AICPA provides feedback on tax reform proposals

By Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.

“The AICPA supports comprehensive tax reform.”

These were the words of Troy Lewis, chair of the AICPA’s Tax Executive Committee, in a letter sent to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, commenting on various tax reform proposals embodied in the Tax Reform Act of 2014.

In the letter, Lewis says the AICPA evaluated the proposals in the Tax Reform Act of 2014 using the AICPA’s 10 principles of good tax policy, and he strongly encouraged Congress “to consider using these principles to guide comprehensive tax reform.”

The letter emphasizes five of those principles in particular:

  • Equity and fairness;
  • Certainty;
  • Simplicity;
  • Economic growth and efficiency; and
  • Transparency and visibility.

The Tax Reform Act of 2014 is a discussion draft issued last year by the Ways and Means Committee under its former chair, former Rep. Dave Camp, R.-Mich.

The AICPA’s letter addresses 22 major items from Camp’s tax reform proposal, including income tax rate reform, employment tax modifications, alternative minimum tax repeal, and taxpayer protection. (The AICPA plans to submit comments on additional items from the proposal in the future.)

Overall, the AICPA found much to support, and much to criticize, in the proposal. For example, the AICPA “firmly support[s] simplicity in the tax structure and elimination of all surtaxes and phase-outs.” However, the letter says, the tax reform proposal falls short on both of these counts.

Alistair M. Nevius is the JofA’s editor-in-chief, tax.

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