AICPAs Agenda: Helping in Time of Need


“All of us at the AICPA share the deep sadness and concern the entire nation feels over the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose lives have been forever changed, including the thousands of AICPA members and their families living in areas affected by this disaster.

“We will work with the American Red Cross, IRS, DHS/FEMA and other organizations to understand how the expertise of the CPA profession can be brought to bear on the recovery effort. The items below detail some of the initiatives already under way.”

—Barry C. Melancon, President and CEO

Online Disaster Recovery Resource Center
The AICPA has established an online Disaster Recovery Resource Center ( www.aicpa.org/news/2005/disaster_recovery_resources.htm ). Visit it for up-to-date information, useful links to other Web sites and a wide range of practical tools. The center includes resources for members to use to assist their employers and clients, as well as practice management guidance for firms directly affected by Hurricane Katrina.

CPA Firms to Assist Affected Firms With Practice Continuation
The AICPA is mobilizing CPA firms through PCPS to identify and implement ways that firms around the country can assist individual CPAs and firms in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. PCPS, with the assistance of the AICPA audit quality centers and sections, plans to establish a “firm volunteer center” that will identify firms wishing to volunteer. Resources that firms might be able to offer include office space and technology including servers and software support. Firms might also volunteer to hire, on a temporary basis, staff from affected firms. A hotline staffed by volunteers and consultants also will be established to respond to firm continuity and disaster-related practice management issues. If you have an urgent practice management question in the interim, send an e-mail to pcps@aicpa.org. For technical questions, contact the A&A Technical Hotline at 888-777-7077, menu option no. 5, followed by menu option no. 3.

AICPA Working With IRS on Relief for Victims
The AICPA Tax Team has been meeting with the IRS to exchange ideas on providing relief for taxpayers in the Presidential-Declared Disaster Areas struck by Hurricane Katrina in addition to steps already announced by the IRS on August 30 (see IR-2005-84, www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=147055,00.html ). Among the items under discussion are further extending the filing dates, expediting the process for filing amended 2004 returns for disaster-related claims, automatic abatement of penalties and interest and suspending enforcement activities for all those in the presidential-declared disaster area. Visit www.aicpa.org and www.irs.gov for the latest news releases.

Disaster Recovery Guides, Mobilization Kit and Other Resources
Disaster Recovery: A Guide to Financial Issues was developed by the AICPA PFP Team to help individuals and families in the days, weeks and months following a disaster when they are most in need and often vulnerable to financial challenges. The guide, produced by the National Endowment for Financial Education, the AICPA and the AICPA Foundation, is distributed by participating local chapters of the American Red Cross.

As part of this effort, the AICPA developed the Disaster Recovery CPA Mobilization Kit to support state societies and CPAs in their volunteer outreach to those affected by disaster. The kit focuses on the pro bono services CPAs can offer in moments of crisis and includes a press release template, bylined article and PowerPoint presentation. The AICPA Tax Section’s Disaster Area Practice Guide, also available, has been updated to include guidance for victims of Hurricane Katrina and has links to IRS and other tax-related disaster recovery resources.

AICPA Issues Technical Practice Aid on Auditor’s Consideration of Impact of Losses From Natural Disasters
The AICPA has issued a new Technical Practice Aid (TPA) outlining auditors’ responsibilities when a natural disaster affects an audit client’s operations subsequent to the end of audit fieldwork but prior to the issuance of the financial statements and auditor’s report.

AICPA and IRS Partner to Provide Pro Bono Tax Assistance to Disaster Victims
The AICPA and the IRS have joined forces to provide pro bono tax assistance to victims of disaster who come to Department of Homeland Security/FEMA shelters. The IRS is working with the AICPA and state CPA societies to connect disaster victims with CPAs in order to provide them the financial counseling they may need. The counseling includes tax matters such as personal casualty loss decisions and amended tax return filings, as well as pending IRS examination and collection matters. This new partnership is another example of CPAs working in the public interest to help Americans with their financial recovery from major disasters. More details on this agreement are available on www.aicpa.org and www.irs.gov .

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