Accountants group backs tax simplification proposals

An advocacy group for accountants is backing many new proposals to streamline the tax code from the Senate’s current top tax writer.

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Finance Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusGOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination MORE (D-Mont.) released a raft of proposals in November to make the filing process easier for the average taxpayer, just weeks before he was nominated to be President Obama’s ambassador to China.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, said Thursday that it supported a raft of those ideas, including several measures to battle identity theft and putting scannable code on computer-prepared returns that are still mailed in.

“The AICPA consistently has supported tax reform simplification efforts because we are convinced such actions will significantly reduce taxpayers’ compliance costs, encourage voluntary compliance through a better understanding of the rules, and reduce the number of enforcement actions,” Jeffrey Porter, the chairman of the group’s tax executive committee, said in a letter to Baucus and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchGOP senator to Dems: 'What's all the whining about' on Supreme Court? Trump, time to end outsourcing ... at the IRS Hatch: I may retire if Romney runs to replace me MORE (Utah), the top Republican on the Finance panel.

Baucus’s tax simplification draft was one of four that he released late last year, and likely the least controversial.

Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Finance: Dems seek probe of acting SEC chief | Defense hawks say they won't back short-term funding | Senate seen as start point for Trump infrastructure plan | Dems want more money for IRS Dem senator: Intel panel should probe financial ties between Trump, Russia Dems wait for GOP olive branch after ObamaCare debacle MORE (D-Ore.) is expected to assume the Finance gavel when Baucus leaves for Beijing, and it remains to be seen how he’ll incorporate the Montana Democrat’s ideas into his own push for tax reform.

Baucus’s draft also had proposals mandating that more forms be filed electronically, and requiring more information for reporting mortgage interest. AICPA backs those proposals as well.