The American Institute of CPAs has asked Congress to restrict the issuance of patents for tax strategies.
In a cover letter to an 18-page paper sent to several congressional committees, the AICPA said that patents granted for tax strategies are, “contrary to sound public policy because they undermine the integrity, fairness, and administrability of the tax system” --and effectively allow exclusivity in interpreting the laws of the tax code.
The AICPA noted a number of other concerns, saying that the growing number of tax patents would only interfere with improving voluntary compliance with the tax system, may mislead taxpayers into believing that a patented strategy is valid under the tax law, and may preclude tax professionals from challenging the validity of tax strategy patents.
Saying that administrative restrictions alone wouldn’t be sufficient, the AICPA offered two recommendations to Congress, that it outright place restrictions on the patent office from issuing patents for tax strategies and that, at a minimum, taxpayers and tax practitioners be made immune from liability for tax strategy patent infringement.
The AICPA also said it agreed with public comments made by IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, and that the exception to an outright ban might be patents for commercial tax computation software.
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