Jolt from Tax Act Springs PICPA to Action

by Michael D. Colgan, CAE | Apr 24, 2018
Pennsylvania CPA Journal
I always challenge the PICPA team to be flexible, nimble, and open to experimentation to help us improve upon our relevance and responsiveness to members. With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, this mind-set drove us to help members respond to this enormous change to the tax code.

The timing of the law’s passage and its quick implementation presented unique challenges to tax practitioners. Members were hard at work meeting 2017 filing deadlines while also fielding questions from clients on how the law impacts their tax situation. The Federal Tax Reform Guide presented by the Pennsylvania CPA Journal is a testament to the commitment and flexibility of the Editorial Board and your peers. It is only the first step in the long journey toward helping PICPA members navigate new tax realities.

As the tax legislation was being prepared, PICPA’s Federal Taxation Committee kept members apprised of developments through a series of blogs and podcasts. As early as January 2017, we were talking tax reform in our podcast series, CPA Conversations. The committee developed a series of CPA Now blogs that discussed the potential for tax reform in July; analyzed various proposals in November; provided year-end tax planning tips in December; and provided a high-level summary in early January 2018.

Continuing Education

CPE offerings in the coming year will highlight many key provisions of the new law. For members who may find it difficult to travel to popular seminar locations, you will find that we have tripled our simulcast offerings this year, and there are quite a few tax updates scheduled.

As conference planning committee members met to discuss agendas, they explored the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s effects on their areas of expertise:

  • The PICPA Not-for-Profit Conference agenda includes sessions on unrelated business income, the impact on charitable contributions, excise tax, net investment income, and fringe benefits.
  • The PICPA Health Care Conference will dive into how tax cuts will affect reimbursements.
  • PICPA Personal Financial Planning Conference speakers will uncover tax planning and estate planning strategies using the new playbook.
  • The PICPA Pennsylvania School District Conference will look at financing options under the new tax act.
  • Other fall PICPA conferences, including Financial Institutions, Multistate Tax, and Valuation & Forensic Accounting, are refining their sessions to address how federal tax law changes affect their areas of interest.
With a predicted decrease in itemized tax filers, some members will need to reshape their practices with a smaller amount of 1040 work. Tax strategy and wealth management will be growth opportunities, and the PICPA Personal Financial Planning Committee has been working on resources for those who want to explore building a PFP practice.

CPA Conversations is also an important learning tool. Here are a few of our current podcasts:


  • "Analyzing Tax Reform Changes to the Pass-Through Income Deduction”
  • “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Means Big Changes for Pennsylvania Businesses”
  • “Communicating with Clients about Tax Reform”
We will continue to provide more resources as strategies and regulations evolve. They will be housed in the Keep Informed section of the PICPA website. If you want to receive email updates, I encourage you to be sure that your PICPA profile reflects an interest in tax issues.

Pennsylvania Focused

The PICPA is keeping a close eye on developments at the state level, too. A big issue for Pennsylvania business owners has been bonus depreciation. The PICPA supports House Bill 2017, introduced by Rep. Frank Ryan, a PICPA member, which would restore depreciation deductions. The PICPA also supports Senate Bill 1056, which reverses the Department of Revenue Corporate Tax Bulletin 2017-02 and restores full depreciation. The PICPA developed an issue brief to share with legislators to help explain the implications the state’s position would have on businesses.

Consumer Outreach

PICPA’s CPA Image Enhancement Committee has developed resources to explain basic tax principles to consumers and small-business owners. Members wrote blogs explaining the tax law, changes in deductions, tax considerations related to choice of business entity, and a discussion on pass-through entities. The PICPA also produced a half-hour program on taxes that was aired on Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). We produced video snippets from the PCN program for Facebook and other video content that garnered more than 110,000 views.

Your PICPA colleagues are working hard to keep you, legislators, and consumers informed of emerging issues as we navigate the new tax law.

What aspects of the tax law do you believe merit additional PICPA attention?

Michael D. Colgan, CAE, is CEO and executive director of the PICPA. He can be reached at
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