Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Session Watch

The 2010 Virginia General Assembly session is in full swing, which means we’re busy taking action on any legislation that could potentially affect Virginia CPAs and their abilities to do their jobs — as well as continuing to monitor other bills under consideration.

And we have some great news so far! Our
pass-through entity bill (SB 178) unanimously passed the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, January 26, with a minor amendment to add an effective date for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2009.

Other important news to report:

Financial literacy
The VSCPA continues to fight for maintaining the Virginia high school graduation requirement in personal finance and economics education. That’s why we’ve opposed any bills that threaten the requirement (which is currently law). We’re thrilled that
one of the bills to repeal the stand-alone course (HB 196) has been amended to delay all of the new graduation requirements by one year due to the Commonwealth’s budget situation. We do not oppose the bill as amended because, while the graduation requirement should not pose major fiscal strain on school systems, we understand the financial impact any new requirement could have.

other immediate threat to the stand-alone course in financial literacy was HB 622, which would have given school districts much more leeway to integrate the course into existing curricula — a move the VSCPA opposed because of the importance of a stand-alone requirement. The House Education Committee has agreed to carry over the bill until next fall, which they will address before the 2011 session starts. At this time, there is no immediate threat to financial literacy education to address during this session.


We are strongly urging lawmakers to address conformity by letting them know that for each day that goes by without conformity, the burdens increase on Virginia’s taxpayers and preparers.
Our bill (SB 179), to implement a more permanent conformity fix, is still under deliberation by the Senate Finance Committee. The regular conformity bills (HB 614 and SB 545) are currently facing opposition from the manufacturing industry, which is taking issue with a new Section 199 exception on the deduction of domestic production activities. We are very closely monitoring these bills and working to minimize the negative impact any delay could have on tax return preparers.


E-filing is here to stay.
The Virginia threshold for e-filing will become 50 returns if the legislation becomes law, and it is sailing through without problems. The Senate has already passed SB 357, and its companion bill in the House, HB 1045, will soon be reported to the House Finance Committee. The threshold for e-filing federal returns recently became 10 returns or more, and Virginia’s legislation has a positive budget impact. Those two factors will make this legislation virtually unstoppable. The VSCPA took a neutral position.

Stay tuned to and for updates on these and other bills we’re monitoring on behalf of Virginia CPAs.

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