Section 34-1-11

Annual permits to practice; inactive status; continuing education.

(a)(1) Permits to engage in the practice of public accounting in this state shall be issued by the board to a holder of a certificate of certified public accountant issued under Section 34-1-4 and to a person registered under Section 34-1-8 who furnishes evidence satisfactory to the board of compliance with the requirements of subsection (c) and who: (1) is a citizen of the United States or, if not a citizen of the United States, a person who is legally present in the United States with appropriate documentation from the federal government, or has declared his or her intent to become a citizen; and (2) has attained the age of 19 years; and (3) is of good moral character; and (4) meets the experience requirements set forth in subsection (e). Permits to engage in the practice of public accounting in this state also shall be issued by the board to persons or firms under Sections 34-1-5, 34-1-6, and 34-1-9, if all offices of those certificate holders or registrants are maintained and registered as required under Section 34-1-10. There shall be an annual permit fee for each certificate holder under Section 34-1-4, each registrant under Section 34-1-8, and each firm in an amount to be determined by the board. All permits shall expire on September 30 of each year and may be renewed annually for a period of one year. The application for renewal and annual renewal fee shall be filed with this board no later than December 31 following the expiration date. The board may also charge a late renewal penalty on or after January 1 following the expiration date in an amount set by the board which is graduated depending on the length of time the renewal is delinquent.

(2) The board shall by rule require as a condition for renewal of a permit under this section, by any permit holder who performs compilation services for the public other than through a CPA or PA firm, that such individual undergo, no more frequently than once every three years, a peer review conducted in such manner as the board shall by rule specify.

(b)(1) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a certified public accountant or public accountant registered under this chapter who is not engaged in the practice of public accounting may request the board, in writing, to place his or her name on the board's inactive roll, thereby granting him or her inactive status and protecting his or her right to obtain a permit to practice pursuant to subsection (a) at a later time as he or she wishes to become actively engaged in the practice of public accounting.

(2) If, upon receipt of the notification, the board determines that the certified public accountant or public accountant is not engaged in public accounting, the certified public accountant or public accountant shall be permitted to retain his or her initial registration or certificate by paying an annual registration fee in an amount as the board shall, from time to time, determine. Effective October 1, 2007, certified public accountants or public accountants granted inactive status by the board shall place the word "inactive" adjacent to their CPA title or PA title on any business card, letterhead, or any other document or device, with the exception of their CPA certificate or PA registration, on which their CPA or PA title appears. If a certified public accountant or public accountant who has elected inactive status wishes to reenter the active practice of public accountancy, he or she shall make application to the board for an annual permit to practice. The board, in its rules and regulations, shall specify the number of hours of continuing education the applicant shall obtain before he or she regains active status to ensure his or her competency to practice public accounting.

(c) Every application for renewal of an annual permit to practice by any person who holds a certificate as a certified public accountant or who is a registrant under Section 34-1-8 shall be accompanied or supported by any evidence the board prescribes of satisfaction of its continuing education requirements during the preceding year. Failure by an applicant for renewal of an annual permit to furnish the evidence shall constitute grounds for revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew the permit in a proceeding under Section 34-1-12, unless the board determines the failure to have been due to reasonable cause. The board may renew an annual permit to practice despite failure to furnish evidence of satisfaction of requirements of continuing education upon the condition that the applicant follows a particular program or schedule of continuing education. In issuing rules, regulations, and individual orders in respect of requirements of continuing education, the board may, among other things, use and rely upon guidelines and pronouncements of recognized educational and professional associations; may prescribe for content, duration, and organization of courses; shall take into account the accessibility by applicants to the continuing education required and any impediments to interstate practice of public accountancy which result from the difference in the requirements in other states; and may provide for relaxation or suspension of those requirements in regard to applicants who certify that they do not intend to engage in the practice of public accountancy, and for instances of individual hardships.

(d) In the event a certified public accountant or public accountant fails to apply for an annual permit to practice or to be placed on the board's inactive roll within: (1) One year from the expiration date of the permit to practice last obtained or renewed pursuant to subsection (a); (2) one year from the expiration date of the last annual renewal of his or her certificate pursuant to subsection (b); or (3) one year from the date upon which the certificate holder or registrant was granted his or her certificate or registration, if no permit was ever issued to him or her under subsection (a) or his or her name was never placed on the board's inactive roll under subsection (b), it shall deprive him or her of the right to apply for a permit or inactive status, and shall constitute grounds for revocation or suspension of the holder's certificate, unless the board determines the failure to have been due to reasonable cause. In that case, the board may impose a reinstatement fee not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100), plus the total annual registration fees and late renewal penalties which the certified public accountant or public accountant would have paid under this chapter during the period when neither a permit nor inactive status was maintained. The board may also charge an inactive status penalty in an amount set by the board which is graduated for the time of the inactivity.

(e) The experience requirement shall be one year of experience in the practice of public accounting as defined by the board's rules and regulations.

(Acts 1973, No. 997, p. 1510, §10; Acts 1989, No. 89-812, p. 1620, §1; Acts 1992, No. 92-179, p. 327, §3; Act 2003-393, p. 1114, §1; Act 2008-133, p. 192, §3.)