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Board of Accountancy

Frequently asked questions

 

Consumer Related (8 FAQs)CPA Related (30 FAQs)

 

 

 

Consumer Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

 

  1. I think my CPA overcharged me for some work she did. Does the Board regulate fees charged by CPAs?
    • Neither the Board nor any other state or federal agency has the authority to regulate fees.
  2. My CPA did not file my taxes in a timely manner and now the IRS is assessing monetary penalties. I wish to receive restitution. Can the Board force the CPA and/or the accounting firm to pay these penalties?
    • No. The Board's main objective is to determine if the licensee or licensed accounting firm violated the Accountancy Act. If the conduct of the CPA or licensed accounting firm costs the consumer money, the consumer should file a civil lawsuit against that individual or firm.
  3. How do I file a complaint?
    • The complaint form is a form that asks for information pertinent to the complaint. You may download the form by Clicking Here. If you do not have access to download the form, office staff can mail or fax you the complaint form. Be sure to include all documentation that supports your allegation such as the nature of the complaint, copies of relevant paperwork and the address of the person or firm you are filing the complaint against.
  4. Can I file a complaint anonymously?
    • Yes, you can. However, we still need the documentation that supports the allegation.
  5. What happens after I file a complaint?
    • The respondent is sent a copy of the allegation and is requested to send in a written response to the complaint. If the charges are serious in nature, such as embezzlement, the complaint is forwarded to our legal counsel for an immediate investigation. Depending on the nature of the response, additional information from all parties may be requested. All documentation is then sent to legal counsel to determine the next course of action. Legal counsel then reviews the complaint file and makes a recommendation to the Probable Cause Committee as to what type of action should be taken on the complaint.
  6. Is disciplinary action available to the public?
    • Yes. After the Probable Cause Committee has reviewed the complaint and agrees to a disciplinary action, the board attorney enforces the action through the issuance of a consent order, formal hearing, etc. Once all stipulations of the action have been met, the complaint file is closed. Board staff then issues a disciplinary report to The Department of Commerce & Insurance's Communications Director. Disciplinary action is then posted on The National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy's web site and the Board's on-line newsletter
  1. How can I get a copy of the Accountancy Act or Rules?
    • You can read the Act and Rules here: /regboards/tnsba/ click on the "Accountancy Law" or "Accountancy Rules" link.
  2. What if I have other questions about the disciplinary process?

 

 

CPA Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

 

  1. How can I get a copy of the Accountancy Act or Rules?
    • You can read the Act and Rules here: /regboards/tnsba/ click on the "Accountancy Law" or "Accountancy Rules" link.
  2. How do I report my CPE to the Board?
    • You are required to submit documentation of your CPE hours only if selected for audit. If your license is selected for audit, you will be notified and asked to submit your CPE documentation via mail, email, or by using the online CPE tracking tool at tn.cpetracking.com.
  3. Who do I contact about the $400 professional privilege tax assessed on my CPA license?
    • The Tennessee Department of Revenue assesses the professional privilege tax. Any questions you have regarding this tax should be directed to the Department of Revenue, Tax Payer Services at 615-253-0600 or 1-800-342-1003.
  4. How do I know when to renew my license?
    • Even-numbered CPA licenses renew on December 31 of even-numbered years, with odd-numbered licenses renewing in odd years.  The Board will send a reminder to renewing CPAs prior to renewal to the mailing address on file.  Renewal of your license is not dependent on receipt of this courtesy reminder.  Please make a note of your expiration date and schedule your renewal accordingly.
  5. What CPA licenses are required to renew?
    • All Active, Inactive, Retired, Probation, Suspended, Active Military, and Disabled license statuses are required to renew every two years.
    • Disabled are fee and CPE exempt only with a current doctor's statement received prior to the expiration of their permit. The renewal questions must still be completed online.
    • Active Military are fee and CPE exempt only with a copy of their deployment orders received prior to the expiration of their permit. The renewal questions must still be completed online.
  6. Can a license be renewed after the expiration date has passed?
    • Licenses which are between one (1) day and one (1) year past the expiration date of the license can be renewed.   Licensees that renew between thirty-one (31) days and one (1) year following their expiration date will be assessed a late fee in the amount of $100.00.  Board staff cannot waive this late fee.  Licenses that are expired for more than one (1) year must go through the reinstatement process.
  7. How do I know if a complaint has been filed against me?
    • Board staff will send written notification when a complaint is filed against you. Upon receiving a notice of complaint, you should respond in writing to the board within fourteen days.
  8. I'm a CPA. Do I need an attorney to represent me if a complaint has been filed against me?
    • The decision to retain or consult legal counsel is entirely yours. The Board does not require that you hire an attorney.
  9. What happens to me if the allegations in the complaint are unfounded?
    • If the allegations are unfounded, the complaint will be dismissed. You will have a clean slate with the board.
  10. What happens to me if the allegations in the complaint are true?
    • The Board's legal counsel and the Probable Cause Committee will review your entire complaint file. The committee can take into consideration past complaint history, the severity of the violation and the risk of harm to the public. Disciplinary action can include consent orders with assessed civil penalties, licensee suspensions, informal conferences and formal hearings. The most severe form of disciplinary action is a revocation of your CPA license and firm license.
  11. Is disciplinary action available to the public?
    • Yes. After the Probable Cause Committee has reviewed the complaint and agrees to a disciplinary action, the board attorney enforces the action through the issuance of a consent order, formal hearing, etc. Once all stipulations of the action have been met, the complaint file is closed. Board staff then issues a disciplinary report to The Department of Commerce & Insurance's Communications Director. Disciplinary action is then posted on The National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy's web site and the Board's on-line newsletter.
  12. Will the action taken against me by the State of Tennessee affect my license standing with other state boards or professional accounting organizations?
    • It could. Most states require that licensees disclose disciplinary action taken against them by other state licensing boards and professional accounting organizations. Each state has its own law and rules. The decision to file a complaint against a licensee for past disciplinary action is solely made by the other states or professional organizations.
  13. What if I have other questions about the disciplinary process?
  14. I am a CPA who has an active reciprocal license in Tennessee. I do not reside in Tennessee. Am I subject to following Tennessee's Accountancy law and rules?
    • Yes. Please read section 62-1-117 and pay particular attention to paragraph 3.
  15. I am not a CPA. I offer bookkeeping and tax preparation for my clients. Do I have to follow Tennessee's Accountancy law and rules?
    • No. The Board's jurisdiction is limited to licensed CPAs, PAs and licensed accounting firms. However, unlicensed individuals are not allowed to call themselves CPAs, PAs or accountants. Unlicensed individuals and firms should not advertise any public accounting services in any media. Unlicensed individuals can not issue audits, reviews or compilation reports. Non-licensee should utilize the Safe Harbor Language in connection with financial statements in Rule 0020-4-.06
  16. What is the procedure in having a Peer Review?
    • All Tennessee registered firms that perform attest functions (audits, reviews, compilations or agreed upon procedures) must have a peer review completed once every three years.
    • Contact the TSCPA at 1-800-762-0272 or 615-377-3825 to register for your Peer Review.
    • If your firm is enrolled in the AICPA/TSCPA Peer Review Program, the TSCPA will provide the Board with the information regarding your enrollment in or withdrawal from their peer review program, the due date for your review, and the date of completion. If your firm is enrolled in the AICPA Peer Review Program through a state other than Tennessee, you must provide the board with proof of current enrollment in that peer review program.
    • Note: If you have any questions regarding the Peer Review Program, please contact the TNSBA Firm Permit Coordinator, at 615-741-2550. If you have questions concerning the AICPA/TSCPA's Peer Review program, please contact their Peer Review Coordinator, at 615-377-3825.
  17. If I perform mostly write up work, is my firm subject to a peer review?
    • Yes, the issuance of a financial statement requires a minimum of a compilation report unless it is a SSARS 8 engagement; therefore your firm is due a peer review. If you render only SSARS 8 engagements you are not subject to a peer review.
  18. If I am the sole proprietor and have a permit to practice do I still have to have a registered firm?
    • Yes, every individual practicing public accounting in the State of Tennessee should be practicing through a registered office or firm. This would include individuals practicing as sole proprietors.
  19. If I want to do tax returns part-time do I need to register myself as a firm? If so, will I be subject to a peer review?
    • If you plan to do any side work, including tax returns, as a CPA you must register as a firm. You will not be subject to a peer review as long as you do not perform any write-up work including financial statements, compilations, reviews, or audits.
  20. If my practice consists mainly of tax or consulting work and I perform just one review for someone applying for a contractors license, will I be subject to peer review?
    • Yes, if you perform any attest work including financial statements, compilations, reviews, or audits, even if it's just one, you will be subject to peer review.
  21. If I have a CPA firm in which I am the only CPA owner and/or employee but I form my firm as a PC with the Secretary of State can I include "& Associate(s),"  "Company" or "Group"  in the name of my firm?
    • No, a firm with only one CPA owner and/or employee may not use the terms "& Associate(s)," "Company" or "Group" in the name of the firm.  Accountancy law prohibits the use of names that are false or misleading.  A firm must have more than one CPA owner or employee to use such terms.  Firm names should be approved by the Board prior to registration with the Secretary of State's Office.
  22. I am from a foreign country, what requirements must I meet to sit for the CPA exam and receive a certificate in Tennessee?
    • You may get an application to sit for the CPA exam in Tennessee by downloading an application from CPA Examination Services web site. Your education will have to be evaluated by a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Service. You do not have to be a US citizen to sit for the exam in Tennessee.
  23. How do I change my CPA license status from Active to Inactive or Retired?
    • You can change your status by completing an Inactive or Retired affidavit available from our website at: http://www.tn.gov/regboards/tnsba/forms.shtml
      and submitting the original affidavit (NOT a copy) to the board. The affidavit must be notarized. Please note: you are advised to notify the Department of Revenue if you change your CPA license status from Active to Inactive or Retired status.
  24. Who qualifies for an Inactive CPA license status?
    • Anyone not practicing public accounting qualifies to hold an Inactive CPA license. If you work in industry and do not perform accounting services for the public this license status releases you from the CPE reporting requirement. However, the license is still valid and you are still required to renew the license prior to its expiration date. Although prohibited from performing public accounting services, you may use your CPA designation on letterhead, business cards, resumes, etc., as long as it is accompanied by the word “Inactive”.
  25. Who qualifies for a Retired CPA license status?
    • You qualify to obtain a Retired CPA license if you are 55 years of age or above and are not in the practice of public accounting.  Like Inactive licensees, you are released from the CPE reporting requirement, but are still required to renew the license and pay the renewal fee. Although prohibited from performing public accounting services, you may use your CPA designation on letterhead, business cards, resumes, etc., as long as it is accompanied by the word Retired.
  26. How do I return my CPA license to Active status?
    • To return your CPA license status to Active, you will need to complete the application for reactivation of your CPA license and provide proof of completion of 80 hours of approved techical CPE within the 24 months immediately preceding the application submission date and send that information to the Board's office.
  27. When do I no longer have to pay CPA licensing renewal fees?
    • Upon reaching the age of 65, if you do not practice public accounting, you can change your license status to “Retired over 65”. At that time, you will no longer be billed for license renewal fees.
  28. How do I change my name on my CPA license if I get married or divorced?
    • MARRIED: If you get married and wish to change your name you must complete and submit a Name Change form. The form must be accompanied by a copy of the original marriage certificate which has been notarized to indicate it is a true and exact copy of the original document.
    • DIVORCED: If you get divorced and wish to change your name you must complete and submit a Name Change form. The form must be accompanied by a copy of the original divorce decree which has been notarized to indicate it is a true and exact copy of the original document. The divorce decree must note the name change.
    • To get a new wall certificate with your changed name, you must return the old wall certificate and include $25 for a new certificate. A new license indicating the name change will be sent to your mailing address of record without charge.
  29. How do I change my address on my CPA license file?
    • To update your address on your CPA license complete and submita a Change of Address form within 30 days of the change. Address change forms submitted within 30 days of the change can be faxed to the board at 615-532-8800. Address change forms sent in more than 30 days after the actual change must be mailed in with the $25 late fee.
  30. If I am licensed and residing in another state what do I do with my TN CPA license?
    • Before you make a decision about what to do with your TN CPA license, contact the State Board of Accountancy in your state of residence to find out requirements they may have. If your state of residence requires you to maintain your TN license you will need to continue to renew your CPA license, pay the biennial renewal fee, submit CPE to the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy and pay the annual Professional Privilege Tax to the TN Department of Revenue. If your state of residence does not require you to maintain your TN license and you do not practice accounting in Tennessee or for Tennessee clients, then you may change your CPA status using one of the affidavits available on our website at: http://www.tn.gov/regboards/tnsba/forms.shtml
  31. A license search on the website shows my CPA license status as "Expired”; what does that mean?
    • "Expired" status means that your license has lapsed. This happens one year after the expiration date if the renewal process has not been completed. Contact the board at 615-741-2550 or 1-888-453-6150 to find out how to reinstate an "Expired" CPA license.
  32. If I teach a course, how many CPE credits do I get?
    • If you teach a course which contributes directly to the professional competency of a CPA, you can obtain three CPE hours for each hour of class time that you teach. Teaching courses for credit is only allowable the first time the course is taught. Subsequent teaching for the same course work yields no CPE credit. The additional two hours of CPE is considered prep time. Remember, CPE earned through teaching is limited to no more than 50 percent of your total CPE requirements. Also, the sponsor must be registered with NASBA or be exempt from registration.
  33. How do I determine which CPE sponsors are approved in Tennessee?
    • All sponsors must be registered with NASBA or they must be exempt from registering. Any sponsors registered with NASBA either on the CPE Registry or on the Tennessee Roster for group live courses or the NASBA QAS for other than group live courses are automatically approved for credit by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy. Another area of sponsorship is comprised of sponsors such as colleges, universities, governmental entities, accounting associations or employer in-firm courses. These categories have automatic approval as exempt sponsors for Continuing Professional Education. The exempt sponsor is responsible for furnishing the person taking the course with a certificate of completion stating the date, course title, credits earned (hours) and the technical category (accounting, auditing, tax, ethics or MAS).