Sales tax effort a good model for action

By Robert Zunich, CPA/ABV
2013-2014 Chair of the Executive Board

One of the best things about serving as chair of The Ohio Society of CPAs is meeting with talented, intelligent CPAs from around Ohio to discuss the timely issues important to our profession.

But what is it like to be part of these discussions?

Having served on the board and as chair-elect, I thought it would be helpful to explain how the dialogue materializes as we work to promote and protect the profession.

A good example is OSCPA’s work to remove a proposed sales tax on services from the state’s biennial budget.

As proposed in February, H.B. 59 called for an expansion of the sales tax base to potentially thousands of services, including accounting, legal and consulting.

OSCPA members were justifiably concerned. Such a plan would have harmed Ohio’s business environment, and by extension, all taxpayers.

We surveyed members, and more than 80% of you opposed an expanded sales tax on most services. Almost two-thirds of you thought the negative impact of the sales tax proposal overshadowed any gains that would have occurred from the income tax reduction.

OSCPA’s governmental affairs team worked behind the scenes, finding out why similar tax efforts had failed in other states, and getting important information to governmental leaders.

On March 5, after considering the facts and your input, the OSCPA Executive Board voted to formally oppose the sales tax expansion and to offer OSCPA as a resource to help lawmakers find alternatives that were better for Ohio. OSCPA representatives also testified on March 6 about the harmful implications of the expanded sales tax.

I’m happy to say that the budget bill that Gov. Kasich signed into state law in June did not include an expanded tax on services, in no small part because of concerns raised by OSCPA.

The bill did include several things OSCPA supported, such as $2.7 billion in tax cuts, including a phased-in 10% reduction in personal income taxes. This helps Ohio be more competitive with nearby states.

The expanded tax on services is just one example of the issues the OSCPA Executive Board tackles. Every issue has its own challenges and opportunities.

I am looking forward to having deeper discussions with my fellow board members about their goals for the Society. I also look forward to discussing those ideas with you – both in person and here in CPA Voice. It’s not about what I want to do; it’s what do we as an organization want to do. Send your thoughts to cpavoice@ohio-cpa.com.

Robert G. Zunich, CPA/ABV with Barnes Wendling CPAs, Inc. in Sheffield Village, is The Ohio Society of CPAs 2013-2014 Chair of the Board. 

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