The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 26: Professions and Occupations

Chapter 1: ACCOUNTANTS

 

Sub-Chapter 1: General Provisions

§§ 1-12. Repealed. 1975, No. 89, § 15.

§ 13. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1)(A) "Attest services" means providing the following financial statement services:

(i) any audit or other engagement to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS);

(ii) any review of a financial statement or compilation of a financial statement to be performed in accordance with the Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS);

(iii) any examination of prospective financial information to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE); or

(iv) any engagement to be performed in accordance with the auditing standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

(B) The statements on standards specified in this section shall be adopted by reference by the board pursuant to rulemaking, and shall be those developed for general application by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

(2) "Board" means the board of public accountancy.

(3) "Compilation" means providing a service to be performed in accordance with Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) that is presented in the form of financial statements or information that represents management or owners without expressing any type of assurance on the statements.

(4) "Disciplinary action" or "disciplinary cases" includes any action taken by a board against a licensee, registrant, or applicant premised upon a finding of wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct by the licensee or applicant. It includes all sanctions of any kind, excluding obtaining injunctions, but including issuing warnings, other similar sanctions and ordering restitution.

(5) "Firm" means a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a partnership, association, or any other entity that practices public accountancy.

(6) "Foreign firm" means a firm not located in the United States, its territories, or possessions.

(7) "Good character" means fiscal integrity, and a lack of any history of acts involving dishonesty, false statements, or fraud.

(8) "Home office" means the location specified by the client as the address to which a service described in subsection 74c(c) of this title is directed.

(9) "Peer review" means a systemwide study, appraisal, or review of one or more aspects of the professional work of a person or firm in the practice of public accounting that performs attest services by a person or persons who are licensed under this chapter and who are not affiliated with the person or firm being reviewed.

(10) "Practice of public accounting" means the performance or the offering to perform by a person or firm holding itself out to the public as being licensed, registered, or otherwise authorized under this chapter, for a client or potential client, of one or more kinds of services involving the use of accounting or auditing skills, including the issuance of reports on financial statements, or of one or more kinds of management advisory, financial advisory, or consulting services, or the preparation of tax returns or the furnishing of advice on tax matters.

(11) "Principal place of business" means the office location designated by the licensee for the purposes of substantial equivalency and reciprocity.

(12) "Public accountant" means a certified public accountant or a registered public accountant until July 1, 2003, after which the title of registered public accountant will still exist for those licensed as registered public accountants or having received conditional credit toward licensure as a registered public accountant by that date, but will no longer be a title granted by the board.

(13) "Report" when used with reference to financial statements, means an opinion, report, or other form of language that states or implies assurance as to the reliability of any financial statements and that also includes or is accompanied by any statement or implication that the person or firm issuing it has special knowledge or competence in accounting or auditing. A statement or implication of special knowledge or competence may arise from use by the issuer of the report of names or titles indicating that the person or firm is an accountant or auditor, or from the language of the report itself. The term "report" includes any form of language which disclaims an opinion when the form of language is conventionally understood to imply any positive assurance as to the reliability of the financial statements referred to or special competence on the part of the person or firm issuing the language; and it includes any other form of language that is conventionally understood to imply such assurance or such special knowledge or competence.

(14) "State" includes the states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other jurisdictions recognized by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). (Added 1975, No. 89, § 7; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 4; 2009, No. 35, § 4.)

§ 14. Prohibitions

(a) No person or firm shall issue a report on financial statements of, or provide attest services for, any other person, firm, organization, or governmental unit unless the person or firm is licensed or registered under this chapter. This prohibition does not apply to:

(1) an individual with practice privileges set forth under section 74c of this title or a firm exempt from registration under section 74 of this title;

(2) an officer, partner, or employee of any firm or organization affixing their signature to any statement or report in reference to the financial affairs of that firm or organization with any wording designating the position, title, or office that they hold therein;

(3) any act of a public official or employee in the performance of his or her duties as such;

(4) the performance by any persons of other services involving the use of accounting skills, including the preparation of tax returns, management advisory services, and the preparation of financial statements without the issuance of reports thereon.

(b) No individual person may use the title "certified public accountant," "CPA," "registered public accountant," "RPA," or "auditor" or any other title tending to indicate that he or she is a public accountant, unless he or she is licensed as a public accountant under this chapter or is an individual with practice privileges set forth under section 74c of this title.

(c) No firm may use the title "certified public accountant," "CPA," "registered public accountant," "RPA," "auditor" or any other title tending to indicate that it is composed of public accountants unless the firm is registered under this chapter, or is exempt from registration under section 74 of this title.

(d) No person may use the title "chartered accountant," "enrolled accountant," "licensed accountant," "certified accountant," "registered accountant," "accredited accountant," or any other title likely to be confused with "certified public accountant" or "registered public accountant," or the abbreviations "CA," "EA," "RA," "LA," or "AA," or similar abbreviations likely to be confused with "CPA" or "RPA." However, a person licensed under this chapter and individuals with practice privileges set forth under section 74c of this title may use the title "auditor." The title "enrolled agent" or "EA" may be used only by an individual so designated by the Internal Revenue Service.

(e) No person or firm holding a license under this chapter shall use a professional or firm name or designation that is misleading about the legal form of the firm, or about the persons who are partners, officers, members, managers or shareholders of the firm, or about any other matter; provided, however, that the names of one or more partners, members, managers, or shareholders may be included in the name of a firm or its successor.

(f) However, a sole proprietorship or partnership lawfully using a title or designation in conjunction with those names or designation on July 1, 1981, may continue to do so if that person or partnership otherwise complies with the provisions of this chapter.

(g) The prohibition contained in subsection (a) of this section is applicable to issuance, by a person or firm not holding a valid license or registration, of a report using any form of language conventionally used by public accountants with respect to an audit, review, compilation of financial statements, or other attest services.

(h) No person or firm shall hold themselves out as public accountants while engaged in the practice of public accounting unless they:

(1) hold a valid license or registration issued under this chapter;

(2) qualify for practice privileges set forth under section 74c of this title; or

(3) are exempt from registration under section 74 of this title. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 8; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.) § 2; 1997, No. 40, § 9; 1999, No. 52, § 4; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 5; 2009, No. 35, § 5.)

§ 15. Exemptions

Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit:

(1) A federal, state, or municipal officer or employee from performing the lawful functions and duties of any office or service required.

(2) An officer, employee, partner, or principal of any organization from:

(A) signing a statement or report in reference to the affairs of that organization, with wording designating the title held in the organization; or

(B) describing himself or herself by title.

(3) A person from offering or rendering to the public bookkeeping and tax services, including devising and installing systems, recording and presenting financial information or data, preparing financial statements, schedules, reports, and exhibits, and similar services.

(4) An individual person from using a title previously held as a public accountant licensed or certified in this or any other state, provided that the person's license or certificate was not revoked or suspended, and provided further that the person is not currently engaged in the practice of public accounting and does not use the title for the purpose of practicing public accounting.

(5) Other licensed or certified professionals from carrying on in the usual manner any of the functions of their professions.

(6) A firm, which does not hold a valid registration under section 74 of this title and which does not have an office in this state, from providing its professional services and from practicing public accounting in this state as long as the firm complies with the requirements of subsection 74(b) of this title. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 9; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 6; 2009, No. 35, § 6.)

§ 16. [Omitted.] 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

§ 17. Penalty

Any person who violates any provision of section 14 of this title shall be subject to the penalties set forth in 3 V.S.A. § 127(c). (Added 1975, No. 89, § 11; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2007, No. 29, § 7.)

§ 18. [Omitted.] 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

 

Sub-Chapter 2: Board Of Public Accountancy

§ 51. Creation of board

(a) A board of public accountancy is created, consisting of five members, who shall be residents of this state.

(b) At least one member of the board shall be a member of the public who has no pecuniary interest in accounting other than as a consumer or possible consumer of its services. The member shall have no pecuniary interest personally or through a spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister.

(c) At least three members of the board shall be licensed certified public accountants.

(d) Board members shall be appointed for five-year terms by the governor in accordance with 3 V.S.A. § 129b. (Amended 1975, No. 89, § 1; 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 8.)

§ 52. Functioning of board

(a) Annually, the board shall meet to elect a chairperson and a secretary.

(b) Meetings may be called by the chairperson and shall be called upon the request of any other two members.

(c) Meetings shall be warned and conducted in accordance with 1 V.S.A. chapter 5.

(d) A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum.

(e) All business may be transacted by a majority vote of the members present and voting, unless otherwise provided by statute. (Amended 1975, No. 89, § 2; 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

§ 53. [Omitted.] 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

§ 54. General powers and duties of the board

(a) The board shall adopt rules concerning:

(1) a definition of the practice of public accountancy, interpreting section 13 of this title as appropriate;

(2) qualifications for obtaining licensure, interpreting the relevant statutes as appropriate;

(3) forms approved by the secretary of state, which are to be used by the board; and

(4) explanations of appeal and other significant rights given to applicants and the public.

(b) The board may:

(1) conduct examinations and pass upon the qualifications of applicants for licensing;

(2) adopt rules of professional conduct for establishing and maintaining high standards of competence and integrity in the profession of public accounting;

(3) adopt rules establishing reasonable continuing education requirements, not to exceed 40 hours per year, and establish or approve continuing education programs to assist a licensee in meeting these requirements;

(4) investigate suspected violations of section 14 of this title and suspected unprofessional conduct;

(5) conduct hearings;

(6) issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any authorized investigation or hearing;

(7) take or cause depositions to be taken as needed in any investigation or hearing before it;

(8) receive legal assistance from the secretary of state's office and from the attorney general;

(9) seek and obtain injunctions to restrain violations of section 14 of this title or unprofessional conduct;

(10) cooperate with licensing and regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions to investigate suspected violations of section 14 of this title and suspected unprofessional conduct; and

(11) adopt rules regarding peer reviews that may be required to be performed under this chapter.

(c) The board annually may submit a proposed budget to the secretary of state. (Amended 1975, No. 89, § 4; 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1985, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 9.)

§ 55. [Omitted.] 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

§ 56. Fees

Applicants and persons regulated under this chapter shall pay the following fees:

(1) Application for license                                                                     $ 75.00

(2) Biennial renewal of license                                                   $ 120.00

(3) Firm registration and biennial renewal of registration                         $ 120.00

(4) Registration of foreign firm for temporary practice                $ 50.00

 (Amended 1975, No. 89, § 6; 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1997, No. 59, § 47, eff. June 30, 1997; 1999, No. 49, § 169; 2001, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; eff. June 21, 2002; 2009, No. 35, § 7; 2011, No. 33, § 2.)

§§ 57-62. Repealed. 1975, No. 89, § 15.

 

Sub-Chapter 3: Licenses

§ 71. Repealed. 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.

§ 71a. License by examination

(a) A license as a "certified public accountant" shall be granted by the board to any person:

(1) who is of good character;

(2) who completes:

Subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) effective until July 1, 2014; see also subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) set out below.

(A)(i) a baccalaureate degree, including a minimum of 30 semester hours of accounting, auditing, and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate, and two years of experience in public accounting, and meets the requirements prescribed by board by rule, or has other experience or employment, which the board in its discretion considers substantially equivalent; or

Subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) repealed effective July 1, 2014; see also subdivision (a)(2)(A)(i) set out above.

(A)(i) [Repealed.]

(ii) 150 or more semester hours of college credit at a college or university recognized by the board, including a baccalaureate degree and a minimum of 42 semester hours of accounting, auditing and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate, and one year of experience in public accounting, meeting the requirements prescribed by board rule or other experience or employment which the board in its discretion considers substantially equivalent; and

(3) who has passed the examination required under subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The board shall administer an examination using a nationally recognized uniform certified public accountants' examination and advisory grading service.

(c) An applicant who has not yet completed a baccalaureate degree may sit for the exam upon the completion of 120 semester hours at an institution recognized by the board, including a minimum of 30 semester hours of accounting, auditing, and related subjects as the board determines to be appropriate. (Added 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; amended 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 10; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2009, No. 35, § 41(b), eff. July 1, 2014.)

§§ 71bRepealed. 2007, No. 29, § 77.

§ 72. Repealed. 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.

§ 72a. General licensing provisions

(a) If a licensee has a principal place of business for the practice of public accounting, the license shall be prominently displayed at that place.

(b) Licensing standards adopted and used by the board, and its procedures, shall be fair and reasonable and shall be designed and implemented to measure and reasonably ensure an applicant's qualifications to practice public accounting. They shall not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the number of licensees.

(c) [Repealed.]  (Added 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 9; 1997, No. 40, § 15; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 11; 2009, No. 35, § 41(a).)

§ 72b. Licensure by endorsement

Without requiring an examination, the board shall issue an appropriate license to a public accountant who is licensed or certified under the laws of another state:

(1) with education, examination, and experience requirements which the board considers to be substantially equal to those of this state; or

(2)(A) upon a showing that the applicant has had five years of experience in the practice of public accountancy or meets equivalent requirements prescribed by the board by rule within the 10 years immediately preceding the application; and

(B) has fulfilled the requirements of continuing education or continuing professional competence programs that would have been applicable under subsection 75(b) of this title. (Added 2007, No. 29, § 12.)

§ 73. Corporations practicing public accounting

A corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other business organization engaged in the practice of public accounting may be disciplined by the board for the unprofessional conduct of its officers, directors, managers, members, partners, shareholders, and employees. Disciplinary action against a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or other business organization may include recommending to the secretary of state that involuntary dissolution proceedings be begun. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 13; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1997, No. 40, § 10; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)

§ 74. Firms; registration and ownership

(a) A firm shall be required to obtain registration pursuant to this section if the firm:

(1) has an office established or maintained in this state for the practice of public accounting;

(2) has an office established or maintained in this state that uses the title "CPA" or "CPA firm"; or

(3) does not have an office in this state but performs services described in subdivision 13(1)(A)(i), (iii), or (iv) of this title for a client with a home office in this state.

(b) A firm that does not have an office in this state may perform those services set forth in subdivision 13(1)(A)(ii) or (3) of this title for a client with a home office in this state may otherwise practice public accounting as authorized under this chapter, and may use the title "CPA" or "CPA firm" without a registration issued only if the firm:

(1) meets the qualifications set forth in subsections (c) and (d) of this section;

(2) meets the requirements of section 75c of this title; and

(3) performs services through an individual with practice privileges set forth under section 74c of this title.

(c) An applicant for initial registration or renewal under this section shall be required to show that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, a simple majority of the ownership of the firm, in terms of equity, creditor and voting rights of all partners, officers, members, shareholders, or managers, belongs to holders of a certificate who are licensed in some state, and such partners, officers, members, shareholders, or managers, whose principal place of business is in this state, and who perform professional services in this state, hold a valid license issued under this chapter. Although firms may include nonlicensee owners, the firm and its ownership must comply with the rules adopted by the board.

(d) Any CPA or RPA firm as defined in this chapter may include nonlicensee owners, provided that:

(1) The firm designates a licensee of this state or, in the case of a firm which is required to have a registration pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, a licensee who meets the requirements set forth in section 74c of this title who is responsible for the proper registration of the firm, and identifies that individual to the board.

(2) All nonlicensee owners are active individual participants in the CPA or RPA firm or affiliated entities.

(3) The firm complies with other requirements as the board may impose by rule.

(e) Any individual licensee who is responsible for supervising attest services and signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountant's report on financial statements on behalf of the firm, shall meet the experience and competency requirements set out in the professional standards for such services.

(f) Any individual exercising practice privileges pursuant to section 74c of this title, and who is responsible for supervising attest services and signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountant's report on financial statements on behalf of the firm, shall meet the experience and competency requirements set forth in the professional standards for those services.

(g) Each office in this state shall be under the supervision of a public accountant who is licensed in this state. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 13; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 1997, No. 59, § 48, eff. June 30, 1997; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 13; 2009, No. 35, § 9.)

§ 74a. Foreign registration

(a) A foreign firm licensed or registered in another country seeking to practice temporarily in the state shall register with the board and pay the required fee. The board shall adopt rules prescribing the procedure to be followed in carrying out the registrations. Registrations under this section shall expire three months after issuance. "Firm" is as defined in subdivision 13(5) of this title.

(b) A foreign firm providing public accounting services in the state of Vermont shall be registered and obtain a firm registration number.

(c) An accountant qualified for the practice of public accountancy in a foreign country may:

(1) use a title granted by that country, together with any suitable translation into English of that title, and the name of that country;

(2) temporarily practice public accounting after registering with the board under section 74a of this title. (Added 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 14; 2009, No. 35, § 10.)

§ 74b. Repealed. 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 14.

§ 74c. Substantial equivalency

(a) An individual whose principal place of business is not in this state shall be presumed to have qualifications substantially equivalent to this state's requirements and shall have the privileges of licensure of this state, without the need to obtain a license under section 72b of this title, if the individual:

(1) holds a valid license as a certified public accountant from a state the board determines has licensure requirements substantially equivalent to the requirements of the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act; or

(2) holds a valid license as a certified public accountant from any state, and the individual obtains verification from the NASBA National Qualification Appraisal Service that the individual's qualifications are substantially equivalent to the licensure requirements of the AICPA ASBA Uniform Accountancy Act. An individual who passed the uniform CPA examination and holds a valid license issued by any state prior to January 1, 2012 shall be exempt from the education requirements of subdivision 5(c)(2) of the Uniform Accountancy Act for purposes of this section.

(b) An individual licensee of another state exercising the privileges afforded under this section and the firm that employs that licensee, as a condition of the exercise of this privilege, shall consent to the following:

(1) personal and subject matter jurisdiction and the disciplinary authority of the board;

(2) compliance with this chapter and the board's administrative rules and any other laws governing the practice of the profession in this state under the jurisdiction of the board;

(3) cease offering or rendering professional services in this state individually and on behalf of a firm in the event the license issued by the state of the licensee's principal place of business is no longer valid or is otherwise conditioned or restricted;

(4) the appointment of the state board or licensing authority, which issued its license, as the agent upon whom process may be served in any action or proceeding by the board against the licensee; and

(5) perform only those services within the scope of practice authorized by the state of the licensee's principal place of business.

(c) An individual practicing pursuant to this section and who performs services in this state, or an individual practicing pursuant to this section and who performs services for an entity with its home office in this state, may only provide the following services through a firm registered under section 74 of this title:

(1) a financial statement audit or other engagement to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards;

(2) an examination of prospective financial information to be performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements;

(3) an engagement to be performed in accordance with PCAOB Auditing Standards.

(d) An individual who qualifies for practice privileges under this section and who performs services for which a firm registration is required shall not be required to obtain a license from this state.

(e) A licensee of this state offering or rendering services or using its title in another jurisdiction shall be subject to disciplinary action in this state for acts of unprofessional conduct committed in another jurisdiction that would otherwise subject the licensee to discipline in this state. The board has the authority to investigate complaints made by persons of another state.

(f) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an individual who performs professional services pursuant to this section shall not be assessed a fee or be required to provide notice to the board. (Added 2009, No. 35, § 11.)

§ 75. Renewal

(a) Public accountant licenses and firm registrations under this chapter shall be renewed every two years on payment of the required fee.

(b) As a condition of renewal of a license as a public accountant, the board may require that the licensee establish that he or she has satisfied continuing education requirements established by board rule.

(c) The board may by rule require, on either a uniform or a random basis, as a condition to renewal of firm registrations under section 74 of this title, that applicants undergo peer reviews conducted no more frequently than once every three years in such manner and producing such satisfactory result as the board may specify, provided, however, that any such requirement:

(1) shall be adopted reasonably in advance of the time when it is first required to be met; and

(2) shall include a reasonable provision for compliance by an applicant's showing that the applicant has undergone a satisfactory peer review performed for other purposes which was substantially equivalent to peer reviews generally required pursuant to this section, and completion of such review was within the three years immediately preceding the renewal period.

(d) Information submitted for peer reviews is exempt from public disclosure under 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(3) and (6).

(e) If a licensee fails to renew within 10 years of the license lapsing, the licensee must file a new application for licensure and satisfy the initial licensure requirements of the board in order to obtain a license. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 13; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 1997, No. 59, § 49, eff. June 30, 1997; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 5; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; eff. June 13, 2002.)

§ 75a. Agent for process

An application under this chapter for a license or registration by a person who is not a resident of this state shall constitute the appointment of the secretary of state as an agent for service of process in any action or proceeding arising out of any transaction, activity, or operation in this state by the applicant concerning the practice of public accounting. (Added 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

 

Sub-Chapter 4: Discipline

§ 76. Unprofessional conduct

Unprofessional conduct means:

(1) The conduct prohibited by this section, by 3 V.S.A. § 129a, or by other statutes relating to public accounting, whether or not that conduct is by a licensee, an applicant, or a person who later becomes an applicant;

(2) Disciplinary action by another state or country or federal agency of a license or certificate to practice public accountancy;

(3) Failing to make available, upon request of a person using public accounting services, copies of documents in the possession or under the control of the accountant, when those documents have been prepared for and paid for by the user of services;

(4) Failing to return client-supplied information and documents, in whatever form contained, upon request of the client;

(5) Any of the following except when reasonably undertaken in an emergency situation in order to protect life, health, or property:

(A) practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law; or

(B) accepting and performing public accounting responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform;

(C) performing public accounting services which have not been authorized by the consumer or the consumer's legal representative;

(6) Dishonesty, fraud, or negligence in the practice of public accountancy, including making misleading, deceptive, or untrue representations in the practice of public accountancy;

(7) The making of any false or misleading statement in support of an application filed by another;

(8) Failure of a licensee to provide any explanation requested by the board regarding evidence submitted by the licensee in support of an application for licensure filed by another, or regarding evidence submitted by the licensee in support of an application for licensure filed by another, or regarding a failure or refusal to submit such evidence; and failure by a licensee to furnish for inspection, upon request by the board, or its representative, documentation relating to any evidence submitted by the licensee in support of such an application; or

(9) Failing to report changes to the board as required by statute and the board's rules. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 13; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; eff. June 13, 2002.)

§ 77. [Omitted.] 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

§ 78. Disciplinary matters

(a) In addition to other powers specifically established by law, the board may:

(1) Refuse to accept the return of a license tendered by the subject of a disciplinary investigation;

(2) Refuse to license a person who is under investigation in another jurisdiction for an offense which would constitute unprofessional conduct in this state; and

(3) Issue warnings and reprimands, condition, suspend, revoke, or reinstate licenses and order restitution to aggrieved consumers.

(b) The board shall accept complaints from any member of the public, any licensee, any state or federal agency, or the attorney general. The board may initiate disciplinary action in any complaint against a licensee and may act without having received a complaint.

(c) After hearing, the board may take disciplinary action against a licensee, registrant, or applicant found guilty of unprofessional conduct.

(d) On petition, the board may reinstate any license or registration it earlier conditioned, revoked, or suspended.

(e) Appeals from final board decisions shall be taken in accordance with 3 V.S.A. § 130a. (Added 1975, No. 89, § 13; amended 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; eff. June 13, 2002.)

§§ 79Repealed. 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 92.

§ 80. Repealed. 1983, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.), § 17(1)

 

Sub-Chapter 5: Property, Testimonial Privilege

§ 81. Ownership of accountant's working papers

(a) All statements, records, schedules, working papers, and memoranda made by a public accountant incident to or in the course of professional services to clients, except reports submitted by a public accountant to a client, are the property of the accountant. However, an express agreement between the accountant and the client to the contrary shall take precedence over this subsection.

(b) No statement, record, schedule, working paper, or memorandum shall be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, without the consent of the client or his or her personal representative or assignee, to anyone other than one or more surviving partners or new partners of the accountant or to his or her corporation or any combined or merged partnership or successor in interest to the partnership.

(c) Original copies of client documents in the possession of the licensee are the property of the client, and must be returned to the client upon request. (Added 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. June 13, 2002.)

§ 82. Confidential communications

(a) No firm or any of its employees or other public accountants engaged by the firm, shall disclose any confidential information obtained in the course of a professional engagement except with the consent of the client or former client or as disclosure may be required by law, legal process, or the standards of the profession.

(b) This section does not limit the authority of this state or of the United States to subpoena and use information in connection with any investigation, or proceedings. This section does not prohibit a public accountant whose professional competence has been challenged in a court or before an administrative agency from disclosing confidential information as a part of a defense.

(c) Nothing in this chapter prohibits a firm or any of its employees, from disclosing any data to other public accountants, peer review teams, or partnerships or corporations of public accountants engaged in conducting peer reviews under the auspices of a recognized professional association, or any of their employees, in connection with peer reviews of the accountant's accounting and auditing practice.

(d) Nothing contained in this chapter prohibits a firm or any of its employees, from disclosing any data in confidence to any representative of a recognized professional association or to the board in connection with a professional ethics investigation or in the course of a peer review. (Added 1981, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2001, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 19, eff. June 13, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 15.)