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RULE §501.81Firm Licensing

(a) A firm, may not provide or offer to provide attest services or use the title "CPA," "CPAs," "CPA Firm," "Certified Public Accountants," "Certified Public Accounting Firm," or "Auditing Firm" or any variation of those titles unless the firm holds a firm license issued by the board or qualifies under a practice privilege. A firm license is not valid for any date or for any period prior to the date it is issued by the board and it automatically expires and is no longer valid after the end of the period for which it is issued. A firm license does not expire when the application for license renewal is received by the board prior to its expiration date. An expiration date for a firm license may be extended by the board, in its sole discretion, upon a demonstration of extenuating circumstances that prevented the firm from timely applying for or renewing a firm license.

(b) A firm is required to hold a license issued by the board if the firm establishes or maintains an office in this state.

(c) Each advertisement or written promotional statement that refers to a CPA's designation and his or her association with an unlicensed entity in the client practice of public accountancy must include the disclaimer: "This firm is not a CPA firm." The disclaimer must be included in conspicuous proximity to the name of the unlicensed entity and be printed in type not less bold than that contained in the body of the advertisement or written statement. If the advertisement is in audio format only, the disclaimer shall be clearly declared at the conclusion of each such presentation.

(d) The requirements of subsection (c) of this section do not apply with regard to a person performing services:

  (1) as a licensed attorney at law of this state while in the practice of law or as an employee of a licensed attorney when acting within the scope of the attorney's practice of law;

  (2) as an employee, officer, or director of a federally-insured depository institution, when lawfully acting within the scope of the legally permitted activities of the institution's trust department; or

  (3) pursuant to a practice privilege.

(e) On the determination by the board that a person has practiced without a license or through an unlicensed firm in violation of subsection (c) of this section, the person's certificate shall be subject to revocation and may not be reinstated for at least 12 months from the date of the revocation.

(f) Interpretive Comment: A person who is employed by an unlicensed firm that offers services that fall within the definitions of the client practice of public accountancy as defined in §501.52(8) and (22) of this chapter (relating to Definitions) and §901.003 of the Act (relating to Practice of Public Accountancy) must comply with the disclaimer requirement found in subsection (c) of this section.

Source Note: The provisions of this §501.81 adopted to be effective June 11, 2000, 25 TexReg 5339; amended to be effective December 6, 2001, 26 TexReg 9859; amended to be effective April 3, 2002, 27 TexReg 2437; amended to be effective February 4, 2004, 29 TexReg 964; amended to be effective February 17, 2008, 33 TexReg 1096; amended to be effective October 13, 2010, 35 TexReg 9101; amended to be effective December 7, 2011, 36 TexReg 8236; amended to be effective June 10, 2015, 40 TexReg 3566; amended to be effective June 3, 2020, 45 TexReg 3633

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