Making their presence felt
CPAs vote for their peers and make waves in Washington
- October 27, 2011
Virginia Certified Public Accountants picked the best of their peers this year at a time when their state association was making its presence felt in Washington.
For the 11th consecutive year, Virginia Business has collaborated with the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) to select Super CPAs in 12 categories.
This year, 465 VSCPA members nominated 1,085 of their colleagues for the honor. Of those, about 290, or 26 percent, made the final list.
The Super CPAs are listed by category on the following pages with a brief profile of one top CPA from each group. The profile subjects are selected from the top 10 vote getters from each category but are not necessarily the person receiving the most votes. CPAs who have been profiled in the past were not considered for this issue.
While the Super CPAs list was being compiled, the VSCPA and the American Institute of CPAs were celebrating a victory in the nation’s capital. In September, President Barack Obama signed the America Invents Act, which includes a provision prohibiting patents on tax strategies.
The tax strategy ban was the result of a five-year effort by the CPA organizations. A Virginia CPA, Mary Anne McElmurray, tax director at Brown, Edwards & Co. in Roanoke, brought the issue to the VSCPA’s attention in 2006. She believes that tax strategy patents limited access to the tax code and are bad public policy.
The VSCPA says tax strategies had been receiving patents as a type of business method since 1998. That is when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined that business methods could be patented. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted more than 130 patents on tax strategies during the past 13 years.
The tax strategy ban was not the sole victory for CPAs in Washington this year. The VSCPA and national CPA organization also played a role in overturning a new tax-reporting rule tucked into in the federal health-care law.
In April, Obama signed the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011, which repealed expanded tax-reporting requirements in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
A provision in that law required businesses to report to the IRS any purchases totaling more than $600 from a vendor during a calendar year. That meant companies would have to send one tax form to the IRS reporting its purchases and another form to each vendor. The requirement would have covered any purchases made in 2012 that were reported on tax forms filed in 2013.
The VSCPA was among many business and professional groups that lobbied for repeal of the new requirement, arguing it was burdensome and unnecessary.