• Be Careful When Electing to Be a Campaign Treasurer

    Every four years, when it is a presidential election year, the nation tends to focus more closely on politics. Of course elections take place every year, and these campaigns involve considerable amounts of money raised and spent by all levels of candidates seeking office.
  • AR-C Section 70: Are You Prepared to Prepare?

    For years, clients have wanted to get quick and reasonably priced (read “inexpensive”) financial data at interim and year-end from their CPAs. CPAs may have wanted to deliver, but until Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review 21 and the new preparation service, this could not be done without an accountant’s compilation report.
  • The Power Behind Pennsylvania’s Uniformity Clause

    The Tax Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution is central in the tax policy debates in the state. Gov. Tom Wolf’s desire to raise the personal income tax rate from a flat 3.07 percent to a graduated system has generated speculation that the state constitution would first need to be amended.
  • Keystone Opportunity Zones: Deep Tax Knowledge Can Offer Unique Benefits

    The benefits and complexity of KOZs derive from the wide array of state and local taxes on which the program is based. Unlike other economic development and incentive programs based on singular activities such as job creation, capital investment, or geographic location, capitalizing on the benefits of the KOZ program requires an underlying knowledge of each of the taxes to which it applies.
  • Section 382(h) Proposed Regs Throw Taxpayers a Curveball

    On Sept. 9, 2019, the U.S. Treasury and IRS issued proposed regulations under IRC Section 382(h) pertaining to the interaction between built-in gains or losses with Section 382 limitations. Treasury believes the proposed regulations will simplify the application of Section 382, provide needed clarification to taxpayers in determining built-in gains and losses, and address other issues relating to Section 382 that were created as a result of tax reform (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017). Taxpayers are not as optimistic about these recent developments, and for good reason.
  • Share More, Learn More, Grow the Profession

    After more than 30 years, Maureen Renzi, vice president of communications and executive editor of this journal, retired this past October. Through the decades, Maureen worked diligently on your behalf to grow and protect the profession, create value and meaningful opportunities for our members, and enrich the lives of her colleagues. She has left an enduring mark on the PICPA and the CPA profession in Pennsylvania, and we wish her many more decades of happiness with her family and friends.
  • CPAs in Politics: Advocacy Allowed

    More than ever, the polarization of America means CPAs need to be stronger advocates for positions that protect the public – one of the basic tenets of the CPA profession and a core value. This is where we must rely on our professional judgment.
  • Employee Benefit Plan Audits Get New Set of Rules

    In July 2019, the AICPA Auditing Standards Board (ASB) issued AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA (new EBP SAS). This EBP SAS prescribes new performance requirements for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan financial statement audits and changes the form and content of the related auditor’s report to improve audit quality and enhance the communicative value and transparency of the report.
  • Generation Transfers: Five Questions to Ask Beforehand

    For too many business owners or operators, succession planning takes a back seat to day-to-day operations and short-term goals. For family businesses, succession planning involves additional stresses, such as deciding which relatives will actively participate in the business, what their roles and responsibilities will be, and how much the owner will be compensated.
  • Risk Management Protocols: First Step against Cyberthreats

    Wolters Kluwer, the provider of the CCH Tax Software suite of products, discovered an “anomaly” in the spring of 2019 that, upon further investigation, was determined to be malware infecting its systems. The company immediately took its systems off-line, and they remained so for over three days. Not only was access unavailable for most tax practitioners, many accountants began to ponder the question, “Do I have to do the data breach notification protocol mandated by my state?” Moreover, there was consternation in the profession concerning what this incident might mean for them in terms of liability exposure. The incident, as unhappy as it was, serves as a good learning moment to emphasize some risk management tools CPAs can use to protect themselves from liability exposures in the digital age.
  • Prevent Cyberattacks with These Five CPA Firm Controls

    All CPA firms have something in common: we have access to a tremendous amount of sensitive client data. If we get compromised, that means some or all of our clients are compromised as well. That is a worst-case scenario for a CPA firm, and it can be tremendously detrimental to the relationships and trust that have been established over time.
  • Related Parties Who “VIE” with Common Control

    Variable interest entity (VIE) guidance to common control leasing arrangements had been provided by ASU 2014-07 (Topic 810), but with the issuance of ASU 2018-17 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has expanded and superseded the private company alternative to all common control arrangements that meet specified criteria. The 2014 ASU introduced a private-company (nonpublic entity) scope exception to the VIE guidance for certain entities that are under common control and have leasing arrangements that meet certain conditions; the new guidance extends to nonleasing arrangements as well.
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones: Huge Tax Breaks for Community Investment

    A series of opportunity zones created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 offers those who invest in projects in these zones a new tax benefit that is unprecedented. The tax benefit could also have a positive impact on targeted communities, but there are risks associated with opportunity zone investments and the regulations involved can be complicated.
  • Robotic Process Automation: Bringing on Bots to Enhance a CPA’s Work

    Robotic process automation is a form of business process automation that combines traditional software user interfaces with optical character recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help automate the mundane and routine tasks in your business processes.
  • Automating Audits: Bridging the Gap Between CPAs and CPUs

    Internet use by some 4.39 billion people generates quintillion bytes of data each day. Companies in all industries are adopting robotic process automation, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to harness this data and become more efficient and profitable. This feature discusses the potential regulatory impact of data analytics, a few use cases for how these tools have been implemented, and some guiding principles for implementing process automation or audit data analytics.
  • Tax Reform Guidance from Treasury and the IRS

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 is the most significant overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code1 (IRC) since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Practitioners who were preparing tax returns back then likely remember the confusion surrounding parts of that law that were subject to interpretation. The best course of action was to wait, if possible, for clarification through technical corrections and guidance from the U.S. Treasury or the IRS.
  • Survey Says! Why People Leave Public Accounting

    A winter 2016 feature that takes a look at the factors that are turning away both young and established professionals from public accounting careers.
  • Form 990 Basics: Brief Overview and Best Practices

    Form 990 is an annual information return required to be filed with the IRS by most organizations that are exempt from income tax under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Although most tax-exempt organizations do not pay federal taxes, the majority must still file annually with the IRS. Form 990 not only includes financial information such as gross income, receipts, and disbursements, but also nonfinancial information such as mission, programs, and key governance information.
  • The PICPA Value Proposition

    Taking the helm of the PICPA for the 2019-2020 year is a tremendous honor. But the role also carries the substantial responsibility of maintaining our organization’s relevancy well into the future. At the core of this duty is communicating the value of PICPA membership to our 22,000 members.
  • Using an LLC for Ownership of a Vacation Home

    I am frequently asked if a limited liability company (LLC) should be used to purchase a second residence. It is often an excellent choice for clients. There are many benefits of owning a residence in the name of an LLC.
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