Read about the legislative successes NCACPA’s Advocacy program has achieved on behalf of the membership.
NCACPA has led and championed many COVID-19 relief measures at both the state and federal level. On the state level, we were pleased the NC Department of Revenue honored our request on behalf of taxpayers and the state of North Carolina to extend the filing and payment deadline to July 15. Additionally, NCACPA fought for accounting to be listed as an essential business service in light of stay-at-home orders throughout North Carolina.
NCACPA has been working with the NC General Assembly to waive the accrual of interest on tax payments due April 15 and paid late. This is a work in process and General Assembly leaders have issued official statements that they plan to address the issue during their session that starts April 28, 2020.
On the federal level, NCACPA has been working directly with Senator Tillis and his staff on critical clarifications and improvements needed with small business loans in light of COVID-19. This is also a work in process.
Historically, the North Carolina Department of Revenue has been unable to track or maintain a record of valid POAs filed by taxpayers, causing the Department to often communicate with taxpayers directly, instead of their representatives. This has led to advocates not receiving important documents. The Association worked diligently with the legislature and Department to support updating internal systems and processes in order to resolve the issue. On November 8, 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 557, which included a provision stipulating the Department of Revenue report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government on its progress in updating its electronic tax systems to store and recognize POA registrations by January 31, 2020.
Additionally, NCACPA championed the adoption of market-based sourcing for multi-state taxpayers in allocating income tax on services and intangibles, which is necessary to allow North Carolina to remain competitive in attracting infrastructure and employer investments in the state. On November 8, 2019, the NC General Assembly enacted market-based sourcing for apportioning the corporate income tax and the franchise tax net worth base, effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. Under the new market-based sourcing rules, receipts from intangibles will be sourced based on where the intangible is used. Special market-based sourcing rules are provided for broadcasters, banks, natural gas pipeline companies, and electric power companies.
On June 12, 2018, both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the new state budget, allowing it to become law. Included in the budget was a state extension proposal NCACPA worked diligently on over the past several months. The provision requires any taxpayer granted an extension of time for filing a federal income tax return be granted an automatic extension of time to file the corresponding state income tax return and franchise tax return. This becomes effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 2019.
This success for taxpayers and practitioners could not have been achieved without the help of a number of NCACPA members who contacted their representatives to advocate for this issue.
NCACPA was highly involved in the drafting of this legislation, which made numerous technical changes to the North Carolina tax code. NCACPA’s Tax Modernization Task Force made recommendations to lawmakers clarifying recent changes to the sales tax laws related to RMI services, and provided language found in this bill.
In meetings with legislators, NCACPA also brought attention to an issue with GS 105-122(d) regarding how a corporation’s franchise tax base was calculated. The Association pointed out that indebtedness related to real estate no longer reduced the taxable base for franchise tax purposes, and that this drastically increased the tax for many North Carolina corporations. This was an unintended change in 2015 that was corrected in this legislation.
Additionally, a provision proposed by NCACPA was included, directing the NC Department of Revenue to conduct a feasibility and cost study of allowing the “pass-through of a federal extension of time for filing a federal income tax return to serve as an application for a State extension of time for filing corporate franchise and other income tax returns.” The DoR completed this study in January of 2018, and the Association is still ardently working with the Department and lawmakers to eliminate the state extension form requirement.
The Association worked with the NC Secretary of State, bill sponsors, and committee members to eliminate the option of filing corporate annual reports with the NC Department of Revenue, a great success especially for CPAs working in or for nonprofits.
The North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision stated that independent auditors do not owe a fiduciary responsibility to their audit clients, as a matter of either law or fact, a reversal of the NC Court of Appeals’ former ruling. NCACPA worked on this case for nearly two years, intervening with an amicus brief arguing for reversal in early 2015. This safeguarding of auditor independence was a great win for the profession.
Following provisions in the federal Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, NCACPA urged lawmakers in the NC General Assembly to make conformity determinations so taxpayers and businesses could be alleviated of much uncertainty. The IRC Update Bill was passed in May of 2016, which, importantly, decoupled on a permanent basis two provisions made permanent at the federal level under the PATH Act—enhanced Section 179 expensing, and tax-free distribution from IRAs to public charities. Section 179 was of extra significance, as legislative leaders were previously inclined to leave the state deduction limit at $25,000 and the investment limit at $200,000.
This bill addressed the critically important and time-sensitive issue of tax conformity resulting from the passage of the Tax Increase Prevention Act (TIPA) of 2014. TIPA was enacted after the NC General Assembly had adjourned, so the 50 provisions extended in the federal Act had not yet been addressed by NC lawmakers, creating uncertainty and challenge for both taxpayers and tax advisors working on 2014 tax returns. NCACPA worked with the General Assembly for several months to address these provisions on a state level, resulting in the passage of Senate Bill 20.