Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lockbox Changes for Federal Tax Payments

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Management Service (FMS) are making changes to the tax lockbox network, and Virginia taxpayers and preparers will be affected.

Virginia tax payments had previously gone to St. Louis, which is one of two lockbox operations (along with Atlanta) closing effective Dec. 31, 2012. Individual taxpayers in Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee will now send their payments to Louisville, Ky.

Read the VSCPA's article for more information and the appropriate addresses for each form.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Health Care Exchanges in Virginia: State or Federal?

As the deadline to elect to set up a state-run health insurance exchange draws, closer, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is holding firm with the plan to default to the federal exchange option.

The exchanges, which allow citizens to shop for private health insurance policies, are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. States must decide by Dec. 14 whether to set up their own exchange or allow the federal government to run the exchange.

Virginia Senate Democrats called for McDonnell to schedule a special General Assembly session to discuss the exchanges. A McDonnell spokesman said that such a session would be expensive and that no decisions need to be made before the start of the regular session in January.

What do you think? Is it worth it for Virginia to set up its own exchange?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Volunteer With the VSCPA!

The VSCPA is seeking volunteers for the 2013–2014 membership year. Will you take advantage of this member benefit?

VSCPA members cite volunteer opportunities as one of the most satisfying aspects of their membership. VSCPA volunteer work provides networking opportunities, leadership development and a chance to represent your firm and your profession. In addition, all VSCPA volunteers are invited to the annual Leaders’ Summit, a free, two-day leadership training event which qualifies for CPE credit.

“I have grown tremendously personally and professionally through my involvement with the VSCPA,” VSCPA member Monique Valentine, CPA, said. “…The VSCPA has helped me grow in my current position … and has introduced me to so many great CPAs that I would never have had the opportunity to work with without my involvement at the VSCPA.”

Use your valuable professional skills to help your community or build your skills in an area where you don’t have as much experience. Your time commitment is up to you.

“I feel like volunteering is the best way to say ‘Thank you,’ to everyone that has helped give me opportunities to be successful in life and to try and provide those same opportunities to others,” VSCPA member Andrew Martin, CPA, said.
Visit the VSCPA Volunteer Opportunities page for more information. The deadline to sign up is Feb. 1, 2013.

Top 5 Most Popular Articles: Nov. 10–16, 2012

Here are the five most-read news articles on! Articles are taken from the VSCPA News and Professional News sections and are ranked by unique page views.
  1. CPAs Gain Seats in Congress
  2. Member Spotlight: Valentine Gives Back in Every Way
  3. TAX Implements Tax Refund Debit Card
  4. Virginia Corporate e-Filing Requirement Takes Effect
  5. IRS Form 14157 Allows for Anonymous Complaints Against Tax Preparers
Check back each Friday for updated rankings of the top stories on

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tax Refund Debit Cards in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Taxation (TAX) is now offering two options for receiving individual state income tax refunds for 2012 returns: direct deposit and debit card. Notably absent is the option to receive a paper check.

The switch to debit cards was part of Virginia's budget legislation passed in the 2012 General Assembly session. One big reason for the move was to save money by reducing check printing and mailing costs, and the program is expected to reduce annual costs by $200,000.

The VSCPA has pointed out several groups for which the debit-card option is impractical, including deceased taxpayers, elderly taxpayers, minor taxpayers and out-of-state taxpayers.

What do you think? Will the cost savings with the new program outweigh the inconvenience for the groups mentioned above?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Accounting PACs and the Election

Here's an interesting post from Accounting Today regarding how the profession's most prominent political action committees (PAC) spent their money in 2012 and how their preferred candidates turned out.

The biggest accounting PACs backed Gov. Mitt Romney by a 4:1 ratio, but did better at the Senate level with less partisan, more spread-out contributions. Among the winning candidates backed by accounting PACs were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) (Tester's race was still in doubt when Accounting Today's article went live, but he has since been declared the winner.)

The article also noted that accounting PACs gave early contributions to Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who lost in the primaries, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who later retired.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TAX Issues e-Alert on Corporate e-Filing Waiver Requests

The Virginia Department of Taxation (TAX) has issued an e-alert providing instructions on how tax preparers should submit a waiver request for the corporate electronic filing requirement. Use it as is or reformat for your purposes. Questions should be directed to Nancy Wilson.

e-Alert to Tax Preparers – 11/6/12
Subject:  Virginia’s Corporate Electronic Filing Requirement – Submission of Waiver Requests by Tax Preparers
The Virginia Department of Taxation would like to clarify how Tax Preparers should submit the Corporate Income Tax Electronic Filing Waiver Request on behalf of their clients.    
  • Complete a single Corporate Income Tax Electronic Filing Waiver Request Form.
  • Attach a list of the Corporations for which you prepare tax returns and/or submit payments and include the following information for each corporation.
    • Corporation Name
    • Corporation FEIN
    • Indicate whether you have a Power of Attorney for each client
  • Fax the Waiver Request and list to 804-367-3015
  • The Department will issue a single waiver to the tax preparer covering all their clients.
Listed below are some valid reasons that a Tax Professional would request a waiver.
  • The Tax Preparer’s software does not support electronic filing
  • The cost to purchase software supporting e-File would be a cost burden on the firm.   
  • The fact that the IRS does not support a specific federal form or schedule through their e-File program is not a valid reason for a waiver on its own merit.  Since Virginia’s e-File program supports PDF attachments, the federal return or form can be attached as a PDF and filed as an “unlinked” return to Virginia.  Please check with your software company as to whether they support both linked and unlinked returns.
    • If you do not have a scanner or other means to produce a PDF, then request a waiver.
    • If your software does not support unlinked filing of returns to the state, then request a waiver.

Valentine Gives Back in Every Way

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of profiles highlighting the diverse interests and careers of VSCPA members. Know a member (including yourself) who would make for an interesting profile? Email VSCPA Communications Specialist Chip Knighton.

The VSCPA is filled with high achievers, but Monique Valentine, CPA (right) has been remarkably active even among that group. She chaired the VSCPA Board of Directors in 2007–2008 and has held leadership positions with the VSCPA Educational Foundation and the VSCPA PAC. As it turns out, that love of service bled into her non-VSCPA work.

After starting in public accounting, Valentine transitioned into the nonprofit sector in 2000 and has worked for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), where she is now chief financial officer (CFO), and has been for 11 years.

“My first job in my nonprofit career was with a [501(c)(3)] organization that raised money for international relief and development organizations, and knowing that the money we raised went to help people in under-developed countries was very rewarding,” Valentine said. “We worked hard to keep overhead expenses to a minimum so that the majority of the money we raised was used to fulfill our mission.  It gave me a great sense of purpose knowing that the work I did was benefitting many other individuals.”

Valentine made partner in a Springfield CPA firm the same year she got married and began a lengthy commute from Front Royal around the same time. It didn’t take long before she realized that spending four hours a day in the car wasn’t conducive to a successful marriage.

“The thought of an increased commute and the long hours I was working helped me to decide that I either needed to divorce my job or my husband,” she said. “I chose to divorce my job.”

While work-life balance played a role in her move to the nonprofit world, the sense of working for a greater good let her know she made the right decision.

I love working for an organization where I believe and support the mission and know that my work benefits more than just the owners of the business,” she said.

It’s that same sense of working for something bigger than herself that has driven much of Valentine’s volunteer work with the VSCPA and other organizations. In addition to the long list of roles she’s held with the Society, she’s given her time to the George Mason University Accounting Advisory Council, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Manassas Presbyterian Church. She started as a VSCPA volunteer with the Young CPAs Committee before taking on a greater role with the Society’s Northern chapter.

“The firm I worked for was a strong advocate for giving back to the profession and encouraged all staff to get involved with the local chapter and the VSCPA,” she said. “…I have grown tremendously personally and professionally through my involvement with the VSCPA. I never thought that I would have a leadership role at the VSCPA, but by getting involved early on and taking on a little more each year, I eventually felt that I had the knowledge and ability to serve in a leadership capacity. 

“The VSCPA has helped me to grow in my current position as the CFO for a large trade association and has introduced me to so many great CPAs that I would never have had the opportunity to work with without my involvement at the VSCPA.”

Becoming a volunteer has helped Valentine in her day job, too.

“By volunteering with the VSCPA and other organizations, I have had to become more efficient at managing my time, which is a skill we can all continually improve upon,” she said. “My volunteer work has also helped me to improve my communication skills, and has given me the ability to work in teams with fellow professionals with diverse and varying backgrounds. But most of all, I think my volunteer work has helped to build my confidence and to not be afraid to try new things by taking on new opportunities and challenges. The roles I have had with the VSCPA have helped me to improve all of these skills, which has led to my becoming a more efficient, productive CFO.”

Going into the nonprofit world after “divorcing her job” helped Valentine refocus on her family life. She has two children, Sara (15) and Ben (13) and enjoys taking them to the beach, on camping trips and to Washington Nationals games.

“My kids keep me sane and are my reality check in life,” she said.

Even that sanity check hasn’t stopped her from scratching the volunteer itch. In addition to her work with her church, she serves as the treasurer for Ben’s middle school.

“I am always volunteering my time because I love it,” she said. “The word ‘no’ is not part of my vocabulary.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Top 5 Most Popular Articles: Oct. 27 – Nov. 2, 2012

Here are the five most-read news articles on! Articles are taken from the VSCPA News and Professional News sections and are ranked by unique page views.
  1. Weather Cancellations for VSCPA Events (UPDATED)
  2. IRS Delays FATCA Timelines
  3. Nominate a Colleague for a 2013 VSCPA Distinguished CPA Award
  4. Commonwealth Announces Penalty Waiver for Sandy
  5. The 2011 Form 1040, Schedule D: Practitioner Issues
Check back each Friday for updated rankings of the top stories on