Press Release: Rendell's Sales Tax Expansion Would Hurt Many Businesses

CPAs Outline Flaws in State's Attempt to Boost Revenue

PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell's recent budget proposal to remove the exemption of the state sales tax for professional services would have damaging long-term effects on Pennsylvania business growth, says the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA).

While the PICPA recognizes the state's need for revenue to support critical state operations and programs, expanding the sales tax to include services - such as those provided by CPAs, attorneys, advertisers, and public relations - will be a quick fix that ultimately hurts Pennsylvania's long-term growth prospects.

PICPA, in several testimonies to the Pennsylvania House and Senate, has strongly encouraged a simplification of the current state tax code to attract more business and thus more revenue. Removing the sales tax exemption on services will create more confusion in the marketplace and could also be a strong deterrent for business expansion and sustainability. The negative effects of this tax expansion include the following:

- Compliance difficulties and increased administrative burden to the thousands of small businesses in Pennsylvania.

- Pennsylvania would be at a competitive disadvantage, as only three other states tax professional services, and none surround the Commonwealth.

- Further expansion of the sales tax will not make the state any more business-friendly as Pennsylvania already has one of the highest business tax rates.

Pennsylvania CPAs established the "Guiding Principles of Good Tax Policy" pamphlet, which can be viewed on PICPA's Web site at www.picpa.org/taxpolicy.

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Contact Jim DeLuccia, communications administrator, at (267) 675-6255, or Kathleen Miller, communications manager, at (215) 972-6188, to set up an interview with a CPA or e-mail mediaresources@picpa.org.

The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants is a professional association of more than 19,000 CPAs who work in public accounting, industry, government, and education. Founded in 1897, PICPA is the second-oldest state CPA organization in the United States. To find a member CPA in your area, visit our Web site at www.picpa.org and click on CPA Locator.