Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 2 of VSCPA Centennial Celebration Cruise

We have officially set sail on the VSCPA Centennial Celebration Cruise and are en route to Bermuda! It’s been a wonderful celebration so far. Each attendee received a complimentary bottle of wine as they arrived to begin celebrating the VSCPA’s 100th anniversary in style. At the opening reception last night, members and guests kicked off the festivities with live entertainment and wonderful food and cocktails.

Members are gaining CPE hours as we cruise today — we started off with a great tax session with Don Farmer, and we’re continuing this afternoon with an accounting and auditing update with Walter Haig.

Tomorrow we dock in Bermuda for two days to enjoy the island.More updates soon! Until then, check out info on the VSCPA's Centennial anniversary.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Attempt to Ban Tax Strategy Patents

Is the tax patent saga almost over? We have renewed hope that it’s coming to a close, and we have Virginia legislators to thank for staying on top of this aggravating issue!

On May 21, Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Bob Goodlatte, (R-Va.) introduced HR 2584, legislation that would prohibit patents on tax planning methods.

Although previous versions of the bill have died in Congress, the VSCPA and CPA profession continue to lobby for a ban on the issuance of such patents.My fingers are crossed that the legislation will pass, ending a three-year struggle to squelch this practice.

Currently, 77 tax strategy patents have been approved and there are 129 pending. These strategies apply to common areas of tax planning, including charitable contributions, estate and gift taxes, pension plans and deferred compensation.

The VSCPA doesn’t think it’s fair for taxpayers to essentially pay extra for various tax planning methods — or for tax practitioners to be prohibited from making smart tax savings choices for their clients, for that matter. These strategy patents are bad public policy.

A step in the right direction, Boucher introduced HR 2365 in 2007, which effectively rendered such tax patents unenforceable. But the current legislation would take the issue one step further, prohibiting the patents from being issued in the first place.

Last Congress, language to prohibit tax strategy patents was passed by the House as part of the Patent Reform Act of 2007. A bill containing similar language on tax strategy patent prohibition, S 2369, was introduced in the U.S. Senate last Congress by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking minority member of the Finance Committee. But the bill never made it onto the Senate floor.

The AICPA and VSCPA have both lobbied for a solution to this issue since 2006. In fact, this topic was high on the agenda during our
Congressional representative visits during the recent AICPA Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The VSCPA hopes Congress will pass a permanent solution to the issue this year. Stay tuned to for the latest news on tax strategy patents.

Check out past action from the VSCPA regarding tax strategies patents:

urges senators to co-sponsor tax patent legislation; VSCPA sends letter to Sens. Warner and Webb
  • VSCPA urges senators to co-sponsor tax patent legislation; VSCPA sends letter to Sens. Warner and Webb
  • VSCPA urges congressmen to stand strong against tax patents; VSCPA sends letter to Reps. Boucher and Goodlatte
  • 2006:
    • VSCPA sends
    letter to AICPA and other state CPA societies

    BOA Reduces Credit Requirement to Sit for CPA Exam in Virginia

    Last summer, the Virginia Board of Accountancy (BOA) announced its intention to reduce the number of credit hours required to sit for the CPA Exam in Virginia. This week, the reduction became a reality.

    Whereas candidates used to need 150 hours to sit for the Exam in Virginia, they may now sit with
    120 semester hours. However, candidates still need 150 hours to apply for a CPA license in the Commonwealth. The VSCPA highly recommends that all prospective CPAs attain 150 hours of education so they may obtain licenses pending passage of the CPA Exam.Gov. Tim Kaine signed emergency regulations, putting the new rule in effect as of May 14, 2009.

    Read a full article on this topic at

    If you need additional help, contact VSCPA Government Affairs Director
    Emily Walker at (804) 612-9428, contact the BOA directly at (804) 367-8505 or visit the BOA website at

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    CPA Inauguration Celebrated New Licensees; Profession's 100-Year History in Virginia

    Last week, on April 23, we held the 4th CPA Inauguration — an event co-sponsored by the VSCPA and the Virginia Board of Accountancy to honor new CPA licensees in Virginia. Held at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, we recognized more than 70 new licensees, and celebrated their achievement with more than 240 family and friends.

    We also had the pleasure of awarding life membership to 10 members who have been members of the VSCPA for 40 years. We heard great stories of their hard work, determination and lessons learned over the years. Among the life members was Ms. Joan Aaron, one of the few female life members we have. Stay tuned for a podcast of their remarks.

    We also took a moment to celebrate the VSCPA's Centennial anniversary, as well as 100 years of an organized CPA profession in Virginia.

    We congratulate all of the new licensees on their great achievement and welcome them to the VSCPA. And we recognize and thank the life members for their many years of service to the CPA profession.Check out more photos from the event on the VSCPA's Flickr page.

    Update From AICPA Council Meeting

    AICPA Council is meeting in Washington, D.C., right now, focusing on legislative issues affecting the profession and visits with U.S. senators and representatives. The issues CPAs will be communicating in personal visits to legislators include:

    • Financial services industry regulation
    • Turning to CPAs as the trusted advisors during the economic crisis
    • Tax strategy patents
    • Mobile workforce
    CPAs are asking federal legislators to use the CPA profession as a resource when considering new regulation of the financial service industry. The AICPA’s position is to add reasonable regulation of certain entities, such as hedge funds, and to consider thresholds and custodial relationships.

    Virginia Rep. Rick Boucher (D-9th) has agreed to introduce a bill again this session to prohibit patents on tax strategies. The House passed a similar bill last session, but it never made it through the Senate. The AICPA is advocating a swift passage of the new bill this year.

    The mobile workforce issue relates to the ability of an individual to temporarily work across state lines without needing to file an income tax return in that state. The legislation, supported by the AICPA, would establish a national standard for withholding state income taxes for nonresident workers. Currently, 41 states tax out-of-state workers’ wages, but the rules are not consistent from state to state.

    Finally, CPAs are going to Capitol Hill to advocate the CPA profession as the nation’s most trusted advisors during this time of economic distress. CPAs are promoting the profession in the eyes of lawmakers as professionals who can help educate the public and find solutions to the nation’s economic problems.

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Article on Efficient Month-End Closing From John L. Daly

    I’m thrilled to officially launch our new blog,, as part of the Virginia Society of CPAs’ (VSCPA) initiative to employ social media and web technologies to keep members connected and informed.

    We chose the name “CPA Café” because we hope this blog will serve as a forum for Virginia CPAs to openly and casually discuss current issues affecting the workplace and the CPA profession.

    I am also excited to use this blog as a means to update Virginia CPAs on the news and information I hear as I travel around the state and the nation, gathering insights from practitioners, regulators, educators, state CPA societies, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and other key players.

    We have guest bloggers lined up to visit the Café and offer their thoughts on several issues as well, from international standards and technology to recruiting top talent and work/life balance.

    Additionally, consider this blog a forum to voice your personal opinions and ideas and to introduce new topics we may not be covering. Visit the blog to stay current on top issues and learn what’s on your colleagues’ minds, but feel free to actively participate as well. Submit comments on the issues that are important to you in order to generate meaningful dialog with your peers — or submit a post yourself. (To submit a blog post, simply e-mail it to Blog guidelines and etiquette are posted in the menu to the left.)

    I look forward to sharing my experiences and ideas with you. But I look forward to hearing your thoughts and responses even more. Welcome to the CPA Café! Let’s get the conversation started.