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2016 in review: Muni tax, CPE standards top of mind for members

Posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 by Gary Hunt

By Gary Hunt, senior content editor

Two topics were dominant in 2016 when it came to the news OSCPA members were interested in, and the first focused on a point of discomfort: Ohio’s broken municipal income tax system.

“It’s just such a pain,” said Former Ohio Tax Commissioner Tom Zaino, CPA, JD, managing member, Zaino Hall & Farrin, LLC.

House Bill 5 has brought some hard-fought common sense reform, but even as cities and accountants alike adjust to the positive uniformity changes it is bringing, Zaino said there is a consensus that more is needed.

“Even after all the work we’ve done… we still have the worst municipal income tax system of any state in America,” he said.

View the video above to learn how CPAs can prepare themselves for the upcoming filing season, as well as his predictions for what is next for municipal income tax reform. For more on OSCPA’s future priorities in this area, read the OSCPA Ohio Tax Reform Task Force report.

CPE standard revisions fall short

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the AICPA in August approved proposed revisions to standards for CPE.

OSCPA made it clear it thinks those standards don’t take the steps needed to meet the pace of change in the CPA profession. This opinion resonated with readers, who made it our most-viewed single story of 2016.

The NASBA/AICPA working group in January issued an exposure draft of proposed CPE rules. In April, OSCPA and a group of 17 other state CPA societies sent the working group a letter calling for revisions to “embrace flexibility and simplification” and improve understanding.

“They have been approved and we are moving forward,” said Josh Goldman, MA, CAE, OSCPA’s VP of learning. “We're going to continue to work with the Accountancy Board of Ohio on modeling best practices. We certainly raised awareness on the national level with how these standards are going to impact not only CPAs, but those who provide learning, and we are going to continue to advocate for competence over compliance.”

Effective Sept. 1, the standards include the addition of nano and blended learning, but they fail to take the steps needed to meet the pace of change in the CPA profession, said Goldman, who discussed the proposals in an episode of OSCPA Spotlight.

This is important for CPAs because studies show that high-performing firms treat learning as a competitive advantage, while low-performing firms view it as a compliance function. Enabling the creation of the best learning experiences will better equip the profession for a business environment where the pace of change continues to accelerate, Goldman said.

“While we appreciate the complexity that they deal with on their 55 jurisdictions, we continue to disagree with the pace and the speed of the changes to CPE standards,” he said.

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