2015-06 Newsletter
WAATP Update June 2015
In This Issue

 

Breaking News
From the President
Leadership Conference
Update Your Profile

Education
Quickfinder
WBOA
NSA Update

Chapter News

 

Around the State

Chapter Events

We have four active chapters around the state.  These chapter officers have been diligently working to bring relevant education to the chapter members and with creating a quality collaborative peer meeting environment. 
 
Go to www.waa.org/chapters to find out what is happening in your chapter.

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

Chapters

Committees

Chapter Listservs

All WAATP members have been subscribed to their chapter listserv based on the chapter listed in their profile.  Download these listserv instructions to learn how to subscribe if you do not currently have a chapter affiliation listed on your profile, to unsubscribe, or to change the email address you want subscribed to the listserv.

Membership Dues

The non-deductible portion of WAATP membership dues for Active and Associate members is 26% for this fiscal year. This amount is attributable to lobbying activities.

In Memorial

If you are aware of a WAATP member who has passed on please contact editorial@waa.org.

Job Board

Looking for Work or a New Employee? Check Out Our WAATP Job Board!

Click here to learn more and see current jobs and resumes.


Editorial Content

The principal aims of this publication are the advancement of the accounting profession and communication among our members. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual writers and not necessarily those of WAATP or the Editor. Please submit articles and comments to editorial@waa.org.

The deadline for submissions is the 15th of the month of publication.


The mission of the Washington Association of Accounting & Tax Professionals is to promote and protect the right of every member to practice accounting and taxation; to provide the services and professional education necessary to maintain and improve professional competence.

Breaking News!

We've Updated Our Name!
(formerly WAA)

We are excited to announce that we have a new name! A name that more accurately describes our diverse group of professionals! As of June 25, 2015 we are now the Washington Association of Accounting and Tax Professionals , (WAATP).

We remain your organization. An organization committed to providing you with quality live and online education. An organization committed to protecting your right to practice in Washington State.

Why did we change?

We take pride in our unique value as an association - we are the only professional Washington State organization of accounting and tax practitioners that welcomes and promotes all industry credential holders and anyone seeking professional development.

And yet at every education seminar we hosted, a comment heard over and over again was: “I can’t join your association, I’m not an accountant”. Our very name was proving to be a perceived barrier to joining our group! With our new name this barrier is lifted.

Is anything changing besides the name?

Nope. We will continue offering stellar education seminars and online education programs; we will continue to help members obtain credentials or maintain credentials; and we will continue to help members connect, learn, and grow in a welcoming and collaborative environment.

We will transition our brand and increase our marketing efforts in order to promote our new name. As we anticipate a strong increase in membership over the next several years, we will include a membership campaign which will strengthen our association and provide even greater value! Our service and commitment to you, remains unchanged.

Why now?

It has never been more important for accounting and tax professionals to seek out continuing education and help from industry professionals. The scope and complexity of our current tax law is greater than at any other time in our country’s history. How do we keep up? And how do we effectively represent our clients and resolve problems when the IRS funding gets cut? WAATP will help. We support the current Tax Practitioner Bill of Rights sponsored and advocated by the National Society of Accountants, (our national affiliate). Now, more than ever, belonging to a group that promotes you and protects your right to practice is imperative. Our name change reflects the wide variety of professionals that need our advocacy.

Grow With Us

The State Board, the State Chapters and the Members of Washington Association of Accounting and Tax Professionals invite you to embrace this change and become a member today!

  Join Today!

 

From the President
 

by Charles Grass

Now that Father’s Day is over summer officially begins.  With summer comes barbecues with family and friends and taking revitalizing vacations. 

For me, it also marks one week to my annual trip to Las Vegas for the Office Tools Practice Management Conference for users and prospective users of Office Tools Workspace.  I attend this conference for the ideas on how to manage my practice more efficiently.   Somehow, someway, not someday; better manage who does what, where, how and why.  To get the most out of the conference I take my office administrator with me.  She not only has a different perspective, but it is her job to implement the policies and procedures that we have in place. 

What do we learn or seek to learn from the presenters and our peers in attendance; always how to better use more of the program to better manage our work and the firm.  More importantly, how are others dealing with the situations we encounter from firm management, to technology, to marketing, to staffing. 

WAATP has always been a resource in this area too.  Not a chapter meeting goes by without some discussion between attendees about practice management, client management or staffing issues.  Periodically the speakers at our meetings directly address practice management issues.  Past President Astrid Arola gave presentations at both Puget Sound Tacoma and the Greater Seattle Eastside chapter meetings on How to Fire your Client.  Her presentation focused on how to objectively evaluate, score and rank your clients and even provided a worksheet and client dismissal letter. 

I encourage you to attend as many WAATP chapter meetings as you can.  There is always a benefit from the speaker and from the other attendees.  

Yours in Service,
Charlie
Charles Grass, President

 

Update Your Profile

 

Greetings from your Administrative Partners!  With all the excitement surrounding the new name and as we embark on our next Education Season, now is the perfect time to update your profile in our database.  Log in to ensure that everything is up to date, your contact information is exactly how you want it, and that your credentials are correct.  

 


Leadership Conference

by Melanie Levno

Cruising Into Leadership was our theme for this year’s conference held at the Holiday Inn in Everett. Each attendee was greeted at the door by the Skipper, Ronnie Wright and the Skipper’s Little Buddy, Melanie Levno. We had a very full boat this year and although no one was left on shore, we are encouraging early registration for next year’s event as we are expecting to sell out.

Leadership conference is a time for fun (check out the pictures on our Facebook page), but it is also a time for stretching and challenging ourselves. We come to leadership to learn about our association and to learn how to do our volunteer jobs, but we also come to learn and grow as leaders.

We started off with an icebreaker game so that we could all get to know one another; the game involved a bit of public speaking, (each participant had to introduce another attendee).

Kathy Jolly of the NW Chapter taught us the history of our association: how WAA (now WAATP), came into existence, and how and why we continue to serve our profession.

We studied our state and chapter bylaws and in the process discovered that maybe just maybe, some of our chapter bylaws might need updating. A rousing game of WAA Bylaw Jeopardy was led by State President Charlie Grass and Skipper’s Little Pal, Melanie. A very competitive group of accountants buzzed in by clanging a cowbell, ringing a bell, or by making a caw-caw sound. It was ridiculous, but it was fun, and we learned a lot about our bylaws.
Part of our mission statement is to provide the services and professional education necessary to maintain and improve professional competence. Our organization and each of our 4 state chapters is committed to that mission. In order to deliver, we have to learn how to put on seminars and we have to learn what education qualifies for continuing education credit and how to get approval for classes. Big thanks to our education chair, Cindy Polley, also of the NW Chapter, for showing us how to get it done.

Gary Bowe of Spokane entertained us with the myths and truths of Roberts Rules of Order. Gary, we all promise that we will never say “I make a motion to ….” instead we will use the proper form of “I move…..”

Communication is often cited as one of the most important parts of effective Leadership. Ronnie inspired us with his presentation on the 5 W’s : What, Why, Where, When, and Who. What’s the decision? Why is it the right decision? Where is the decision coming from? When is it happening? And who is in Charge? Proper communication sets the tone for the organization. As leaders, we need to be aware of our communication styles.

Being a leader isn’t always easy; and attending and participating in leadership conference is definitely not easy. Each attendee rose to the occasion and every single person there showed us all just why they were recognized as leaders and why they will be successful. Ronnie and Melanie and the state board offer sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the presenters and all of the participants. 

We’re looking forward to seeing you next year! To our up and coming leaders and to those who have never attended leadership, please, get in touch with Ronnie Wright, the 2015-2016 Chapter Coordinator at chaptercoordinator@waa.org. He’ll save you a seat.

  

Education

 


by Cynthia Polley

WAATP offers a wide variety of education to keep you busy this summer, but don’t forget to register for the fall tax update seminars too.  Registration is open for all live events this year.  See a list below of the live seminars and dates.  See you there!

The summer is a great time to begin studying for next tax season.  The Lyons Comprehensive Tax School provides a 12-week comprehensive tax course earning up to 60 hours of CE upon successful completion.  This course is perfect for anyone wanting to learn to prepare individual tax returns or anyone interested in refreshing his/her knowledge.  Prepare for next tax season with this course.

The Fast Forward Academy provides exam study courses for the Enrolled Agent, Certified Management Accountant, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and now the new Annual Filing Season Program exams.  If you are considering studying for any one of these credentials, Fast Forward Academy provides the tools needed to pass the exam.

Take advantage of the convenience of earning CPE while sitting in your home or office.  The online vendors offer discounts on education every day.  Find the course you need on the WAA website at WWW.WAA.ORG.

In addition to the required tax and accounting updates each year, it is important to stay up to date on technology issues as well.  With identity theft on the rise, Bob Jennings re-wrote the manual for his Security course.  There are a variety of live streaming seminars, on demand webcasts and self-study manuals for his Technology, Practice Management, Security, Drop Box as a Server and other topics.

 

2015 Live Seminar Schedule

 

Gear Up Business Entities

Auburn, October 26-27, 2015

 

Gear Up Individual 1040

Everett, November 9-10, 2015

Auburn, Nov 30 and Dec 1, 2015

Spokane, December 7-8, 2015

 

Gear Up Professional Ethics

Everett, November 9, 2015

Auburn, November 30, 2015

Spokane, December 7, 2015

 

 


 

 

 

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RECORDS AND YOU:

PART ONE OF “STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE”

by Washington Board of Accountancy

Effectively managing your records goes a long way toward managing your professional risk. As a certified public accountant, considerable onus is placed in your custody of client information and distinguishing among what records must be provided, when and how. Also, the cost of providing these records is an important consideration. In the Board’s Enforcement division, the question of client records is often a source of concern. Board rule, or more specifically, Title 4 WAC 4-30-051, is the clarifying rule of guidance.

The What

Records are not all the same. Board rule breaks records into four separate categories: client provided records, licensee prepared records, supporting records, and working papers. Rule states that client provided, licensee prepared, and supporting records must be provided to the client upon request. What are these different types?

• Client provided records are, quite simply, accounting or other records that have been provided to a licensee by the client.

• Licensee prepared records are those created by the licensee, and are generally the purpose of the engagement: tax returns, general ledgers, subsidiary journals, and supporting schedules.

• Supporting records are typically not reflected in the client’s books and records, and not otherwise available to the client. Adjusting, closing, combining, or consolidating journal entries are just a few examples of documents that support an engagement.

• Working papers would usually hold little interest to a client. Audit programs, analytical review schedules, statistical sampling results, and analyses guide a licensee’s work, but are not work product, or supportive of such.

The When

The urgency of conveying records to client upon request varies according to format, and some of these records are not as readily deliverable as others. “Soon as practical” is the guidance in the rule, but barring extenuating circumstances, 45 days from date of request is the deadline.

If a licensee has previously provided a client with a record, there is no obligation to do so again, barring some unusual circumstance. While such consideration may help in client relations, a licensee is not required to deliver records that have already been delivered, but that is a decision up to the CPA.

The How

Some client records may be in a format that is unusable by the client. Licensees may use software or hardware that makes a record unusable to someone without the same tools. WAC 4-30-051 requires that the requested records be provided in any format usable by the client. Today’s world empowers people with more tools than ever before, but what may be usable by one person may not be the same for another. Discussing the deliverable format with a client can help prevent any potential hiccup, or redundant work, in the future.

The Cost

Many licensees may not keep client records in a manner that would facilitate easy delivery upon request. In such instances, where the retrieval and copying of records incurs time and expense by the licensee, WAC 4-30-051 allows the licensee to charge a reasonable fee. Licensees can require that such fees be paid prior to the production of records.

The Confusion

Each scenario may require a different approach. Clients are as diverse as the records they provide and need. If there is ever concern about client records, consult WAC 4-30-051. If that does not answer your question, do not hesitate to contact Board staff at (360) 753-2586 – we are happy to assist your practice.

  


 

 

NSA Update



by Larry Walkden

 

This year we have a tremendous opportunity.  First, the National Society of Accountants will be having their annual convention in beautiful Vancouver BC beginning August 19, 2015.  Second, our past president, Kathy Hettick, will be installed as the NSA President.  What a great opportunity to witness both. 

 

 NSA convention is a great opportunity to meet other accountants from around the country and learn from them.  Convention has several seminars and exhibitors providing products that may be useful your business.  In the past, the IRS has addressed the attendees as to changes in IRS. 

 

NSA is advocate for your profession not only in Washington DC, but also in many states around the nation. 

 

NSA is offering a great opportunity to for non member an opportunity to attend the convention for $795, and you would receive a full year’s membership to NSA.  If you would like more information please contact me, Larry Walkden, as soon as possible.



NSA Proposes Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights

Proposed $838 million cut in IRS funding drives new initiative

 

ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 16, 2015 — In the wake of a proposed $838 million cut in funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Society of Accountants (NSA) has issued a “Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights.”

NSA hopes this Bill of Rights, developed during the past few months, will establish timely enactment of tax laws and regulations and reasonable levels of IRS service for tax practitioners, who file 60 percent of the tax returns received by the IRS each year.

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee voted June 11 to cut the IRS budget by $838 million (7.7 percent), continuing a multi-year decline in IRS funding.

“The tax system is breaking down, and these funding cuts mandated by Congress are a big part of the problem,” said NSA President Marilyn Niwao, a CPA and attorney. “IRS customer service is at an all-time low, and tax practitioners cannot get timely responses from the IRS for questions we pose on behalf of our clients because the IRS cannot afford the staff it needs to answer the phones.”

NSA Executive Vice President John Ams added, “The IRS also needs to change its procedures and respect the needs of taxpayers and tax practitioners. For example, the IRS has scheduled computer maintenance and downtime in the few days before returns are due. This has nothing to do with funding – it has to do with common sense.”

NSA tax practitioners have also complained that IRS agents want to meet with them during March and April. Ams said, “Everyone, including IRS agents, knows that returns are due on April 15, so why not schedule something in May or June instead? Again, a lack of common sense.”

“Congress has to enact tax legislation in a more timely manner,” Niwao said. “Last year, a tax bill was enacted on December 19, giving no one – not taxpayers, tax return preparers or the IRS – sufficient time to learn about the changes in the tax law, or even get tax forms out in time for the beginning of the tax filing season” Niwao added.

“The entire tax system is built on Congress passing tax law and appropriating funding, the IRS implementing the law, and tax practitioners and taxpayers complying with the law,” Ams added. “But two-thirds of this system is broken – Congress is not appropriating enough money for the IRS to function properly and so the IRS is not able to do its job.” Niwao declared, “That’s why we need this Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights.”

The IRS already has a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but NSA officials note that this does not address the many challenges that tax practitioners face when preparing returns for the 60 percent of U.S. taxpayers who hire them to prepare their tax returns. Niwao stated that among the provisions in the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights are the right to be informed, the right to quality IRS service, and the right to not pay more than the correct amount of tax.

“These so-called ‘rights’ are meaningless if a taxpayer’s representative cannot get the information needed from the IRS because Congress has not appropriated sufficient funds to allow the agency to function properly,” Niwao said.

 

The NSA Tax Practitioners Bill of Rights includes the following:

 

1.    THE RIGHT TO HAVE TAX LAWS AND RULES PASSED IN A TIMELY MANNER , INCLUDING:
  • The right to have tax laws affecting the current tax year enacted no later than September 1 of that year.
  • The right to have IRS forms reflecting any new tax laws for the current year available no later than October 1 of that year.

 

2.    THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SERVICE FROM THE IRS, INCLUDING:

  • The right to have telephone calls answered within 15 minutes, on a practitioner-only hotline, staffed by competent/knowledgeable employees.
  • The right to have taxpayer correspondence answered within 20 days.
  • The right to have any collection action on the taxpayer’s account frozen while the IRS is considering a taxpayer’s timely filed response to IRS collection activity.
  • The right to have one IRS representative deal with a tax issue from start to finish until the issue is resolved.
  • The right to request a supervisor be involved in resolving a matter if the initiating IRS representative is unwilling or unable to resolve an issue.
  • The right for practitioners with Practitioner Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) to communicate electronically with the IRS on taxpayer matters in a secure manner.

3.   
THE RIGHT TO PRACTICE WITHOUT UNDUE IRS DEMANDS DURING TAX FILING SEASON, INCLUDING:


  • The right to have an IRS audit moratorium during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.
  •  The right to have an IRS moratorium on collection actions or collection information requests during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.
  • The right to have an IRS moratorium on planned software maintenance and computer downtime periods during the three weeks immediately before major tax deadlines such as March 15, April 15, September 15, October 15 of each year.

“The continuing slowdown in IRS customer service due to ongoing budget cuts affects hundreds of millions of taxpayers who are voters and constituents in every state and Congressional district in the nation,” Ams explained. “What’s even worse is that the budget cuts actually cost the nation billions of dollars in lost tax revenue because the IRS doesn’t have the resources to enforce the tax law. This is the epitome of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.”

For more information contact NSA at 800-966-6679 or members@nsacct.org. Learn more about NSA at www.nsacct.org.

 

# # #

 

NSA and its affiliates represent more than 30,000 practitioners who provide accounting, auditing, tax preparation, financial and estate planning, and management services to approximately 19 million individuals and business clients. Most members are sole practitioners or partners in small- to medium-size accounting firms. NSA protects the public by requiring its members to adhere to a strict code of ethics. For more information, visit www.nsacct.org.

 

                                                 

 

  

 

Chapter News

 
Greater Seattle Chapter

by Lauren Vignec

At our last meeting we installed our new leadership, and we are very happy to report that we have a full slate going forward. Lauren Vignec will serve as President, Jeremy Saladino will serve as Vice President, Jose Pol will return as Treasurer, and we welcome Jeannie Price as our new Secretary. We are also looking forward to our upcoming joint mini-seminar with the Tacoma chapter on all the new laws surrounding marijuana sales, bookkeeping, and taxation.

 


Northwest Chapter

by Sherry Werth

Hello WAA Members and Welcome to Summer!  We hope you have a great vacation planned and we see you at an upcoming meeting!

In June, the NW Chapter had Gary Smith from IBA come to update our members on what the impact of the regular session and the subsequent special sessions of the State Legislature.  The 2nd special session is underway and the biggest issue is to pass a new state biannual budget.  If a new budget does not pass by June 30, 2015, Washington State will face a shutdown causing reduction of services.  There is division between the House and Senate focusing on tax revenue.  Gary Smith will update us on the current positions of both budgets.  Gary Smith has an informative weekly email that he sends to update us on current issues I recommend you contact him to receive those communications.

July 2nd meeting when we have Aaron Hoffman from Department of Labor & Industries to discuss pertinent classification issues such as exempt vs nonexempt and contractor vs employee designations.  Bring your questions for Aaron!  We will also be discussing a proposal to move our NW chapter meeting date to the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Please bring your thoughts to the meeting and join the discussion!

 


Puget Sound/Tacoma Chapter 

by Jorden Knoben

The Puget Sound Chapter installed the following new officers, Jordan Knoben, as President; Darleen Sondergaards as Vice President/President Elect; Yet Sok as Secretary; and Martin Mertens as Treasurer; My name is Jordan Knoben and I am excited to be the new Puget Sound Tacoma Chapter President.  This is a great group of people and we are going to do our best to make the coming year great.

 

We have several terrific events planned for the upcoming.  In July, our chapter meeting on QuickBooks Online.  QuickBooks has made several changes in the online version of QuickBooks and it is important for us to be knowledgeable of the changes.

In August, we have a meeting on problems with Labor & Industries presented by Aaron Hoffman.  Labor & Industries is having a greater impact our business clients, finding out how to navigate the pitfalls of this agency can save our client substantial amount of money.

In September, we are hosting two events. The regular monthly meeting will feature our very own outgoing president Shawn Gagnon speaking about S-Corporations.  S-Corporations are a popular business formation that can save clients tax money if done correctly.  In partnership with the Seattle Chapter we will be hosting a mini-seminar on the marijuana industry.  The marijuana industry is very controversial, with specific tax rules.  Whether you are serving this industry or not it is important to know the issues.  As we get more details they will be forwarded to you. 

I look forward to seeing you at these events. 

 


Spokane Chapter
By Lynnette Heidenreich

Busy season is over and now is the time to schedule your education.  In July we will have Gary Smith with an update on legislative issues.  This is an extremely important topic as our lawmakers have been in special session trying to pass a budget.  Many tax increases have been discussed and IBA is doing its best to represent our business clients.

We will be holding a mini seminar in the fall on IRS representation.  This was a very successful course on the west side.  Our own Ronnie Wright will be one of the presenters.  More information to follow.  This seminar qualifies for EA CPE.

In June we elected Vera Chosenko as our new Secretary.  Larry Lee agreed to another 2 year term as a Spokane Board member.  Roger Regele was elected to the Spokane Board for a 2 year term.  Thanks to all 3 of you that said “YES”.  We look forward to your leadership.

See you at our next meeting in July!  We will not have a meeting in August.  Have an awesome summer and we will see you in September.

 

 

Washington Association of Accounting & Tax Professionals      l P O Box 748, Liberty Lake, WA  99019 l 509-993-2307 l office@waa.org l www.waa.org