of this incredible work — much of it done by members of the MACPA’s Tax Community — took place during our profession’s busiest time of the year.

“Volunteering for work as important as this while also navigating the complexities and time constraints of tax season is a herculean effort indeed,” said MACPA CEO Rebekah Brown, “and our sincere gratitude goes out to all of our legislative volunteers who took up the cause.”

Support our PAC … and strengthen the CPA’s voice in Annapolis

The MACPA's record-breaking legislative season may soon become the norm in Annapolis. Legislation and regulation are hard trends in our profession; expect to see more groundbreaking laws and regulations in the weeks, months and years to come.

That’s why we urge you to support the CPA Committee on Political Action. The CPA/CPA is the only political action committee in Maryland dedicated solely to fighting for CPAs in the legislative arena.

Good relationships with legislators are the core of the MACPA’s legislative advocacy efforts. Your contribution to the CPA/CPA is one of the easiest and most effective ways for CPAs to get involved in the political process and have an impact on the profession.

Through contributions from members like you, the PAC works toward favorable outcomes on legislative issues, educates legislators about matters that are important to the CPA profession, and keeps MACPA members informed. But we can’t do it alone. Your involvement makes a difference and ensures that, together, we make the greatest impact.

Support the MACPA’s PAC today by donating online at MACPA.org/give-PAC


Bill Sheridan