The Smoke Detector: How Are You Advising People About Tax Reform?

By Philip Jackson posted 09-26-2017 14:08


“Will it happen or not? And if so when?”

These are the frequent and common questions we receive from our clients and business owners. Along with potential optimism, also comes frustration among not only clients, but CPAs as well. Generally, CPAs look to assist and be proactive from a planning perspective, and to have their clients' or employer's best interests in mind. How do we advise people about the possibility of changes to a tax system and when could we actually see this take shape?
tax reform
Some refer to it as tax reform, while others consider it tax reductions depending upon your perspective. We have heard various details about proposed items regarding tax changes that might occur, which includes lowering the corporate and individual tax rates. However, when the public hears comments like this, they want to be proactive and know what to expect. This becomes the difficulty in advising an individual or business owner about what those changes could entail. To top it off, we keep hearing about the potential of repealing or replacing the Affordable Health Care Act, which has of yet not shown any results. Rather, it merely increases the amount of questions we receive as professionals than resolving them.

Then, on the other hand, there are rumblings or thoughts of what will happen to our profession, if the tax code does become simpler and more effective. As a profession should we be the “cheerleader” for this type of change? The truth is regardless of any simplicities that might occur, the world is becoming more complex and will need financial assistance to comply to other regulations.

Even with potential changes occurring at the Federal tax code level, states will also have to consider how this will affect their collection of revenue. The topic of state and local taxes in this conversation tend to be overshadowed by the effects of what will occur on a Federal basis.

From a public standpoint, as well as professionally, most of us are becoming weary of the constant what could be, rather than the reality of the matter. As the public and professionals would like to tell Congress, in the immortal words of the comedian, Larry the Cable Guy, “Just git-r-done.”