NSA Federal Taxation Committee: Review, Recommend, Represent - the Role of the FTC

By Turville, Mary A. | The National Public Accountant, December 1997 | Go to article overview
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NSA Federal Taxation Committee: Review, Recommend, Represent - the Role of the FTC

Turville, Mary A., The National Public Accountant

The role of NSA's Federal Taxation Committee (FTC) is defined by the three "R's;" review, recommend, represent. The purpose of the committee is to monitor legislative and administrative federal taxation activities with respect to how they will impact NSA members and their clients; review Congressional bills, Treasury Department proposed regulations and IRS proposals; develop and present written comments, recommendations, and oral testimony at public hearings; and to represent the interests of NSA before the Internal Revenue Service and other government organizations relative to taxation matters. The FTC sets and administers, in consultation with the Society's elected leadership, NSA's policy relative to federal taxation issues.

In conjunction with its purpose, the committee has several goals. The primary goal is to seek and maintain a close working relationship between practitioners and the Internal Revenue Service. Other goals include proposing and promoting legislation deemed to be in the best interest of the practitioner; proposing tax legislation deemed to be in the best interest of small business; working toward simplification in all areas of taxation; and establishing and maintaining liaison with other practitioner organizations as warranted to advance the committee's objectives.

The objectives of the FTC, as listed in NSA Administrative Policy 20.1, include:

1. Review and comment in writing on select proposed rules and regulations promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service;

2. Testify before the IRS on select proposed regulations;

3. Testify before Congressional committees in matters pertaining to federal taxation;

4. Operate as an oversight committee to review against practitioners under the Internal Revenue Code, objective of determining if penalties are being justly imposed;

5. Review and comment on income tax returns and filing methods for individuals, partnerships, corporations and fiduciaries, as well as estate and trust returns;

6. Review and comment on information returns and filing methods.

History of the FTC

In 1965, NSA (then NSPA) joined other professional organizations supporting legislation to permit self-employed individuals to obtain benefits under a retirement plan. The legislation, originally introduced by Eugene D. Keogh (D-NY), became the basis for the Keogh plans that exist to this day. The increasing importance of NSA's comments about impending federal tax legislation led to the creation of the Federal Taxation Committee as a platform where NSA policy could be discussed and determined.

NSA's Committee on Federal Taxation was established in 1970, and its first chairman was Elmer F. Heckinger. The committee was charged with studying proposed changes to federal tax laws and regulations, suggested revisions of tax forms, and proposed changes in IRS rules and regulations. It also was charged with making appropriate recommendations to the Congress and governmental agencies and serving as a conduit for information to and from members about the nature and responsibilities of tax practice.

In 1971, NSA submitted comments on proposed IRS regulations regarding collection of withholding and Social Security taxes by employers. The Society made several suggestions on a number of issues, including the extension periods for filing Form 941 and estimated payments. The IRS followed many of these suggestions in the final regulations that became effective February 1, 1971. Also in 1971, NSA convinced the IRS to monitor tax advertising and to target misleading newspaper, radio and television ads. In response to this initiative, H&R Block agreed to modify its advertising and entered into a consent order with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Taxation Committee has taken the lead in past years by proposing positions for NSA which were adopted by the Board of Governors. As early as 1971, the Board went on record endorsing legislation to protect the confidentiality of tax information.

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