The New York State Society of CPAs has responded to President Obama’s criticism of accountants during a press conference this week.
During a press conference Wednesday, Obama was asked about what steps his administration might take to deal with the wave of corporate tax inversions, in which U.S. multinationals acquire companies in lower-tax countries and change their tax domiciles to lower their tax rates (see Obama Blames Accountants for Inversion Trends).
Obama prefaced his response by seemingly placing blame for the trend on accountants: “You have accountants going to some big corporations—multinational corporations but that are clearly U.S.-based and have the bulk of their operations in the United States—and these accountants are saying, you know what, we found a great loophole—if you just flip your citizenship to another country, even though it’s just a paper transaction, we think we can get you out of paying a whole bunch of taxes.”
Accounting Today readers weighed in with a flurry of comments (46 at last count), and on Friday, Scott Adair, president of the New York State Society of CPAs, issued a response on behalf of the NYSSCPA.
“As President of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, I believe President Obama should be aware that U.S. corporations hire accountants for their distinct ability and expertise in seeing that clients fulfill their tax obligations as required by the laws adopted by Congress,” he said. “In fact, it is a CPAs’ unique ability to legally navigate an extraordinarily complex tax code that makes CPAs’ services so valuable to their individual and corporate clients.
“If President Obama wants to point fingers, perhaps he should point them at Congress for creating the very loopholes he vilifies,” Adair added. “Sustainable corporate tax reform is the elephant in this room. President Obama’s goals would be best served by looking to his fellow lawmakers if he wants a solution to this problem. The accounting profession stands ready to help.”