Website of the Month: The AICPA’s Tax Center

By Susan B. Anders

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DECEMBER 2006 - The AICPA’s Tax Center can be accessed directly (tax.aicpa.org), or through the recently redesigned AICPA website (www.aicpa.org) by selecting “Professional Resources” and then “Tax.” The Tax Center provides access to a substantial amount of technical information, practice tools, and guidance on AICPA positions for members of the AICPA Tax Division.

Members of the AICPA Tax Division have access to all of the Tax Center’s resources; nonmembers can access some of the materials, and several features are available to the public.

The uniform appearance of the homepage and main pages streamlines the navigation. The main menu is a horizontal bar at the top of the home and main pages, with tabs for “Home,” “Resources,” “Community,” “Events,” “Membership,” and “Products.” At the top of each page, a drop-down menu provides access to the AICPA website and other member interest centers. Users can log in on every main page, and features that require a log-in for access readily prompt the user.

The center of the home and main pages contains content description, with embedded hyperlinks for referenced resources. Large sections on main pages contain indexes with links to subsidiary pages. Main and subsidiary pages include navigation path hyperlinks for easy backtracking. Some resources can be accessed via multiple routes.

Available Resources

All users can access the main pages to see what features are available. Resources restricted to AICPA or Tax Section members are marked with a “lock” icon. The “Resources” section organizes technical information by topic. Much of the material is restricted; however, some useful resources are available to the public. AICPA comment letters, as well as articles from the Journal of Accountancy (JofA) and The Tax Advisor (TTA), can be found under many of the “Resource” topics.

The Tax Center homepage and “Resources” subsidiary page offer a link to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct as well as the AICPA’s “Statements on Standards in Tax Practice” (SSTS), and Treasury Department Circular 230 materials. The SSTS materials include PDF files with the official statements, plus JofA articles about the SSTS.

The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005, and the related Joint Committee on Taxation Report, are available on the homepage or under “Resources,” by selecting “Tax Advocacy for Members,” then “Tax Legislation and Policy.” Access to the Tax Section’s Disaster Area Practice Guide, the Katrina Emergency Relief Act of 2005, and the Flexibility for Displaced Workers Act is available in the same locations. “Useful Web Site Links,” under “Resources,” offers a small, but interesting collection of links to external websites.

Members Only

The heart of the website is the “Resources” main page with its 15 topical subsidiary pages, many of which are for members only. Topics covered include tools and aids, legislation (AICPA comment letters), and regulation and administration (IRS materials and AICPA comments). AICPA checklists and practice guides are also under many of the topics.

“Employee Benefits” is one of the largest topical sections and contains several resources, including annuities, retirement planning, and traditional IRAs. “International” materials include a tax forms practice aid for non-experts and a tax planning guide for U.S. taxpayers conducting operations abroad. “Trust, Estate and Gift” provides materials on several topics, including business succession, estate planning, family limited partnerships, and generation-skipping tax. “Individual” is another substantial section, covering topics from bankruptcy to investment to tax planning.

The “Tax Discussion Forum,” also for members only, can be found under “Community” and also by a resource highlight on some of the main pages. There are currently 16 forums, with individual taxation and general discussions as the most popular. Members can search by keyword and access a member list to communicate with other members.


Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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