There are various occasions when Licensees are required to communicate with the Board of Accountancy or to respond to a communication from the Board. The Board of Accountancy is authorized to assess a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation of the Oregon Administrative Rules or Statutes. The Board does not impose the same penalty for every type of Board communication; rather the penalty may differ depending upon the rule that is in violation. Licensees should be aware of the following requirements and the civil penalties associated with each requirement.
OAR 801-030-0020(7) requires licensees to respond to any Board communication within 21 days of the date of the correspondence. Board communications that are subject to this requirement always include a statement that response is required within 21 days. The licensee´s response may be a letter requesting additional time and stating reasonable justification for the request. However, such requests should be submitted promptly; if additional time is not approved, the response is still due within 21 days of the original communication from the Board. The Board may allow additional time if the reason for the request is based on circumstances that are outside of the licensee´s control.
If the board communication is notice of a complaint filed against the licensee, the penalty for not responding in a timely manner is $1,000.
The penalty for not responding in a timely manner to other Board communications that include a 21-day response notice is at least $100.
OAR 801-030-0020(9) requires licensees to provide written notice of a change of address within 30 days of such change. This requirement applies to both individual licensees and registered public accounting firms. The civil penalty for failure to provide this notice to the Board is $100. However there may be more serious consequences. If the licensee does not receive the renewal application (because it is mailed to the last address of record), and therefore does not renew the permit, the permit will lapse. Licensees who continue to hold out as a CPA or PA, or who perform public accounting services that are restricted to licensees, are subject to additional civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.
For example, every instance of holding out, or every tax return signed is a separate violation. If the licensee does not receive notice of the civil penalty (because the Board of Accountancy does not have a valid address for mailing), the Order will become final by default and the penalty is due and payable within 10 days. If the penalty is not paid, the permit will be suspended. Licensees who continue to hold out or to perform public accounting services while a permit is suspended risk revocation.
ORS 673.160 and OAR 801-010-0345 state the requirements for firm registrations and renewals. The renewal form includes a box to be checked by the licensee if the firm wishes to be terminated when registration as a public accounting firm is no longer required. Renewal applications requesting termination of the firm should also be returned to the Board. Renewal applications that are received after December 31 of the renewal period that is expiring are subject to a late fee. Renewal applications that are received after January 31 of the new renewal period are subject to a $500 penalty for failure to renew.
OAR 801-040-0070 requires licensees to document CPE hours reported on the licensee´s last renewal form at the Board´s request. The Board conducts an audit of CPE reports after each renewal period. Licensees who do not respond to a CPE audit request letter within 21 days are subject to a $250 civil penalty.