Legislative / Regulatory

MACPA’s 2011 legislative agenda

Mark Twain is credited with saying, "No man's life, liberty or happiness are safe while the legislature is in session."

Macpa 2011 agendaNothing could be closer to the truth as CPAs prepare for the 428th session of the Maryland General Assembly, which began on Jan. 12.

The session runs 90 days through April 11. More than 2,300 bills will be heard by Maryland's 188 legislators (47 senators and 141 delegates).

The MACPA  has set an ambitious agenda for 2011, featuring the following five priorities:

  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 would be able to get their license upon completion of the 15o credit hours. This bill (HB 1137) passed the House and Sentae committee last year but ran out of time before the end of the legislative session. See our prior post about this issue.
  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. The 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, effectively creating a lawsuit tax. This is bad legislation even in a good economy.
  5. Pass "safe harbor" legislation. This is a technical correction necessary since the passage of 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 CPAs 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.

Join us for CPA Day in Annapolis on Jan. 19 at the Governor Calvert House. Registration is free (MACPA members only), and you can register here.

We have been preparing for this for the past year by mobilizing our members through our town hall / professional issues updates. More than 2,000 CPAs have attended our town halls and have reaffirmed this agenda. They also understand the legislative process better than ever.

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