In This Edition: IRS, Treasury release proposed regulations to update income tax withholding rules … New legislative year for states includes new threats to CPA licensing … A conversation with USC Moore School of Business Dean Peter Brews … School district’s annual gala has cost $125,000 from general tax fund since 2014 … Commentary: Charleston chef, restaurant owner spells out risks of wine tariffs on SC restaurants

IRS, Treasury Release Proposed Regulations to Update Income Tax Withholding Rules

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations updating the federal income tax withholding rules to reflect changes made by the TCJA and other legislation. The proposals, available in the Federal Register, are designed to accommodate the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, to be used starting in 2020, and the related tables and computational procedures in Publication 15-T, Federal Income Tax Withholding Methods. To assist with computation of income tax withholding, the redesigned Form W-4 no longer uses an employee’s marital status and withholding allowances, which were tied to the value of the personal exemption. Due to TCJA changes, employees can no longer claim personal exemptions. Instead, income tax withholding using the redesigned Form W-4 will generally be based on the employee’s expected filing status and standard deduction for the year. The Form W-4 is also redesigned to make it easier for employees with more than one job at the same time or married employees who file jointly with their working spouses to withhold the proper amount of tax. The proposed regulations permit employees to use the new IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to help them accurately fill out Form W-4. (IRS Newswire)

New Legislative Year for States Includes New Threats to CPA Licensing

As legislation has been introduced in West Virginia aimed to reduce professional licensing requirements in the state, the AICPA is monitoring all state legislatures that are in session for the appearance of similar bills with the intent to advocate in response with the message that licensing regulations protect the public. The Alliance for Responsible Professional Licensing, which includes the AICPA among representatives of other professions, works to educate lawmakers on how licensing rules protect the public. Their recent survey of 952 likely voters found that more than 70% say regulating professionals is important in accounting or any related field that impacts public safety and welfare. Skip Braziel, the AICPA’s vice president–State Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, frames the “consumer choice” proposals from anti-regulation groups – that unlicensed professionals can perform any service that requires a license so long as a consumer consents to the agreement – as “consumer beware” proposals because such an agreement in an audit is not just between the unlicensed professional and the client but everyone in the public who would rely on the audit. “There are more [consumers] involved in this than just the two parties that the legislation highlights.” Braziel also said CPAs must remind their legislators of the profession’s contributions, even if anti-licensing legislation has yet to be introduced in a state. “It’s never too early to begin talking about why our profession is so important,” he said. (Journal of Accountancy)

A Conversation with USC Moore School of Business Dean Peter Brews

Over the six years that Peter Brews has been dean of the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, he has guided the schools’ transformation from a two-year concentration in business classes for juniors and seniors to a four-year program. The result is a spike in an enrollment where undergraduate numbers are now capped. Because of the change, Brews said he could now “get to the freshmen, and speak to them in the first week that they’re on campus so that I could do my best, as gently as possible, to scare the living daylight out of them. So they understand that they are going to be held to high performance, that failure is an option, and we are not doing them any good unless present them with challenging material that equips them with skills that will differentiate them in the market.” Brews, who relocated in the 1980s from South Africa to America, also talks about his thoughts on the university’s rise in the number of out-of-state students and globalization trends. (Post and Courier)

School District’s Annual Gala Has Cost $125,000 from General Tax Fund Since 2014

The Richland 1 school district’s annual red carpet and black-tie gala to induct distinguished alumni into its Hall of Fame covers most of its costs through sponsorships and ticket sales. However, a public records request by The State newspaper shows that over the past six years Richland 1 has used more than $125,000 combined from general taxpayer funds. Since the 2013-14 school year, the only year tax money was not received was 2014-15; otherwise, an average of nearly $21,000 was spent on the gala, with the sum rising from almost $22,000 in 2017-18 to a peak of almost $45,000 in 2018-19. A Richland 1 spokeswoman said a charitable foundation that has since disbanded once paid for the gala, which began in 2004, and that district supporters and alumni are trying to start a new foundation to take its place and also sponsor an academic achievement banquet and a teacher grants program. (The State)

Commentary: Charleston Chef, Restaurant Owner Spells Out Risks of Wine Tariffs on SC Restaurants

Chef Mike Lata, who co-owns the Charleston restaurants FIG and The Ordinary, writes in the Post and Courier about how the livelihoods of area restauranteurs are “imperiled by the proposed 100% tariffs on wines and other specialty goods imported from the European Union.” Lata cautions that if European winemakers face steep barriers to U.S. markets, they will simply seek out new trade routes to markets in other areas such as China and that re-establishing U.S. deliveries in the future will be difficult to secure. “All you Cognac connoisseurs, Sancerre lovers, Burgundy enthusiasts, Prosecco fans, be warned: When these go away, they may never come back.” (Post and Courier)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“The Moore School is more than just a few of its niche programs, and there was excellence all over the building. All that I have done is shine more light on those areas of excellence.”

Peter Brews, reflecting on his six years as dean of the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business