Congressional Inaction Wreaks Havoc on Accounting Profession

Accounting and financial advisors in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the country have once again been pushed to the limits of their patience by Congress and their inability to compromise. From South Tampa to Clearwater and beyond, the issue for accountants is not one of right or left but one of right and wrong. It is not acceptable to hold our client’s hostage to endless political maneuvering.

The failure of the Congress to act in a timely, decisive and committed manner has a trickle down affect on accountants’ and financial planners’ ability to make sound recommendations to our clients because our hands have been tied by uncertainty. All too often I am forced to tell a client that the advice I am offering may only good for today, as the law might change tomorrow.

Stimulating our economy requires investment and investment requires planning. The bottom line for many small businesses throughout South Tampa and Clearwater is that they haven’t been able to make longer term decisions due to the lack of certainty about tax code changes. If knowledge is power then lack of knowledge is weakness. Accountants and financial planners have been placed in a position of weakness through no fault of our own by the inaction of Congress.

Businesses and investors are not the only ones affected by the endless delays. Every taxpayer in America regardless of income or locale will be affected by the behavior of their own elected officials. Thanks to the delays in Congress the IRS has delayed the opening of E-Filing this year until January 30th, the latest date in recent memory. This move forces accountants to compress tax filing season even further and delays tax refunds for an as yet undetermined period.

Accountants and financial planners aren’t typically professionals who complain. We take pride in our deliberate nature and ability to provide clear and reasoned advice based on facts. The facts we rely on are the tax laws and policies of the IRS and when the future of those laws is uncertain our ability to advise is compromised. As professionals who are trained to be clear and concise and understand the tax laws and regulations, we are placed at a disadvantage that can be very challenging to say the least.