Session Week 1: The 2019 Legislative Session is Approaching
Session Week 1: The 2019 Legislative Session is Approaching
As the 2019 legislative session approaches, the FICPA Governmental Affairs team brings you the first edition of the Impact Report – an in-depth update for FICPA members on the legislative and regulatory developments impacting accounting, finance, and business professionals.
In this edition:
-Video update from FICPA Director of Governmental Affairs, Justin Thames
-Exclusive interview with Florida State Senator Joe Gruters, CPA
-FICPA State Tax Committee Annual Department of Revenue Liaison Meeting
-New Governor Builds A New State Budget
-Florida Taxpayer Rights Advocate Report
-State and Local Government Practice Aid
-FICPA Federal Tax Committee Publishes Annual Legislator Tax Guide
-Welcome Florida’s new CPA lawmaker, Representative Mike Caruso
Justin Thames Director of Governmental Affairs
FICPA State Tax Committee Annual Department of Revenue Liaison Meeting
For more than four decades, the Florida Institute of CPAs has held a meeting between the FICPA State Tax Committee and the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) to allow practitioners an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the states tax administrator. “It was a pleasure to host the FICPA team and their members for the annual liaison meeting. I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and sharing how excited I am to serve once again as the Department of Revenue’s executive director. We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with FICPA.”, said newly appointed DOR Executive Director Jim Zingale.
The annual liaison meeting has served as a collaborative effort between the two groups designed to facilitate discussions on the top issues impacting CPAs that practice in the state taxation arena. This year’s meeting was only the second time in history that all FICPA members were invited to Tallahassee. More than 60 members were in attendance for the full day of discussion and topics presented by the department staff. Attendees gained valuable information related to the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s Wayfair decision, newly adopted rules by the Department, 2019 legislative preview by both DOR’s Director of Legislative and Cabinet Services Deborah Longman and FICPA Director of Governmental Affairs Justin Thames, and a comprehensive economic update by the state’s top economist Amy Baker of the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
New Governor Builds A New State Budget; Includes funding to combat unlicensed activity and Clay Ford Accounting Scholarship
Last Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis released a proposed spending plan of $91.3 billion, which is the largest budget in Florida history despite being only 2.2% higher than the current budget. His top priorities going into the 2019 legislative session are identified through his emphasis on education, water quality, and tax cut spending initiatives. Education amounts for the second largest portion of his budget; DeSantis plans for a 3% increase in per-student funding. This increase in educational funding also includes school safety, teacher quality, and mental health efforts. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Rob Bradley highlighted the importance of school safety this week by stating, “there is nothing more important than the safety of our children, and we must appropriately address that issue.”
As far as environmental concerns, the largest issue for the Governor is restoring the Everglades, but there is also budgeting for springs protection, combating red tide, and improvements to the Florida state park system. In addition, under the Governor’s plan, he anticipates that taxpayers will be saving $290 million through simple tax cuts, including a 3-day Back to School Sales Tax holiday and a week-long Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax holiday.
Specific to the CPA profession, the Governor’s Budget includes $100,000 for the purpose of combating the unlicensed practice of public accounting and $200,000 for the Clay Ford Minority Scholarship fund. Both are funded by a portion of CPA license fees and supported by the FICPA each legislative session.
In 2018, the Florida Legislature passed legislation that shifted the oversight responsibility of the Florida Taxpayer’s Rights Advocate (TRA) from the Department of Revenue to the Governor’s office and required the TRA to prepare an annual report. The TRA’s annual report recommends administrative and legislative changes to address issues encountered by taxpayers. A few of the administrative changes recommended in this year’s report include:
The Department should continue efforts to educate taxpayers on the taxation process and ensure that each notice sent to taxpayers explains these consequences. Also, DOR notices sent to taxpayers should provide contact information for a DOR representative who is knowledgeable about the tax type and notice type sent to the taxpayer and the potential consequences the taxpayer could face for not responding or for noncompliance in the taxation process.
The Department should provide education and training for taxpayers on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and should require that a copy of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is provided and explained to each audited taxpayer both at the beginning and end of each audit. Taxpayers should also receive an explanation of why they are being audited.
The Department should develop a system that maintains, in accessible electronic format, all original documents sent to or received from taxpayers.
Exclusive Interview with State Senator Joe Gruters, CPA
The FICPA interviewed Florida State Senator Joe Gruters, CPA, about issues this legislative session that stand to impact CPAs. Watch Now »
State and Local Government Practice Aid
Each year, the FICPA State and Local Government Committee prepares the “Compliance Auditing Practice Aid” to assist those CPAs involved, or contemplating involvement, in local government audits, including counties, municipalities, and special districts. The Committee takes great care to provide practitioners and local government staff with the most relevant information necessary to address the complex array compliance requirements applicable to Florida’s local government audits. This year’s practice aid is made available to FICPA members and the public on the FICPA’s Advocacy webpage here: https://www.ficpa.org/Content/GovernmentalAffairs/LegUpdates.aspx
FICPA Federal Tax Committee Publishes Annual Legislator Tax Guide
Every year, the FICPA Federal Tax Committee prepares the “Legislator’s Tax Guide” to inform members of the Florida Legislature and the public about topics that could impact the preparation of a state lawmaker’s income tax return. This year’s version of the guide can be found on the FICPA’s website here: READ GUIDE »
Welcome Florida’s new CPA lawmaker, Representative Mike Caruso
Representing House District 89 located in the coastal area of Palm Beach County, Representative Caruso has been a licensed CPA in the state since 1986. Prior to starting his own CPA firm, Mike worked for KPMG and Grant Thornton firms early in his career. He has served on various community boards and served as an expert witness in many local and national court cases. A proud father of 7, Mike and his wife have called Palm Beach County home for 32 years. The FICPA looks forward to working with Representative Caruso on the important issues impacting the profession during his term in office.
Ensuring that the CPA profession has a voice in the 2018 elections is a top priority. The direction of the state has the potential to change dramatically with the entire Cabinet, half of the State Senate and the entire House of Representatives being on this year’s ballot. The Florida CPA/PAC works tirelessly to inform those running for office about the issues most important to our members. In order to be successful, we need your support. The annual fundraising campaign has officially kicked-off and you can do your part by sending in your pledge form that you recently received, making a contribution online or with your FICPA dues.
Please note: contributions are strictly voluntary and are not deductible for federal tax purposes. The Florida CPA/PAC is an entity completely separate from the FICPA. The Florida CPA/PAC is supported solely by the voluntary contributions of members of the FICPA and others