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In mid-May, NYSSCPA Board, chapter and committee leaders attended Lobby Day in Albany, where Society members met with approximately a dozen legislators to discuss the issues that our members care about most - those that protect the integrity of the CPA license and the public that the profession is licensed to serve.
The two primary issues discussed this year were:
Electronic Signature Authorization-A.7765/S.5661
Bills A.7765, sponsored by Assembly Member William B. Magnarelli, and S.5661, sponsored by Senator John C. Liu, would allow tax preparers to file their clients' New York State tax returns with an electronic signature.
What Does This Bill Seek to Do? The bill will eliminate the current "split" process, whereby a preparer issues and obtains an electronic signature for the federal tax return, and separately collects a "wet," or physical, signature for the New York State tax return. In turn, the bill would streamline the process for both client and tax preparer.
Why Is This Important? Under current New York State law, individual filers are able to use an electronic signature to file their own New York State tax returns, and under federal law, tax preparers are able to use an electronic signature to file a federal tax return to the IRS on behalf of their clients. However, tax preparers filing a New York State tax return on behalf of clients may not use an electronic signature.
NYSSCPA Action: The Society has sent a letter of support to the offices of Senator Liu and Assembly Member Magnarelli outlining the importance of the issue and is following up with legislators in person as the session that comes to a close.
Municipal Contingent Fee Audit Reform-A.7244/S.5508A
Bills A.7244, sponsored by Assembly Member Albert Stirpe, and S.5508A, sponsored by Senator Jen Metzger, would prohibit municipalities from compensating private auditors on a contingent fee basis.
What Does This Bill Seek To Do? The bill stipulates that any municipal corporation shall not compensate any person or entity, in whole or in part, on a contingent fee basis or on any other basis related to the amount of tax, interest or penalty assessed against or collected for the service of auditing a return or report filed pursuant to, or in compliance with, any law.
Why Is This Important? A contingent fee audit arrangement raises a number of concerns for taxpayers. This type of arrangement creates an incentive for the contract auditor to assess the highest amount of tax and to interpret the statutes and regulations in an aggressive manner in favor of the jurisdiction. In addition, the contract auditor does not have an incentive to inform the taxpayer of potential overpayments, missed deductions, tax credits or refund claims.
A number of states have enacted legislation against the use of municipal contingent fee audits, including North Carolina, Arizona, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
NYSSCPA Action: The Society has sent letters of support to both chambers of the New York Legislature.
In Albany, the NYSSCPA met with the following Assembly Members and Senators:
New York State Assembly Members
New York State Senators
Deborah J. Glick (Chair of Assembly's Higher Education Committee)
Toby Ann Stavisky (Chair of Senate Committee on Higher Education)
Fred W. Thiele Jr. (Chair of Assembly's Committee on Local Governments)
James F. Gaughran (Chair of Senate Committee on Local Government)
Albert Stirpe (Sponsor of A.7244)
Jen Metzger (Sponsor of S.5508A)
Jonathan G. Jacobson
John E. Brooks
David F. Gantt
The NYSSCPA participates in Lobby Day and regular ongoing advocacy efforts to support our members who may not have the resources or the contacts to go to Albany on their own.
Legislative work is solely funded through donations to the CPA PAC. Please support the current and future issues that matter to you and your clients today.
The NYSSCPA serves as an advocate and resource for CPAs by representing and cultivating the profession's core values of integrity, professionalism and ethics.
Joanne S. Barry, CAE Executive Director/CEO