“May you live in interesting times”
By Neil H. Fishman, CPA, CFE, FCPA, CAMS, National President, NCCPAP
What we have experienced in the first half of this year has never been seen by most people alive today—a combination of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1919 combined with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The impact to our country from both economic and social perspectives has been devastating to many. Businesses have been forced to close and some may never reopen. Businesses that have begun to restart, in many cases, are not allowed to be at full capacity for various reasons, including social distancing and employees remaining on unemployment because of higher compensation than their previous jobs had paid. As a national organization, National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) stands as one—one voice of the independent CPA, and one who advocates for millions of individual and business taxpayers.
The Federal Government has attempted to help the business community—with the CARES Act, EIDL, and PPP loans. Many businesses are now also eligible for an SBA loan. While many have taken advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we find that the Federal Government is tripping over its own feet with execution of the details and conflicting interpretations of the intent. With many of these programs, people rushed in to apply for funding, only to find out that once the funding was approved and received, the rules changed regarding what will be forgiven and what will become a repayable loan at a very low interest rate, but in a very short payback period. When Congress wrote the CARES Act, many portions of it were vague and subject to interpretation. The Internal Revenue Service interpreted the Act and made announcements as to how certain aspects were to be treated from a tax perspective. Congress, upon seeing these interpretations, responded by writing additional legislation, which once passed, would override and reverse the IRS rulings.
We have seen disagreements between the Federal and State governments with regard to getting much needed supplies and equipment for those we call first responders. In the beginning of the current crisis, hospitals and other facilities were short in supply of everything that was needed. Doctors and nurses were instructed to reuse masks, gowns and gloves as much as possible, even though standard procedure would be to dispose of them between seeing patients. These disagreements have now expanded to when and how the country should open back up. Some want it to happen quickly; others are more cautious. Some individuals have taken to stop wearing protective masks in public; others have taken offense to that. Businesses have refused to allow people into their establishments if they are not wearing a mask, and those individuals have claimed that their Constitutional Rights are being violated.
Right now, many of us in the CPA profession are as busy as ever, if not busier. The extension of the April 15 due date to July 15 gave us a little breathing room for a brief period of time, but due dates have a nasty habit of eventually catching up. Now, we have the normal due dates for the extensions we filed in March and July. In addition to everything else, we now have to deal with the aftermath of PPP as the forgiveness documentation proving how the money received was spent will soon be due. There may be legislation that will grant us and our clients some relief, but there is no guarantee. Furthermore, many of us may lose business clients between now and next year because of the uncertainty of the future.
In times like this, we must hold together and work together. Abraham Lincoln said in an 1858 speech that, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We are the National Conference of CPA Practitioners. As a national organization, we provide a voice for the sole practitioner, the small firm CPA. I also want to paraphrase former NCCPAP President Sandra Johnson who said, “If it wasn’t for NCCPAP, I would not be the kind of CPA that I am today.” It is as a national organization that we are recognized, in Washington D.C., with the IRS, and by the media; and it is as a national organization that we will endure.
The National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP) is a professional organization comprised of Certified Public Accountants practicing in the United States. In addition to serving as a forum for education, networking, and community impact, NCCPAP also advocates for its clients. NCCPAP influences tax administration and tax policy by regularly meeting with Internal Revenue Service representatives, state taxing authorities, and elected officials. NCCPAP members represent over one million businesses and individual clients. The organization is headquartered in Woodbury, NY. For more information visit, www.NCCPAP.org.
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