The Account Balance

Summer  2012    
IN THIS ISSUE
Leadership Changes at DLLR
Registering Tax Preparers
2012 Board Meetings
Avoiding Client Complaints
Examining Eight Years of Performance
Emergencies and Your Exam Date
NTS Expiration Date
CPE Reminders
CPA Swearing-In Ceremony
Paperless Licensing
CPE Programs for Tax Preparers
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Leadership Changes at the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Leonard Howie

On September 17, 2012, Governor Martin O'Malley named Leonard James Howie, III as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (DLLR). Mr. Howie most recently served as Deputy Secretary for Operations at the Department of Human Resources (DHR) since November 2011.

Prior to joining DHR, Mr. Howie spent four and half years as DLLR's Deputy Secretary where he worked with previous secretaries Tom Perez and Alexander Sanchez to implement critical departmental initiatives. Mr. Howie has worked extensively within every facet of DLLR's core programs, especially those related to Workforce Development and Adult Education.

Mr. Howie earned a Juris Doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center and a Masters in Business Administration from Georgetown University. He is a member of the Maryland Bar.

Mr. Howie will rejoin DLLR as Secretary on October 8, 2012. To read the Governor's press release, click here. 

 

 

  Michael Vorgetts

Michael Vorgetts joined the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing in August 2012 to serve as Deputy Commissioner after four years with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. In his capacity with Legislative Services, Michael conducted fiscal and policy analysis on issues related to DLLR and was responsible for "sunset evaluations" of the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, the State Plumbing Board and the Division of Labor and Industry.

 

Prior to State service, Michael served on a political campaign, researched poverty and homeland security issues as a graduate assistant, and worked for a decade in numerous establishments in the bar and restaurant business. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University and an English degree from East Carolina University in North Carolina.  

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Maryland Tax Preparers ---
Help Wanted    

Over 3,300 individual tax preparers have registered with the State of Maryland; however, it is estimated that several hundred tax preparers are still unregistered. This may be for a number of reasons. Individuals may be ignorant of the law; they may know about registration, but just haven't gotten around to it; or they are actively avoiding registration. All are practicing in violation of Maryland law.

If you know someone who should be registered, please remind him or her of the Maryland law and the possibility of a stiff penalty or fine. The Tax Preparers Board has found that word-of-mouth is an effective way to promote registration and also to inform the public that consumers should only engage a registered preparer. The Board encourages the public to use the Registration Search facility on the Board's webpage. Once the public insists on registration, tax preparers avoiding registration will find it hard to find clients! 

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2012 Board Meetings

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

 

The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy holds regular meetings that are open to the public. The meetings begin at 9:00 a.m. and are located at the offices of the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The address is 500 North Calvert Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Please contact the Division at 410-230-6220 or op@dllr.state.md.us for additional information.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Communication With Clients is Key to Avoiding Complaints

The Complaint Committee has noticed one common theme as it regularly reviews complaints filed by consumers against CPAs. Most of the complaints involve a miscommunication or misunderstanding between a licensee and his or her client.  

Effective communication begins at the time a licensee and potential client first discuss entering into an engagement. A licensee should do the following: 

  • Discuss thoroughly the services and end product that will be provided to the client.
  • Take the time to explain the relevant laws and financial standards that govern the service.
  • Emphasize the information and documentation that the client must provide to properly complete the job.
  • Thoroughly explain the fees associated with providing the service.  
  • Memorialize the discussion in an engagement letter.    

Frequent communication, so that clients fully understand what you are doing for them, will help to avoid complaints. 

Board Assesses Eight Years of Performance
 
At the end of 2012's fiscal year, the Board had the opportunity to closely evaluate its process of evaluating candidates for examination. Aggregate numbers were available from the time the Uniform CPA Examination transitioned to a computer-based format in the spring of 2004, so it was possible to assess trends for a total of eight fiscal years. The Board looked at the volume of examination applications filed with the Board each year, the yearly passing rates for the examination, candidate performance on the four sections of the CPA Examination as compared to the national average, and processing speed for application review.

Highlights of the report included the following:

  • Since FY 2005, the yearly volume of applications received by the Board has increased 132%:

  annual application volume

  • The annual number of successful exam candidates increased 229%:

Successful exam candidates  

  • At the end of CY 2011, the exam section pass rate (all sections) was 43.3%:

Exam Section Pass Rate  

  • Half of all exam applications are processed within 5 days from the date an application is complete:

Processing Speed  

  • Ninety percent (90%) of all exam applications are processed within 30 days from the date an application is complete:

90% Processed by 30 Days  

To read the complete report, please click here.  

Call in Case of Emergency 
 

What should you do if you've already scheduled a section of the Uniform CPA Examination and you suddenly find that you need to cancel or reschedule? Severe weather, family emergencies, and other urgent matters that are out of your control sometimes cause an abrupt change of plans for candidates on the day of the exam.

NASBA and Prometric have clear policies regarding changes to scheduled exam appointments, which are summarized on the Maryland Board's website under Attendance Policy in the section devoted to exams. If your particular circumstance cannot be found there or in the Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Bulletin, you may contact the Board for guidance. Candidates with extreme circumstances may be granted an extension to reschedule without penalty if sufficient evidence of hardship is submitted to the Board. For extension consideration, candidates should submit verifiable documentation, such as a doctor's note, death notice or accident report. Candidates are also permitted to reschedule without penalty if the test center fails to open on the scheduled day, but it is strongly advisable to verify a closure by calling the test center directly or by checking Prometric's site status website. 

Take Note of NTS Expiration Date
 

When scheduling your exam date, please take special note of when your NTS is set to expire. By regulation, an NTS is only valid for 180 days from the date it is issued. After that time, the exam fee is forfeited.

 

The Board of Public Accountancy's staff has received several calls from exam candidates seeking to either extend the date of their expired NTS or to ask for a refund, and staff has been forced to deny their requests. Since the expiration date is a matter of Maryland regulation, and not staff policy, it would be unlawful to grant those requests. The NTS is similar to a ticket purchased to attend a concert or sporting event. If it is not used, it cannot be exchanged for another date. So to avoid losing exam fees, candidates should make every effort to schedule accordingly.

Avoid Audit Failure: A Few CPE Reminders
 

Individuals who are about to renew their licenses should keep in mind the requirements for claiming continuing professional education (CPE) in the application.  

  • First, claim only CPE that is earned after the date of the last renewal and prior to the date of filing the renewal application. CPE earned after the current renewal application is filed can only be claimed in the following renewal application.
  • Second, a four-hour course in ethics is required for every renewal application (first-time renewals are exempt). Ethics CPE cannot be credited toward meeting the ethics requirements for the next renewal application.
  • The Board does not accept fractions of hours for CPE.

Each license renewal application is subject to an audit of the CPE that is claimed. Each individual is held responsible for the accuracy and correctness of information submitted with an application. Each individual/licensee who files an application with the Board certifies, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained therein is true and correct.

An individual cannot avoid an audit of CPE claimed by subsequently deactivating the license after the renewal application is filed and is selected for the audit.  

MACPA to Swear In New CPAs
 

The Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants will hold its annual CPA Swearing-In Ceremony on November 1, 2012 at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport in Linthicum, MD. Newly-licensed CPAs who attend the ceremony will take the Maryland CPA Profession's Oath and will be presented with the Board of Public Accountancy's certificate of licensure. Officials from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and members of the Board will be in attendance to administer the oath.
 

The Maryland Certified Public Accountancy Oath:


I solemnly swear that I will assume the responsibilities and obligations as a certified public accountant in the State of Maryland and in the United States of America.

I will support the laws and regulations and perform my professional duties to the best of my ability in an ethical, professional and objective manner.

As a CPA, I will uphold the honor and dignity of the accounting profession and abide by the rules of professional conduct.  

Access Your License Through the
Licensing Portal

 

Since April, new and renewing licensees have been able to print out their licenses through the Board's licensing portal. It works like this: An email containing access to the Board's Licensing Portal is sent the next business day after a license or permit application is filed. Upon signing in, the licensee is able to print out the license at his or her personal printer. Corporate/firm permit emails are sent to the responsible licensee that is on file with the Board. Each time a licensee makes a subsequent change to the license (name or address change), an email will be sent to advise that a new license is ready to be printed. 

IRS OKs NASBA Registry to Approve Tax
CPE Programs

The Internal Revenue Service has approved the NASBA National Registry of CPE Sponsors as an accrediting organization that is authorized to approve sponsors of continuing education programs for tax preparers. All members of the National Registry of CPE Sponsors are qualified as continuing education providers for the IRS registered tax return preparer program.
As a result, national registry sponsors only need to complete an abbreviated registration process with the IRS in order to obtain a continuing education provider number. To complete the process, a registry sponsor must provide:
  • A copy of the official letter from NASBA approving its membership on the National Registry
  • Program information for each program to receive program numbers from the IRS (each program, program description, number of hours, audience for program, and program delivery method [self-study, in person, or online group])
  • A fee of $419
Everyone who is required to take the Internal Revenue Service's Registered Tax Return Preparer competency exam is also required to complete 15 hours annually of continuing education, including three hours of federal tax law updates, two hours of ethics and 10 hours of other federal tax law.

DIVISION PERSONNEL

Harry Loleas

Commissioner, Occupational and Professional Licensing

Michael Vorgetts

Deputy Commissioner, Occupational and Professional Licensing 

Janet Morgan, Outreach Coordinator

 

BOARD MEMBERS

Thomas J. "Tim" Murphy, CPA

Chair, Industry Member

(Prince George's County)

Mac N. Claxton, CPA

Industry Member

(Prince George's County)

Elizabeth S. Gantnier, CPA

Industry Member

(Frederick County)

Clifton B. Jeter, CPA

Industry Member

(Montgomery County)

Ella H. Pierce

Consumer Member

(Baltimore City)

Naomi B. Powell

Consumer Member

(Prince George's County)

Raymond C. Speciale, Esq., CPA

Education Member (Frederick County)

 

STATE BOARD OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY STAFF

Dennis L. Gring, Executive Director

Matthew A. Lawrence, Board Counsel

Linda L. Rhew, Administrative Officer

Bert Fenwick, CPE Consultant

Barbara Hardy, Office Service Clerk

Vacant, Office Secretary

 


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Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation / Maryland Board of Public Accountancy 

500 North Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202