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CPA Advocate, Spring 2015

by MICPA | Apr 23, 2015   ()
School District Audit Timing/Reform
The Governor’s office and the Michigan Legislature have been examining potential reforms to local units of government and school districts in an effort to ascertain information related to financial distress at an earlier point. Last year, as part of this reform, the audit deadline for school districts was changed from Nov. 15 to Oct. 15 for each year. The MICPA was able to achieve a compromise with the administration which resulted in a deadline change to Nov. 1 for 2015 as a part of Public Act 5 of 2015, the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget supplemental. The MICPA is now focused on permanently placing the Nov. 1 deadline into statute for future years through language in House Bill 4330.

Definition of “Attest”

The national model accountancy statute, the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA), was amended to expand the definition of “attest” to ensure that non-financial statement engagements where the Statements on Standards of Attestation Engagements (SSAEs) are being applied are included under the umbrella of the practice of public accounting. State accountancy laws through the U.S. and other licensing jurisdictions must be amended to mirror the UAA change. In Michigan, the MICPA Executive Committee and Legislative Advisory Group are working with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and legal counsel to finalize language to make the necessary legislative change. Language should be finalized and legislation introduced in May. Look for further updates from the MICPA Government Relations staff.

“Ban the Box” Legislation

A bill was introduced (House Bill 4208) in the Michigan Legislature that would prohibit employers from asking, on an initial application, if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. The MICPA has met with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Fred Durhal, III (D-Detroit), to discuss the need for language that will address the unique hiring criteria for many in the financial sector, including CPAs and those working for CPA firms. Rep. Durhal has agreed to amend his legislation to reflect the MICPA’s input.

Non-Compete Safe Harbor Proposal
House Bill 4198 was recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature, proposing to narrow the non-compete safe harbor language to apply only to situations where a business-to-business goodwill sale event takes place. The MICPA has been working with The Accountants Coalition and legal counsel to develop language to amend the legislation and ensure protection of the CPA profession’s interests. The MICPA is continuing its dialogue with the bill sponsor, Rep. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township).

MEGA Tax Credits and State Budget Implications
As the economy improves, some of the state’s largest employers are fulfilling the terms of tax credits granted during 2008-2009 and are beginning to redeem those credits. The budget implications for the current state of Michigan fiscal year alone are roughly $500 million. The state estimates a total value of $9.1 billion in credits which may be redeemed between now and 2031. The legislature and the administration have been conducting hearings relative to the credits and the budget implications, exploring potential renegotiations and estimating/planning possibilities. The MICPA continues to communicate that predictability in the state’s tax climate is imperative.

Cloud Computing Bills

Many taxpayers in Michigan have been impacted by the ambiguous language that remains within the General Sales Tax Act and Use Tax Act related to the taxability of charges for the right to access “prewritten computer software” installed on another party’s computer. Multiple bills, House Bills 4018 and 4019 and Senate Bills 82 and 83, have been introduced to clarify this ambiguity. Rehmann Robson & Co. v. Department of Treasury marked the third Michigan court decision in 2014 to rule that cloud-based services are not subject to Use Tax in the state. While the MICPA takes no official position with regard to the taxability of charges for the right to access prewritten software, the current law is not clear, and the MICPA is therefore supportive of the above-referenced legislation as a means to provide clarity in the statute. The MICPA submitted a letter to legislative leadership and the respective chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and House Tax Policy Committee on the issue. The MICPA Government Relations team will keep you updated as these bills move through the legislative process.

MICPA PAC Contributors
Association access to the policy-making process is a necessary tool. Without a seat at the bargaining table, preventing misguided policy from becoming harmful state law is a difficult task. Not only does the MICPA PAC ensure CPAs a seat at the table, it also allows MICPA to develop and maintain working relationships with office-holders who consistently align with the interests of Michigan CPAs. A strong, collective voice is important to MICPA’s efforts in advocacy and involving young CPAs at this level is imperative to the future of the profession. Please let your colleagues know their financial support is important. The MICPA’s advocacy efforts would not be possible without contributions. See a list of the PAC contributors for 2015 at www.micpa.org/PACdonors. Want to see your name on this list? Make a donation today at www.micpa.org/PAC.
Source: MICPA
Source: MICPA

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