By Meg Killian, vice president – member relations
From historic cases in the court to historic wins on the field, PICPA’s CPA Now blogs chronicled the hot topics and discussions of 2018. What topic got the most attention? Taxes, taxes, and more taxes. (No big surprise there; we know CPAs love to talk taxes.) Stories about CPA licensing and continuing education requirements also drew a lot of attention. Members count on us to monitor, advocate for, and report on the things that matter most to them. So, in case you missed it, here are the top 10 PICPA blog posts of the past year.
The PICPA secured a huge legislative victory in May 2018 with passage of House Bill 866. The law, which went into effect in July, protects taxpayers from double taxation and streamlines the collection process. Does this seem like déjà vu? Perhaps you are remembering that Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a similar bill back in November 2016.
Just when everyone was starting to make some sense of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Bob Duquette, CPA, told us that the next round of federal tax reform is already being discussed. With the midterm election results and low polling numbers for the original legislation, it hasn’t gained much traction in the legislature yet. Be sure that Bob is monitoring this situation, and will let us know when Congress is set to reignite this discussion.
Good news out of the state legislature this year: it approved the expungement of certain offenses from the disciplinary records of CPA licensees and other credential holders. While the new law is still not official at the end of 2018, it is expected to go into effect sometime in 2019. Then, Peter Calcara, PICPA vice president of government relations, will be high fiving through the halls of the state capitol. They will be figurative high fives, of course, but nonetheless this has been a legislative priority of the PICPA for years, and a celebration will be in order.
I am not even going to begin to try to explain this. Chris Humes, CPA, did a much better job in his June post. The bottom line is nobody likes to be surprised by a big tax bill, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put many at risk of just that. It’s too late to fix your withholding for 2018 taxes, but it’s still worth a read so you can make sure you fix your withholdings in 2019.
The same Wayfair that sells stylish home furnishings and accessories went to battle with the state of South Dakota over what constitutes nexus with regard to sales tax on out-of-state purchases. In a 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, it was decided that "The Internet's prevalence and power have changed the dynamics of the national economy," and states do have the right to collect sales taxes on these purchases. Jason Skrinak, CPA, RKL’s state and local tax expert, provided some guidance on how businesses should prepare for the eventual enactment of these standards by state governments.
Leave it to a CPA/Eagles fan to find a business story in a Super Bowl win. Rebecca Kirby and Matt Melinson from Grant Thornton returned from the Eagles’ victory parade revelry, reflected on the long-suffering but finally victorious birds, and found both business and life lessons that all of us can appreciate – even staunchly nonsports people such as myself.
There hasn’t been any substantive tax reform discussion in Pennsylvania since 2004. With the Tax Foundation’s report, Pennsylvania: A 21st Century Tax Code for the Commonwealth, guiding the discussion and landmark court cases (see number 6 above), state tax reform is likely going to get some traction in the 2019 legislative session.
Did you know PICPA’s Ask a CPA service receives hundreds of submissions each year from consumers? Capital gains tax was a popular topic over the past year on this online service, and this post back in March helped to explain what capital gains taxes are and their implications for taxpayers.
Back in February, Cheri Freeh, CPA, warned us that Pennsylvania businesses have some new state income tax withholding requirements. While there was some buzz about repealing the requirement, which the Wolf administration opposes, the PICPA continues to work with the Department of Revenue and key state lawmakers to address concerns raised by our members and taxpayers that will ease the burden to comply with the requirement.
Mike Colgan, PICPA’s CEO, once again claims the prize as the top CPA Now blogger for 2018. It’s usually a solid race between Mike and Peter Calcara throughout the year. Lucky for him, the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy usually does something exciting at the end of year, and then he gets to share the big story with us all. Behold the top story of 2018: Do I need A&A credits or not? The answer is … well, that depends.
It was a busy year with lots of exciting developments on both the state and national fronts. Keep up with more news and issues on CPA Now in 2019.
Best wishes for a happy and successful new year!