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RULE §501.83Firm Names

(a) General rules applicable to all firms:

  (1) A firm name may not contain words, abbreviations or other language that are misleading to the public, or that may cause confusion to the public as to the legal form or ownership of the firm.

  (2) A firm licensed by the board may not conduct business, perform or offer to perform services for or provide products to a client under a name other than the name in which the firm is licensed.

  (3) A word, abbreviation or other language is presumed to be misleading if it:

    (A) is a trade name or assumed name that does not comply with paragraph (4)(A) or (B) of this subsection;

    (B) states or implies the quality of services offered, special expertise, expectation as to outcomes or favorable results, or geographic area of service;

    (C) includes the name of a non-owner of the firm;

    (D) includes the name of a non-CPA, except as provided in paragraph (4)(B) of this subsection;

    (E) states or implies educational or professional attainment not supported in fact;

    (F) states or implies licensing recognition for the firm or any of its owners not supported in fact;

    (G) includes a designation such as "and company," "associates," "and associates," "group" or abbreviations thereof or similar designations implying that the firm has more than one employed licensee unless there are at least two employed licensees involved in the practice. Independent contractors are not considered employees under this subsection; or

    (H) includes the designation "company" when it is a one licensee sole proprietorship.

  (4) A word, abbreviation or other language is presumed not misleading if it:

    (A) is the licensee's full name, the licensee's surname, or full or last initials of one or more current or former CPA owners of the firm, its predecessor firm or successor firm;

    (B) is the name, surname, or initials of one or more current or former foreign practitioner owners of the firm, its predecessor firm or successor firm who are or would have been eligible to practice public accountancy in this state pursuant to §901.355 of the Act (relating to Registration for Certain Foreign Applicants);

    (C) indicates the legal organization of the firm; or

    (D) states or implies a limitation on the type of service offered by the firm, such as "tax," "audit" or "investment advisory services," provided the firm in fact principally limits its practice to the type of service indicated in the name.

  (5) The board may place conditions on the licensing of a firm in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section.

(b) Additional Requirements Based on Legal Form or Ownership.

  (1) The names of a corporation, professional corporation, limited liability partnership, professional limited liability company or other similar legal forms of ownership must contain the form of ownership or an abbreviation thereof, such as "Inc.," "P.C.," "L.L.P." or "P.L.L.C."; except that a limited liability partnership organized before September 1, 1993 is not required to utilize the words "limited liability partnership" or any abbreviation thereof.

  (2) Sole Proprietorships:

    (A) The name of a firm that is a sole proprietor must contain the surname of the sole proprietor as it appears on the individual license issued to the sole proprietor by the board.

    (B) A partner surviving the death of all other partners may continue to practice under the partnership name for up to two years after becoming a sole proprietor, notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section.

(c) The name of any current or former owner may not be used in a firm name during any period when such owner is prohibited from practicing public accountancy and prohibited from using the title "certified public accountant," "public accountant" or any abbreviation thereof, unless specifically permitted by the board.

(d) A firm licensed by the board is required to report to the board any change in the legal organization of the firm and amend the firm name to comply with this section regarding firm names for the new organization within thirty days of the effective date of such change.

(e) This section regarding firm names does not affect firms licensed by the board prior to the effective date of this section, but does apply to any change in legal organization or name that occurs after the effective date of this section. Nothing in this subsection prohibits the board from placing conditions on the licensing of a firm pursuant to subsection (a)(5) of this section at the time of renewal of the firm license.

Source Note: The provisions of this §501.83 adopted to be effective October 13, 2005, 30 TexReg 6432; amended to be effective December 7, 2011, 36 TexReg 8236; amended to be effective April 18, 2018, 43 TexReg 2273; amended to be effective August 8, 2018, 43 TexReg 5091; amended to be effective June 3, 2020, 45 TexReg 3634

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