Legislative / Regulatory

Taxes on the table in Maryland. Are you ready, CPAs?

Maryland Call it what you like — "raising taxes" or "raising revenue." Either way, it appears it'll be on the table when Maryland's General Assembly returns for its 2012 session in January.

Gov. Martin O'Malley made that clear enough during a speech to local government leaders. He says an unstable federal budget picture will force state lawmakers to consider any and all economic options — including tax increases.

"We must be willing to adapt," O'Malley said in this Baltimore Sun article. "We will have to make more cuts, and at the same time — to protect our children's future — we must be open to new revenues."

One bit of good news, if you can call it that: Lawmakers apparently won't consider a tax on professional services (like those provided by CPAs) during their upcoming special session. Beyond that — say, during the 2012 General Assembly session — is anyone's guess.

All of this should be a call to arms for Maryland CPAs.

We've been warning lawmakers for years about the consequences of taxing professional services — higher costs and lower profits for small businesses, "pyramiding" taxes on additional goods and services, a devastating hit to economic growth and development. We've been fortunate thus far. Lawmakers have listened the state's CPAs and stayed away from this particular economic option.

But the governor and the General Assembly have spoken. They'll be looking for more than just spending cuts in 2012 — they'll be looking for revenue, too. That means taxes.

Will it mean a bid to tax CPA services? Time will tell, but we need to be ready.

  • Step 1: Keep a close eye on what happens during the General Assembly's special session this October. The focus will be on redistricting, but don't count out some discussion on taxes. Read our legislative blog, CPA Legislative Insider, for a blow-by-blow account of the important stuff.
  • Step 2: Save the date for CPA Day in Annapolis. The 2012 edition will be held on Jan. 18, and given the economic climate, it might be the most important one yet. Make plans now to join us in Annapolis. Get details and register here.

We've talked for years about the profession's mission to protect the public. Now's the time. Want to positively impact your clients, your profession, and the public at large? Keep an eye on this issue. Be ready to step up when called upon. This is a big one.

Want to learn more?
The MACPA's most recent Issue Alert offers details on this and a bunch of other important issues. Read more here.


Bill Sheridan