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18.04.185  <<  18.04.195 >>   18.04.205

RCW 18.04.195

License required — Requirements — Application — Fees.

(1) The board shall grant or renew licenses to practice as a CPA firm to applicants that demonstrate their qualifications therefore in accordance with this section.

     (a) The following must hold a license issued under this section:

     (i) Any firm with an office in this state performing attest services as defined in RCW 18.04.025(1) or compilations as defined in RCW 18.04.025(6);

     (ii) Any firm with an office in this state that uses the title "CPA" or "CPA firm"; or

     (iii) Any firm that does not have an office in this state but performs attest services described in RCW 18.04.025(1) (a), (c), or (d) for a client having its home office in this state.

     (b) A firm that is not subject to the requirements of subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section may perform other professional services while using the title "CPA" or "CPA firm" in this state without a license issued under this section only if:

     (i) The firm performs such services through an individual with practice privileges under RCW 18.04.350(2);

     (ii) The firm can lawfully do so in the state where said individuals with practice privileges have their principal place of business; and

     (iii) A firm performing services described in RCW 18.04.025 (1)(b) and (6) meets the board's quality assurance [review] program requirements authorized by RCW 18.04.055(9) and the rules implementing that section.

     (2) A sole proprietorship required to obtain a license under subsection (1) of this section shall license, as a firm, every three years with the board.

     (a) The sole proprietor shall hold and renew a license to practice under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215, or, in the case of a sole proprietorship that must obtain a license pursuant to subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section, be a licensee of another state who meets the requirements in RCW 18.04.350(2);

     (b) Each resident individual in charge of an office located in this state shall hold and renew a license to practice under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215; and

     (c) The licensed firm must meet competency requirements established by rule by the board.

     (3) A partnership required to obtain a license under subsection (1) of this section shall license as a firm every three years with the board, and shall meet the following requirements:

     (a) At least one general partner of the partnership shall hold and renew a license to practice under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215, or, in the case of a partnership that must obtain a license pursuant to subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section, be a licensee of another state who meets the requirements in RCW 18.04.350(2);

     (b) Each resident individual in charge of an office in this state shall hold and renew a license to practice under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215;

     (c) At least a simple majority of the ownership of the licensed firm in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all partners or owners shall be held by persons who are licensees or holders of a valid license issued under this chapter or by another state. The principal partner of the partnership and any partner having authority over issuing reports on financial statements shall hold a license under this chapter or issued by another state; and

     (d) The licensed firm must meet competency requirements established by rule by the board.

     (4) A corporation required to obtain a license under subsection (1) of this section shall license as a firm every three years with the board and shall meet the following requirements:

     (a) At least a simple majority of the ownership of the licensed firm in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all shareholders or owners shall be held by persons who are licensees or holders of a valid license issued under this chapter or by another state and is principally employed by the corporation or actively engaged in its business. The principal officer of the corporation and any officer or director having authority over issuing reports on financial statements shall hold a license under this chapter or issued by another state;

     (b) At least one shareholder of the corporation shall hold a license under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215, or, in the case of a corporation that must obtain a license pursuant to subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section, be a licensee of another state who meets the requirements in RCW 18.04.350(2);

     (c) Each resident individual in charge of an office located in this state shall hold and renew a license under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215;

     (d) A written agreement shall bind the corporation or its shareholders to purchase any shares offered for sale by, or not under the ownership or effective control of, a qualified shareholder, and bind any holder not a qualified shareholder to sell the shares to the corporation or its qualified shareholders. The agreement shall be noted on each certificate of corporate stock. The corporation may purchase any amount of its stock for this purpose, notwithstanding any impairment of capital, as long as one share remains outstanding;

     (e) The corporation shall comply with any other rules pertaining to corporations practicing public accounting in this state as the board may prescribe; and

     (f) The licensed firm must meet competency requirements established by rule by the board.

     (5) A limited liability company required to obtain a license under subsection (1) of this section shall license as a firm every three years with the board, and shall meet the following requirements:

     (a) At least one member of the limited liability company shall hold a license under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215, or, in the case of a limited liability company that must obtain a license pursuant to subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section, be a licensee of another state who meets the requirements in RCW 18.04.350(2);

     (b) Each resident manager or member in charge of an office located in this state shall hold and renew a license under RCW 18.04.105 and 18.04.215;

     (c) At least a simple majority of the ownership of the licensed firm in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all owners shall be held by persons who are licensees or holders of a valid license issued under this chapter or by another state. The principal member or manager of the limited liability company and any member having authority over issuing reports on financial statements shall hold a license under this chapter or issued by another state; and

     (d) The licensed firm must meet competency requirements established by rule by the board.

     (6) Application for a license as a firm with an office in this state shall be made upon the affidavit of the proprietor or individual designated as managing partner, member, or shareholder for Washington. This individual shall hold a license under RCW 18.04.215.

     (7) In the case of a firm licensed in another state and required to obtain a license under subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section, the application for the firm license shall be made upon the affidavit of an individual who qualifies for practice privileges in this state under RCW 18.04.350(2) who has been authorized by the applicant firm to make the application. The board shall determine in each case whether the applicant is eligible for a license.

     (8) The board shall be given notification within ninety days after the admission or withdrawal of a partner, shareholder, or member engaged in this state in the practice of public accounting from any partnership, corporation, or limited liability company so licensed.

     (9) Licensed firms that fall out of compliance with the provisions of this section due to changes in firm ownership, after receiving or renewing a license, shall notify the board in writing within ninety days of its falling out of compliance and propose a time period in which they will come back into compliance. The board may grant a reasonable period of time for a firm to be in compliance with the provisions of this section. Failure to bring the firm into compliance within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the board, may result in suspension, revocation, or imposition of conditions on the firm's license.

     (10) Fees for the license as a firm and for notification of the board of the admission or withdrawal of a partner, shareholder, or member shall be determined by the board. Fees shall be paid by the firm at the time the license application form or notice of admission or withdrawal of a partner, shareholder, or member is filed with the board.

     (11) Nonlicensee owners of licensed firms are:

     (a) Required to fully comply with the provisions of this chapter and board rules;

     (b) Required to be an individual;

     (c) Required to be an active individual participant in the licensed firm or affiliated entities as these terms are defined by board rule; and

     (d) Subject to discipline by the board for violation of this chapter.

     (12) Resident nonlicensee owners of licensed firms are required to meet:

     (a) The ethics examination, registration, and fee requirements as established by the board rules; and

     (b) The ethics CPE requirements established by the board rules.

     (13)(a) Licensed firms must notify the board within thirty days after:

     (i) Sanction, suspension, revocation, or modification of their professional license or practice rights by the securities exchange commission, internal revenue service, or another state board of accountancy;

     (ii) Sanction or order against the licensee or nonlicensee firm owner by any federal or other state agency related to the licensee's practice of public accounting or violation of ethical or technical standards established by board rule; or

     (iii) The licensed firm is notified that it has been charged with a violation of law that could result in the suspension or revocation of the firm's license by a federal or other state agency, as identified by board rule, related to the firm's professional license, practice rights, or violation of ethical or technical standards established by board rule.

     (b) The board must adopt rules to implement this subsection and may also adopt rules specifying requirements for licensees to report to the board sanctions or orders relating to the licensee's practice of public accounting or violation of ethical or technical standards entered against the licensee by a nongovernmental professionally related standard-setting entity.

[2008 c 16 § 3; 2003 c 290 § 1; 2001 c 294 § 11; 1999 c 378 § 5; 1994 c 211 § 1402; 1986 c 295 § 8; 1983 c 234 § 9.]

Notes:

     Finding -- Intent -- 2008 c 16: See note following RCW 18.04.025.

     Effective date -- 2001 c 294: See note following RCW 18.04.015.

     Effective date -- Severability -- 1994 c 211: See RCW 25.15.900 and 25.15.902.