Legislative Update

Get the latest news on Pennsylvania government and the issues affecting the CPA profession through Legislative Update.

  • Week Ending Sept. 21, 2018

    by PICPA Government Relations | Sep 21, 2018

    State Lawmakers Return to Session 

    State lawmakers return to session on Sept. 24 following the summer recess. A full slate of committee meetings, public hearings, and retirement speeches will keep legislators and the capitol buzzing.

    On Sept. 25, the House Finance, Local Government, and Urban Affairs committees hold a joint public hearing on Act 47, Pennsylvania’s Municipalities Financial Recovery Act.

    On Sept. 26, the House Finance Committee meets to consider House Bill 2511, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne), which would extend the authority of the state treasurer to invest monies in the Treasury according to the prudent investor standard, and House Bill 2523, sponsored by Rep. Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), which would make technical corrections to the Property Tax Relief Act. The corrections are necessary due to significant amendments to the Homestead Exclusion Program and the Local Tax Enabling Act.

    For a list of committee meetings and hearings for the week click here.

    Also, state tax reform is making quiet headway in Harrisburg. Read more about these efforts in this CPA Now blog by Peter Calcara, PICPA vice president of government relations.


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    Ryan Proposes Statute of Limitations on Collections

    PICPA member and state Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) introduced legislation that will establish a 10-year time for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR) to collect assessed personal income tax.

    Under current law, there is no time limit for the DOR to collect assessed personal income taxes. As a result, some state residents have received notices 15 to 20 years after an assessment was made. Ryan’s bill, House Bill 2644, will establish a 10-year collection window, similar to that of other states as well as federal statute. The only exception to this would be in instances were a citizen knowingly commits fraud to avoid paying assessed taxes during the established time window.

    The bill is pending in the House Finance Committee.


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    Changes Proposed to State Withholding Regulation

    The Department of Revenue (DOR) has submitted its final “Withholding of Tax” regulation to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) for consideration. The PICPA submitted comments on the proposed regulation in November 2017.

    The amendments in this final-form regulation, which address the time and place for filing reconciliation and withholding statements, are made to reduce the threshold for the electronic transmission requirement for the annual reconciliation statement from 250 to 10 or more withholding statements (Form W-2). A similar, but not identical, federal standard exists that requires employers filing 250 or more W-2s to file electronically based on a requirement set forth in the Internal Revenue Code.

    In addition, obsolete language “magnetic media” is proposed to be deleted and replaced with “electronic transmission.” The amendments in this final-form regulation change the method of filing for certain affected employers, not the information that is required to be reported. Finally, reference to specific form numbers in subsections are being eliminated.

    A public hearing on the regulation is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2018. 


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    House Committee Holds Hearing on Property Tax Reform

    The state House Finance Committee recently held a public hearing in Stroudsburg on legislation that establishes a property tax reform program that enables school districts to exclude up to 100 percent of a homeowner’s school property tax bill.

    House Bill 2329, sponsored by Reps. Marcia Hahn (R-Northampton) and Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe/Pike), would provide for interim homestead property tax elimination that Pennsylvania voters approved on Nov. 7, 2017. The amendment increased the allowable homestead and farmstead exclusion to 100 percent of the assessed value of all homesteads and farmsteads.

    HB 2329 will provide this funding by increasing the state personal income tax (PIT) by 1.72 percent to cover the amount needed to offset owner-occupied residential school property taxes. 


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    Proposal Outlined for Resolving Past Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

    To bridge the gap between conflicting House and Senate proposals addressing past cases of child sexual abuse, Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) unveiled his proposal for a comprehensive solution that avoids costly and time-consuming litigation.

    Schemel introduced legislation that would create a “Truth and Restoration Commission” to hear testimony from victims as well as the institutions responsible for past abuse. Victims with credible claims would also receive compensation from a special fund created by contributions from the institutions which concealed abusers.

    The state commission would have seven members, appointed by the governor, House, and Senate, and include an attorney, an accountant, and a psychologist. Compensation payments would be based on a formula that would consider the nature and extent of the abuse, in addition to any prior settlements and total number of victims. The commission would have a defined tenure of 10 years.


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    House Committee Examines Telemedicine Bill

    Members of the state House Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Rep. Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny), recently examined legislation that would allow health care to be more accessible and affordable by offering telemedicine options for patients.

    Telemedicine refers to the remote delivery of health care services and medical information using telecommunications technology. Using telemedicine, specialists and other health care providers can expand their reach, helping patients stay in their communities and avoid traveling long distances for specialized care.

    House Bill 1648, sponsored by Rep. Marguerite Quinn (R-Bucks), would define the term in state law and offer clarity for insurance company reimbursement for these services. Although the legislation requires payments for telemedicine services, those payments would be established between the provider and insurer.

    Among those testifying at the hearing were physicians, nurses, medical information technologists, insurance industry representatives, and a rural school superintendent.


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    Congress to Hold Hearing on IRS Taxpayer Authentication

    U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chair Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) announced that the Oversight Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Sept. 26 that will focus on how the IRS authenticates taxpayers using online tools and applications, as well as how the agency addresses weaknesses in its authentication process.

    IRS online tools and applications provide various types of services to taxpayers, such as allowing taxpayers to make electronic payments directly to the IRS, retrieve prior year tax return information, and check on the status of their tax refund.

    These online tools and applications that the IRS offers should ask taxpayers to provide the agency with a reasonable assurance that it is interacting with the correct taxpayer through an authentication process. Before allowing access to an online application, authentication must establish that individuals are who they say they are by requiring the use of username and password, a unique code that could be sent to the taxpayer’s cellphone or email address, or another unique identifier.

    IRS online tools and applications have been subject to several breaches and cyberattacks, leading to unauthorized access to millions of taxpayer accounts and hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds.

    The Government Accountability Office and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration have identified several areas where the IRS can improve the authentication of taxpayers attempting to access online tools and applications.


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Contact Government Relations

Peter Calcara | 717-232-1821
Alexandra Fabian | 717-232-1821
Annette Knapp | 717-232-1821

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