OSCPA Legislative Update: Accounting profession provides congress with 6 recommendations for next phase of COVID-19 relief legislation

July 20, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have returned to Washington, D.C., for the first time since the end of June. Leadership from both chambers are in deep discussion about a path forward for the next COVID-19 relief legislative package. Read any headline and you’ll know Congress has a lot of work ahead in creating bipartisan relief legislation.

The AICPA, on behalf of the accounting profession, continues to encourage Congress to not delay in finding bipartisan consensus on additional relief and recovery legislation, and to include provisions that reflect the true and immediate needs of small businesses. In a letter sent on July 20 to Congressional leaders, the profession called for a focus on small business’ and the American workforce’s urgent need for fast, simple solutions that drive economic recovery.

“The OSCPA joins the AICPA in supporting the accounting profession’s commitment to small business recovery," said OSCPA President and CEO Blaine Peterson. "These provisions will help our economy move forward by simplifying the process for PPP loan forgiveness, making PPP funds available to 501(c)(6) organizations and helping remote workers, among other actions. The OSCPA is working to be sure Oklahoma's congressional delegates know the important role CPAs play as trusted business advisors in this critical time."

The accounting profession’s recommendations to Congress were:

1. Allow full deductions for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) related business expenses: To uphold Congress’ intent that PPP recipients receive the full benefit of a PPP loan, the profession supports bipartisan legislation clarifying that receipt and forgiveness of coronavirus assistance through the PPP does not affect the deductibility of ordinary business expenses. (Read letter of support.)

2. Provide information and tools to further simplify the PPP loan forgiveness application process: It is critical that all PPP borrowers have access to key guidance from the SBA and Treasury, as well as tools to easily determine and apply for the forgiven amount. The AICPA supports bipartisan, bicameral legislation (R. 7413 / S. 4171, the Calculate PPP Forgiveness Act of 2020) that would require the SBA and Treasury to provide or certify free, publicly accessible PPP loan forgiveness calculators. (Read press release.)

3. Remove unnecessary and unfair tax obstacles to remote work: The OSCPA and the AICPA have long called for simplifying complex tax reporting rules employers and employees face as a result of numerous state income tax laws and varying de minimis exemptions when employees work outside their home states. CPAs support bipartisan legislation, S. 3995, the Remote and Mobile Worker Relief Act of 2020, which reaches a balance between states’ rights to tax income and the needs of individuals and businesses, especially small businesses, to operate efficiently in this economic climate. (Read letter of support.)

4. Allow section 501(c)(6) associations and organizations access to PPP: Local 501(c)(6) organizations are currently ineligible for assistance through the PPP. Many OSCPA members serve these organizations, which are suffering from event and meeting cancellations. CPAs appreciate the strong bipartisan congressional support on this issue and urge Congress to include language allowing section 501(c)(6) organizations access to the PPP in the upcoming package.

5. Provide additional federal fiscal relief to state and local governments: Without appropriately targeted federal assistance, state budget shortfalls could trigger new state taxes on many already-struggling small businesses. CPAs have sounded the alarm on the urgent need for more direct federal aid to states and localities to keep our economic recovery on track. The accounting profession urges Congress to include meaningful federal aid for state and local governments in the upcoming package. 

6. Adopt new coronavirus-related liability provisions: CPAs are concerned about a wave of meritless coronavirus-related lawsuits against employers trying their best to operate safely in an uncertain environment. Employers and employees must both feel safe and confident about returning to work, and new temporary and targeted liability protections that do not dampen key worker protections should be an important piece of the upcoming legislative package.

The OSCPA created a COVID-19 Resource Center to help members and businesses during this difficult time. Additionally, the AICPA has developed a Coronavirus Resource Center and several resources, including the new, free PPP loan forgiveness platform, and practice aids and guides to help small businesses and CPA firms during the pandemic.