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CHAPTER 309-B
NEW HAMPSHIRE ACCOUNTANCY ACT

    309-B:1 Citation. – This chapter may be cited as the "Accountancy Act of 1999.''

    309-B:2 Purpose. – It is the policy of the state of New Hampshire and the purpose of this chapter, to promote the reliability of information that is used for guidance in financial transactions or for accounting for or assessing the financial status or performance of commercial, noncommercial, and governmental enterprises.

    309-B:3 Definitions. – In this chapter:

    I. (a) "Attest'' means providing the following financial statement services:

          (1) Any audit or other engagement to be performed in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS).

          (2) Any review of a financial statement to be performed in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS).

          (3) Any examination of prospective financial statements to be performed in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE).

          (4) Any engagement to be performed in accordance with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's Auditing Standards.

       (b) The Statements on Standards specified in subparagraph (a) shall be adopted by reference by the board pursuant to rulemaking and shall be those developed for general application by recognized national accountancy organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

    II. "Board'' means the New Hampshire board of accountancy established under RSA 309-B:4.

    III. "Certificate'' means a certificate as a certified public accountant issued under RSA 309-B:5 or corresponding provisions of prior law, or a corresponding certificate as certified public accountant issued after examination under the law of any other state.

    III-a. "Compilation'' means providing a service to be performed in accordance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) that is presenting in the form of financial statements, information that is the representation of management without undertaking to express any assurance on the statements.

    IV. "CPA firm'' means a sole proprietorship, a corporation, a partnership including a limited liability partnership, a limited liability company including a professional limited liability company, or any other legally authorized association issued a license under RSA 309-B:8.

    V. "Financial Accounting Foundation'' means the independently incorporated organization, the board of trustees of which consists of members of organizations having special knowledge of, and interest in, financial reporting, that is responsible for the oversight and funding for the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

    VI. "Financial Accounting Standards Board'' or "FASB'' means the designated organization formed by the Financial Accounting Foundation or its successor organization that establishes the standards of financial accounting and reporting for nongovernmental entities recognized by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

    VII. "Governmental Accounting Standards Board'' or "GASB'' means the designated independent organization in the private sector or its successor organization that establishes the standards of financial accounting and reporting for state and local governmental entities recognized by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

    VII-a. "Home office'' means the location specified by the client as the address to which service described in RSA 309-B:8, I is directed.

    VIII. "License'' means a certificate issued under RSA 309-B:5, a permit issued under RSA 309-B:8 or a registration under RSA 309-B:9; or in each case, a certificate or permit issued under corresponding provisions of prior law.

    IX. "Licensee'' means the holder of a license as defined in RSA 309-B:3, VIII.

    X. "Manager'' means a manager of a professional limited liability company established under RSA 304-D or equivalent statute in another state.

    XI. "Member'' means a member of a professional limited liability company established under RSA 304-D or equivalent statute in another state.

    XII. "Peer review'' means a study, appraisal, or review of one or more aspects of the professional work of a person or firm that performs attest services, by a person or persons who hold certificates and who are not affiliated with the person or firm being reviewed.

    XIII. "Permit'' means a permit to practice as a CPA firm issued under RSA 309-B:8 or corresponding provisions of prior law, or under corresponding provisions of the laws of other states.

    XIII-a. "Principal place of business'' means the office location designated by a licensee for purposes of substantial equivalency and reciprocity.

    XIV. "Professional'' means arising out of or related to the specialized knowledge or skills associated with certified public accountants.

    XV. "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. Such 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 such person or firm is an accountant or auditor, or from the language of the report itself. The term "report'' shall include any form of language which disclaims an opinion when such 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 such language, and it shall include any other form of language that is conventionally understood to imply such assurance or such special knowledge or competence.

    XVI. "Rule'' means any rule adopted by the board under RSA 541-A.

    XVII. "State'' means any state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam; except that "this state'' means the state of New Hampshire.

    XVIII. "Substantial equivalency'' is a determination by the board or its designee that the education, examination, and experience requirements contained in the statutes and administrative rules of another jurisdiction are comparable to or exceed the education, examination, and experience requirements contained in the Uniform Accountancy Act, or that the individual certified public accountant's education, examination, and experience qualifications are comparable to or exceed the education, examination, and experience requirements contained in the Uniform Accountancy Act. In ascertaining substantial equivalency as used in this statute, the board shall take into account the qualifications without regard to the sequence in which experience, education, or examination requirements were attained.

    XIX. "Uniform Accountancy Act'' means the July 27, 2007 edition of the model legislation developed jointly by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

    309-B:4 Board of Accountancy; Appointment; Disposition of Fees; Rulemaking. –

    I. (a) There is hereby created the New Hampshire board of accountancy, which shall have responsibility for the administration and enforcement of this chapter. The board shall consist of 7 members, all of whom shall be residents of this state appointed by the governor with the approval of council. Five members shall be holders of certificates under RSA 309-B:5 or corresponding provisions of prior law and 2 members shall be public members, who are not, and never were, members of the accounting profession, or the spouses of such persons, but who have, or have had, professional or practical experience in the use of accounting services and financial statements so as to be qualified to make judgments about the qualifications and conduct of persons and firms subject to regulation under this chapter.

       (b) Members of the board shall serve staggered 5-year terms. Members serving terms of less than 5 years under prior law shall serve out such shorter terms. A vacancy occurring during a term shall be filled by appointment of the governor and approval of council for the unexpired portion of such term. Upon the expiration of a member's term, such member shall continue to serve until a successor shall have been appointed and taken office.

       (c) No person who has served 2 successive complete terms shall be eligible for reappointment, but appointment to fill an unexpired term shall not be considered a complete term for this purpose. All terms of service under prior law shall be considered in determining the completion of 2 consecutive terms.

       (d) Any member of the board whose certificate under RSA 309-B:5 or registration under RSA 309-B:9 of this chapter is revoked or suspended shall automatically cease to be a member of the board. A board member may be removed for cause by the governor and council under RSA 4:1.

    II. (a) The board shall elect annually from among its members a chairperson, a secretary-treasurer, and such other officers as the board may deem appropriate.

       (b) The board shall meet at such times and places as may be fixed by the board. Meetings of the board shall be open to the public, except insofar as they are concerned with investigations under RSA 309-B:11 and except as may be necessary to protect information that is required to be kept confidential by board rules or by the laws of this state. A majority of the board members then in office shall constitute a quorum at any meeting duly called.

       (c) The board shall have a seal which shall be judicially noticed.

       (d) The board shall retain or arrange for the retention of all applications, all documents under oath that are filed with the board, and records of its proceedings. The board shall maintain a registry of the names and addresses of all licensees under this chapter. In any proceeding in court, civil or criminal, arising out of or founded upon any provision of this chapter, copies of any of the records certified as true copies under the seal of the board shall be admissible in evidence as tending to prove the contents of said records.

    III. (a) Each member of the board shall be paid $100 for each day or portion of a day spent in the discharge of official duties and shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of official duties.

       (b) In addition to the amounts in subparagraph (a), the secretary-treasurer shall be compensated in an amount to be determined by the board, but not to exceed $5,000.

    IV. The board shall establish fees for examination of applicants, for licenses, for certificates of authorization, for reissuance of licenses, for renewal and reinstatement of licenses and certificates to practice under this chapter, for late renewals, for verification of licensure or examination, and for transcribing and transferring records and other services. All moneys collected by the board from fees authorized under this chapter shall be received and accounted for by the board, shall be deposited in the state treasury. Administration expenses shall be limited to the funds collected and may include, but shall not be limited to, the costs of conducting investigations and of taking testimony and procuring the attendance of witnesses before the board or its committees; all legal proceedings taken under this chapter for the enforcement of this chapter; and educational programs for the benefit of the public or licensees and their employees. All fees prescribed by the board under prior law shall remain in effect until the board shall prescribe a new schedule of fees pursuant to RSA 541-A.

    V. The board shall file an annual report of its activities with the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives. The report shall include a statement of all receipts and disbursements and a listing of all current licensees under this chapter. The board shall mail a copy of the annual report to any person requesting it, upon payment of a reasonable charge.

    VI. The board may employ an executive director, investigators, and such other personnel as it deems necessary for administration and enforcement under this chapter. It may appoint such committees or persons to advise or assist it in such administration and enforcement, as it may see fit. It may retain its own counsel to advise and assist it, in addition to such advice and assistance as is provided by the department of justice.

    VII. The board shall have the power to take any action necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this chapter, including the power to sue and be sued in its official name as an agency of this state; to issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents; and to administer oaths, to take testimony, to cooperate with the appropriate authorities in other states in investigations and enforcement concerning violations of this chapter and comparable laws of other states, and to receive evidence concerning all matters within its jurisdiction. In case of disobedience of a subpoena, the board may invoke the aid of any court of this state in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence. The board, its members, and its agents shall be immune from personal liability for actions taken in good faith in the discharge of the board's responsibilities, and the state shall hold the board, its members, and its agents harmless from all costs, damages, and attorneys' fees arising from claims and suits against them with respect to matters to which such immunity applies.

    VIII. The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, governing its administration, the enforcement of this chapter and the conduct of licensees. Such rules shall include, but not be limited to:

       (a) Rules governing the board's meetings and conduct of its business.

       (b) Rules of procedure governing the conduct of investigations and hearings by the board.

       (c) Rules specifying the educational and experience qualifications required for all licensees, and the continuing professional education required for renewal of certificates or registrations.

       (d) Rules of professional conduct directed to controlling the quality and integrity of the practice of public accountancy by licensees, including, but not limited to, matters relating to independence, integrity, objectivity, competence, technical standards, responsibilities to the public, and responsibilities to clients.

       (e) Rules on substantial equivalency for implementation of RSA 309-B:6.

       (f) Rules governing the manner and circumstances of use of the titles "certified public accountant'', "CPA,'' "public accountant'' and "PA.''

       (g) Rules regarding peer review as required under this chapter. Such rules shall include conduct and cost parameters to ensure that charges for the off-site peer review process are not excessive.

       (h) The establishment of all fees required under this chapter.

       (i) The establishment of administrative fines for violations of this chapter.

       (j) Rules on how an applicant for certificate demonstrates good character.
   
      (k) Rules for records retention, outsourcing disclosures, and the severence of connections.


    IX. In accordance with RSA 541-A, the board shall publish notice of such proposed action and shall, in addition, notify all licensees.

    X. All administrative, clerical, and business processing functions of the board shall be transferred to the joint board of licensure and certification, established in RSA 310-A:1, on July 1, 2011.

    309-B:5 Qualifications for a Certificate as a Certified Public Accountant. –

    I. The certificate of "certified public accountant'' shall be granted to persons of good character who meet the education, experience, and examination requirements of this section, who make application therefor pursuant to RSA 309-B:7, and who pay the fees prescribed by the board.

    II. Good character for purposes of this section means the lack of a history of dishonest or felonious acts.

    III. The education requirements for a certificate shall be as follows:

       (a) Until January 1, 2005, a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, with an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate.

       (b) After January 1, 2005 and until June 30, 2014, at least 120 semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate; provided however, that candidates for a certificate may sit for the examination described in paragraph IV if they have at least 120 semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate.

       (c) On or after July 1, 2014, at least 150 semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board, the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate; provided however, that candidates for a certificate may sit for the examination described in paragraph IV if they have at least 120 semester hours of college education including a baccalaureate degree conferred by a college or university acceptable to the board the total educational program to include an accounting concentration or equivalent as determined by board rule to be appropriate. The applicant's degree shall include 30 semester hours of accounting courses. The accounting credits shall include coverage in financial accounting auditing, taxation, and management accounting. In addition, the degree shall include, or be supplemented by, 24 semester hours of business courses other than accounting courses. These business courses may include, but not be limited to, coverage in the areas of business law, business information systems, finance, professional ethics, business organizations, and economics.

    IV. The examination required to be passed as a condition for the granting of a certificate shall be held as often as the board may specify by rule, and shall test the applicant's knowledge of the subjects of accounting and auditing and such other related subjects as the board may specify by rule. The board shall prescribe by rule the methods of applying for and conducting the examination, including methods for grading papers and determining a passing grade required of an applicant for a certificate, provided, however, that the board shall, to the extent possible, see to it that the examination itself, the grading of the examination and the passing grades are uniform with those applicable in all other states. The board may make such use of all or any part of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and Advisory Grading Service of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and may contract with third parties to perform such administrative services with respect to the examination as it deems appropriate to assist it in performing its duties under this section.

    V. An applicant shall be required to pass all sections of the examination provided for in paragraph IV in order to qualify for a certificate. A passing grade for each section shall be 75. The applicant shall pass all sections of the examination within 18 months of the examination at which the first section was passed.

    VI. An applicant shall be given credit for any and all sections of an examination passed in another state if such credit would have been given, under applicable requirements at that time, had the applicant taken the examination in this state.

    VII. The board may in particular cases waive or defer any of the requirements of paragraphs V and VI regarding the circumstances in which the various sections of the examination must be passed, upon a showing that, by reason of circumstances beyond the applicant's control, the applicant was unable to meet such requirement.

    VIII. The board may charge, or provide for a third party administering the examination to charge, each applicant a fee in an amount prescribed by the board by rule, for each section of the examination or reexamination taken by the applicant.

    IX. The experience requirement shall consist of public accounting experience in providing one or more kinds of services involving the use of accounting or auditing skills, including the issuance of reports on financial statements, or 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, or the equivalent, all of which was under the direction of a licensee in any state in practice as a certified public accountant or as a public accountant, or in any state in employment as a staff accountant by a certified public accountant or anyone practicing public accounting, or a combination of either of such types of experience and for the following periods of time:

       (a) Until June 30, 2014, 2 years for a candidate with a 4-year college degree, or the equivalent, and one year for a candidate holding a master's degree in accounting, taxation, finance, or business administration.

       (b) On or after July 1, 2014, one year.

    X. Experience obtained in the employment of a governmental agency for the periods of time provided in paragraph IX in the following areas shall be accepted by the board as qualifying experience under this section:

       (a) In auditing the tax returns or books and accounts of nongovernmental entities in 3 or more distinct lines of commercial or industrial business in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards under the direction of a licensee; or

       (b) In auditing the books and accounts or activities of 3 or more governmental agencies or distinct organizational units in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards under the direction of a licensee and reporting on their operations to a third party, to the Congress, or to a state legislature; or

       (c) In reviewing financial statements and supporting material covering the financial condition and operations of nongovernmental entities engaged in 3 or more distinct lines of commercial or industrial business under the direction of a licensee to determine the reliability and fairness of the financial reporting and compliance with generally accepted accounting principles and applicable government regulations for the protection of investors and consumers.
 
    XI. [Repealed.]

    309-B:6 Substantial Equivalency. –

    I. The practice, privilege, and discipline for substantially equivalent individuals shall be governed by the following provisions:

       (a) An individual whose principal place of business is not in this state and who holds a valid certificate or license as a certified public accountant from any United States jurisdiction which the board or its designee has verified to be in substantial equivalence with the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the Uniform Accountancy Act shall be presumed to have qualifications substantially equivalent to this state's requirements and shall have all rights and privileges of licensees of this state without the need to obtain a certificate under RSA 309-B:7 or a permit under RSA 309-B:8. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an individual qualifying under this subparagraph may offer or render professional services, whether in person or by mail, telephone, or electronic means, based on a practice privilege, and no notice, fee, or other submission shall be provided by any such individual. Such an individual shall be subject to the requirements in paragraph III.

       (b) An individual whose principal place of business is not in this state and who has a valid certificate or license as a certified public accountant from any United States jurisdiction which the board or its designee has not verified to be in substantial equivalence with the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the Uniform Accountancy Act shall be presumed to have qualifications substantially equivalent to this state's requirements and shall have all rights and privileges of certificate holders and licensees of this state without the need to obtain a certificate under RSA 309-B:7 or a permit under RSA 309-B:8 if such individual obtains from the board or its designee verification that such individual's certified public accountant qualifications are substantially equivalent to the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the Uniform Accountancy Act. Any individual who has passed the Uniform CPA Examination and holds a valid license issued by any other state prior to July 1, 2014 may be exempt from the education requirements in the Uniform Accountancy Act for purposes of this subparagraph. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an individual qualifying under this subparagraph may offer or render professional services, whether in person or by mail, telephone, or electronic means, based on a practice privilege, and no notice, fee, or other submission shall be provided by any such individual. Such an individual shall be subject to the requirements in paragraph III.

    II. A licensee of this state offering or rendering services or using this state's certified public accountant designation in another state shall be subject to disciplinary action in this state for an act committed in another state for which the licensee would be subject to discipline in the other state. Notwithstanding RSA 309-B:11, I, the board shall be required to investigate any complaint made by the board of accountancy of another state.

    III. Any individual licensee of another state exercising the privileges afforded under subparagraph I(a) or (b) and the firm which employs that licensee hereby simultaneously consents, as a condition of the grant of this privilege:

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

       (b) To comply with this chapter and the rules of the board;

       (c) That in the event the license from the state of the individual's principal place of business is no longer valid, the individual will cease offering or rendering professional services in this state individually and on behalf of a firm; and

       (d) To the appointment of the out-of-state board of accountancy which issued their license as their agent upon whom process may be served in any action or proceeding by this board against the licensee.

    IV. An individual who qualifies for practice privileges under this section who, for any entity with its home office in this state, performs any of the following services may only do so through a firm which has obtained a permit issued under RSA 309:B-8:

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

       (b) Any examination of prospective financial information to be performed in accordance with Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements; or

       (c) Any engagement to be performed in accordance with PCAOB Auditing Standards.

    309-B:7 Issuance and Renewal of Certificates; Maintenance of Competency. –

    I. The board shall grant or renew certificates to persons who make application and demonstrate that their qualifications, including where applicable the qualifications prescribed by RSA 309-B:5, are in accordance with the requirements of this section, or that they are eligible for licensure under the substantial equivalency standards set out in RSA 309-B:6. The holder of a certificate issued under this section may provide attest services as defined in RSA 309-B:3, I(a), and compilation services as defined in RSA 309-B:3, III-a, only in a CPA firm that holds a permit issued under RSA 309-B:8.

    II. Certificates shall be initially issued, and renewed, for periods of not more than 3 years. Annual periods shall coincide with the state's fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ending on the subsequent June 30. Applications for such certificates shall be made in such form, and in the case of applications for renewal, between such dates, as the board shall by rule specify. The licensee shall have 60 days to renew the certificate. If the renewal forms and fees are not submitted within 60 days after the expiration date of the license, the licensee shall file an application for return to active practice which shall be required to return to active status. A certificate shall remain valid for the period of time that the board requires to act on the application for renewal, provided that the renewal was submitted in accordance with the rules adopted by the board. The board shall grant or deny any application no later than 90 days after the application is filed in proper form. In any case where the applicant seeks the opportunity to show that issuance or renewal of a certificate was mistakenly denied, or where the board is not able to determine whether it should be granted or denied, the board may issue to the applicant a provisional certificate, which shall expire 90 days after its issuance or when the board determines whether or not to issue or renew the certificate for which application was made, whichever shall first occur.

    III. With regard to applicants that are not eligible for reciprocity under the substantial equivalency standard set out in RSA 309-B:6, I(b), the board shall issue a certificate to a holder of a certificate, license, or permit issued by another state upon a showing that:

       (a) The applicant passed the examination required for issuance of the applicant's certificate with grades that would have been passing grades at the time in this state;

       (b) The applicant had at least 4 years of experience outside of this state of the type described in RSA 309-B:5 or meets equivalent requirements prescribed by the board by rule, after passing the examination upon which the applicant's certificate was based and within the 10 years immediately preceding the application;

       (c) If the applicant's certificate, license, or permit was issued more than one year prior to the application for issuance of an initial certificate under this section, that the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of continuing professional education that would have been applicable under paragraph IV of this section.

    III-a. (a) As an alternative to the requirements of paragraph III, a certificate holder licensed by another state who establishes his or her principal place of business in this state shall request the issuance of a certificate from the board prior to establishing such principal place of business. The board shall issue a certificate to such person who obtains from the NASBA National Qualification Appraisal Service verification that such individual's CPA qualifications are substantially equivalent to the CPA licensure requirements of the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act.

       (b) An application under this paragraph may be made through the NASBA Qualification Appraisal Service.

    IV. The board may charge a fee to any licensee of another state receiving a reciprocal certificate under this section, in accordance with rules adopted by the board.

    V. Persons requesting issuance of certificates under paragraph IV of this section shall in their request list all states in which they have applied for or hold certificates, or licenses, and list any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate or license and shall notify the board, in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate or license by another state.

    VI. An application under this section may be made through any qualification service that the board may approve by rule.

    VII. For renewal of a certificate under this section each licensee shall participate in a program of learning designed to insure continuing professional competence. The requirements established by the board shall specify any reasonable approach to meeting this requirement, including but not limited to, the setting of hours, the setting of fees, and the conducting of random audits of reports submitted to the board. The approach to meeting this requirement specified by the board shall be comparable to guidelines specified in the Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs jointly approved by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The board may by rule create an exception to this requirement for licensees who do not perform or offer to perform for the public one or more kinds of services involving the use of accounting or auditing skills, including 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. Licensees granted such an exception by the board shall place the word "inactive'' adjacent to their CPA title or PA title on any business card, letterhead, or any other document or device, with the exception of their CPA certificate or PA registration, on which the CPA or PA title appears.

    VIII. The board shall charge a fee for each application for initial issuance or renewal of a certificate under this section in an amount prescribed by the board by rule.

    IX. Applicants for initial issuance or renewal of certificates under this section shall in their applications list all states in which they have applied for or hold certificates, licenses, or permits and list any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate, license, or permit, and each holder of or applicant for a certificate under this section shall notify the board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a certificate, license, or permit by another state.

    X. The board shall issue a certificate to a holder of a substantially equivalent foreign designation, granted in a foreign country, provided that:

       (a) The foreign authority which granted the designation makes similar provision to allow a person who holds a valid certificate issued by this state to obtain such foreign authority's comparable designation; and

       (b) The foreign designation:

          (1) Was duly issued by a foreign authority that regulates the practice of public accountancy and the foreign designation has not expired or been revoked or suspended;

          (2) Entitles the holder to issue reports upon financial statements; and

          (3) Was issued upon the basis of educational, examination, and experience requirements established by the foreign authority or by law; and

       (c) The applicant:

          (1) Received the designation, based on educational and examination standards substantially equivalent to those in effect in this state, at the time the foreign designation was granted;

          (2) Completed an experience requirement, substantially equivalent to the requirement set out in RSA 309-B:5, IX, in the jurisdiction which granted the foreign designation or has completed at least 4 years of professional experience in this state; or meets equivalent requirements prescribed by the board by rule, within the 10 years immediately preceding the application; and

          (3) Passed a uniform qualifying examination in national standards acceptable to the board.

    XI. An applicant under paragraph X shall in the application list all jurisdictions, foreign and domestic, in which the applicant has applied for or holds a designation to practice public accountancy, and each holder of a certificate issued under this paragraph shall notify the board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of a designation or commencement of a disciplinary or enforcement action by any jurisdiction.

    XII. The board has the sole authority to interpret the application of the provisions of paragraphs X and XI.

    XIII. The board shall by rule require as a condition for renewal of a certificate under this section, by any certificate holder who issues compilation reports for the public other than through a CPA firm, that such individual undergo, no more frequently than once every 3 years, a peer review conducted in such manner as the board shall by rule specify, and such review shall include verification that such individual has met the competency requirements set out in professional standards for such services.

    XIV. Upon the request of a licensee or certificate holder who is a member of any reserve component of the armed forces of the United States or the national guard and is called to active duty, the board shall place the person's license or certificate on inactive status. The license or certificate may be reactivated within one year of the person's release from active status by payment of the renewal fee and with proof of completion of the most current continuing education requirement unless still within the renewal period.

    309-B:8 Firm Permits to Practice; Attest Experience and Peer Review. –

    I. The board shall grant or renew permits to practice as a CPA firm to applicants that demonstrate their qualifications therefor in accordance with this section.

       (a) The following are required to hold a permit issued under this section:

          (1) Any firm with an office in this state performing attest services as defined in RSA 309-B:3, I, or compilation services under RSA 309-B:3, III-a;

          (2) Any firm with an office in this state that uses the designation "CPAs'' or "CPA firm''; or

          (3) Any firm that does not have an office in this state but performs attest services described in RSA 309-B:3, I(a)(1), (3), or (4) for a client having its home office in this state.

       (b) A firm which does not have an office in this state may perform services described in RSA 309-B:3, I(a)(2) and RSA 309-B:3, III-a for a client having its home office in this state and may use the designation "CPAs'' or "CPA firm'' without a permit issued under this section only if:

          (1) It has the qualifications described in paragraphs III and VIII of this section; and

          (2) It performs such services through an individual with practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6.

       (c) A firm which is not subject to the requirements of subparagraphs (a)(3) or (b) of this paragraph may perform other professional services while using the title "CPA'' or "CPA firm'' in the state without a license issued under this section only if:

          (1) It performs such services through an individual with practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6; and

          (2) It can lawfully do so in the state where said individuals with practice privileges have their principal place of business.

    II. Permits shall be initially issued and renewed for periods of not more than 3 years. Annual periods shall coincide with the state's fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ending on the subsequent June 30. Applications for such permits shall be made in such form and in the case of applications for renewal, between such dates, as the board shall by rule specify. A permit shall remain valid for the period of time that the board requires to act on the application for renewal, provided that the renewal was submitted in accordance with the rules adopted by the board. The board shall grant or deny any application no later than 90 days after the application is filed in proper form. In any case where the applicant seeks the opportunity to show that issuance or renewal of a permit was mistakenly denied or where the board is not able to determine whether it should be granted or denied, the board may issue to the applicant a provisional permit, which shall expire 90 days after its issuance or when the board determines whether or not to issue or renew the permit for which application was made, whichever shall first occur.

    III. An applicant for initial issuance or renewal of a permit to practice under this section shall be required to show that:

       (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, at least a simple majority of the ownership of the firm, in terms of financial interests and voting rights of all partners, officers, shareholders, members or managers, belongs to holders of a certificate who are licensed in some state of the United States and such partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers, whose principal place of business is in this state, and who perform professional services in this state, hold a valid certificate issued under RSA 309-B:5 or the corresponding provisions of prior law or are public accountants licensed under RSA 309-B:9. Firms may include non-licensee owners but the firm and its ownership shall comply with rules adopted by the board. For firms of public accountants, at least a simple majority of the ownership of the firm, in terms of financial interests and voting rights, shall belong to holders of registration under RSA 309-B:9. An individual who has practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6 and who performs services for which a firm permit is required under RSA 309-B:6, IV shall not be required to obtain a certificate from this state pursuant to RSA 309-B:5.

       (b) Any CPA or PA firm may include non-licensee owners provided that:

          (1) The firm designates a licensee of this state, or in the case of a firm which must have a permit pursuant to RSA 309-B:6, IV a licensee of another state who meets the requirements in RSA 309-B:6, I, who is responsible for the proper registration of the firm and identifies that individual to the board.

          (2) All non-licensee owners are active individual participants in the CPA or PA firm or affiliated entities.

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

       (c) Any individual licensee and any individual qualifying for practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6 who is responsible for supervising attest services, and signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountant's report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm, shall meet the appropriate experience requirements for such services as required by professional standards for such services.

       (d) Any individual licensee and any individual qualifying for practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6 who signs or authorizes someone to sign the accountant's report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm shall meet the experience requirement of RSA 309-B:8, III(c).

    IV. An applicant for initial issuance or renewal of a permit to practice under this section shall be required to register each office of the firm within this state with the board and show that all attest services rendered in this state are under the charge of a person holding a valid certificate issued under RSA 309-B:5 or the corresponding provision of prior law or some other state.

    V. The board shall charge a fee for each application for initial issuance or renewal of a permit under this section in an amount prescribed by the board by rule.

    VI. Applicants for initial issuance or renewal of permits under this section shall in their application list all states in which they have applied for or hold permits as CPA firms and list any past denial, revocation, or suspension of a license or permit by any other state, and each holder of or applicant for a permit under this section shall notify the board in writing, within 30 days after its occurrence, of any change in the identities of partners, officers, shareholders, members, or managers whose principal place of business is in this state, any change in the number or location of offices within the state, any change in the identity of the persons in charge of such offices, and any issuance, denial, revocation, or suspension of license or permit by any other state.

    VII. Firms which fall out of compliance with the provisions of this section due to changes in firm ownership or personnel, after receiving or renewing a license, shall take corrective action to bring the firm back into compliance as quickly as possible. The board may grant a reasonable period of time for a firm to take such corrective action. Failure to bring the firm back into compliance within a reasonable period as defined by the board will result in the suspension of the firm permit.

    VIII. The board shall by rule require, on either a uniform or random basis, as a condition to renewal of permits under this section, that applicants undergo, no more frequently than once every 3 years, peer reviews conducted in such manner as the board shall specify, and such peer review shall include a verification by the reviewer that individuals in the firm who are responsible for attest services and who sign or authorize someone to sign the accountant's report on the financial statements on behalf of the firm meet the experience requirements set out in professional standards for such services, provided that such rule:

       (a) Shall be adopted reasonably in advance of the time when it first becomes effective;

       (b) Shall include reasonable provision for compliance by an applicant showing that it has, within the preceding 3 years, undergone a peer review that is a satisfactory equivalent to peer review generally required pursuant to this paragraph;

       (c) Shall require, with respect to peer reviews contemplated by subparagraph (b), that they be subject to oversight by an oversight body established or sanctioned by board rule, which body shall periodically report to the board on the effectiveness of the review program under its charge, and provide to the board a listing of firms that have participated in a peer review program that is satisfactory to the board; and

       (d) Shall require, with respect to peer reviews contemplated by subparagraph (b), that the peer review processes be operated and documents maintained in a manner designed to preserve confidentiality, and that neither the board nor any third party, other than the peer review oversight body, shall have access to documents furnished or generated in the course of such peer review. This subparagraph shall not be construed to limit the board's subpoena power under RSA 309-B:11, I; nor shall it be construed to prevent the board from obtaining from the applicant, its peer review report, the related letter of comment, and the related letter of response.

    309-B:9 Public Accountants and Firms of Public Accountants. –

    I. Persons who on January 1, 2,000 hold registrations as public accountants issued under prior law of this state shall be entitled to have their registrations renewed upon fulfillment of the continuing professional education requirements for renewal of certificates set out in RSA 309-B:7, and on the renewal cycle and payment of fees there prescribed for renewal of certificates. Any registration not so renewed shall expire January 1, 2003.

    II. Firms of public accountants holding permits to practice as such issued under prior law of this state shall be entitled to have their permits to practice renewed pursuant to the procedures set out in RSA 309-B:8, subject to the requirements for renewal of permits to practice for firms of certified public accountants.

    III. So long as such public accountants hold valid registrations and permits to practice, they shall be entitled to perform attest services to the same extent as holders of certificates and holders of permits. In addition, they shall be entitled to use the title "public accountant'' and "PA,'' but no other title under this chapter. The holder of a registration issued under this section may perform attest services only in a firm that holds a permit under RSA 309-B:8.

    309-B:10 Enforcement Against Holders of Certificates, Permits, and Registrations. –

   I. After notice and hearing pursuant to RSA 309-B:12, the board may  take disciplinary action in any one or more of the following ways:

(a) By written reprimand or censure.

(b) By suspension or refusal to renew for a period of not more than 5 years, any such certificate, permit, or registration.

(c) By limiting the scope of practice of any licensee or placing a licensee on probation, with or without terms, conditions, and limitations.

(d) By revocation of any certificate, permit, or registration issued under RSA 309-B:7, 309-B:8, or 309-B:9 or corresponding provisions of prior laws.

(e) By assessing administrative fines, after notification and due process, in amounts established by the board which shall not exceed $2,000 per offense or, in the case of continuing offenses, $200 for each day the violation continues, whichever is greater.

   I-a. Misconduct sufficient to support disciplinary proceedings under this section shall include:

(a) Fraud or deceit in obtaining a certificate, permit, or registration.

(b) Cancellation, revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew a license or practice rights by any other state, including possessions of the United States, for any cause involving disciplinary reasons.

(c) Failure, on the part of a holder of a certificate under RSA 309-B:7 or permit under RSA 309-B:8 or registration under RSA 309-B:9, to maintain compliance with the requirements for issuance or renewal of such certificate, permit, or registration or to report changes to the board under RSA 309-B:7, VI and 309-B:8, VI.

(d) Revocation or suspension of the right to practice before any state, including possessions of the United States, or federal agency for disciplinary reasons.

(e) Dishonesty, fraud, or gross negligence in the performance of services as a licensee or in the filing or failure to file the licensee’s own income or employment tax returns or the payment of the licensee’s income or employment tax liability.

(f) Violation of any provision of this chapter or rule adopted by the board under this chapter or violation of professional standards.

(g) Violation of any rule of professional conduct adopted by the board under RSA 309-B:4, VIII(d).

(h) Conviction of a felony, or of any crime an element of which is dishonesty or fraud, under the laws of the United States, of this state, or of any other state, of any possessions of the United States, or of any other country if the acts involved would have constituted a crime under the laws of this state.

(i) Performance of any fraudulent act while holding a certificate, registration, or permit issued under this chapter or prior law.

(j) Any conduct reflecting adversely upon the licensee’s fitness to perform services as a licensee.

(k) Making any false or misleading statement or verification, in support of an application for a certificate, registration, or permit filed by another.

     II. In lieu of, or in addition to, any remedy specifically provided in paragraph I of this section, the board may require one or both of the following of a licensee:

       (a) A peer review conducted in such fashion as the board shall specify.

       (b) Satisfactory completion of such continuing professional education programs as the board may specify.

   III. In any proceeding in which a remedy provided by paragraph I or II of this section is imposed, the board may also require the respondent licensee to pay the costs of the proceeding.

    309-B:11 Enforcement Procedures; Investigations. –

    I. The board may, upon receipt of a complaint or other information suggesting violations of this chapter or of the rules of the board, conduct investigations to determine whether there is probable cause to institute proceedings under RSA 309-B:12, 309-B:15, or 309-B:16 against any person or firm for such violation, but an investigation under this section shall not be a prerequisite to such proceedings in the event that a determination of probable cause can be made without investigation. In aid of such investigations, the board, through its chairperson, shall have the power to compel the testimony of witnesses and the production of documents or other evidence by the issuance of subpoenas. The board and the defendant may take the depositions of witnesses residing within or without the state pertaining to any matter being investigated.

    II. The board may designate a member, or any other person of appropriate competence, to serve as investigating officer to conduct an investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigating officer shall file a report with the board. The board shall find probable cause or lack of probable cause based upon the report or shall return the report to the investigating officer for further investigation. Unless there has been a determination of probable cause, the report of the investigating officer, the complaint, if any, the testimony and documents submitted in support of the complaint or gathered in the investigation, and the fact of pendency of the investigation shall be treated as confidential information and shall not be disclosed to any person except law enforcement authorities, and, to the extent deemed necessary in order to conduct the investigation, the subject of the investigation, persons whose complaints are being investigated, and witnesses questioned in the course of the investigation.

    III. Upon a finding of probable cause, if the subject of the investigation is a licensee, the board shall direct that a complaint be issued under RSA 309-B:12, and if the subject of the investigation is not a licensee, the board shall take appropriate action under RSA 309-B:15 or 309-B:16. Upon a finding of no probable cause, the board shall close the matter and shall thereafter release information relating to the investigation only with the consent of the person or firm under investigation.

    IV. The board may review the publicly available professional work of licensees on a general and random basis, without any requirement of a formal complaint or suspicion of impropriety on the part of any particular licensee. If, as a result of such review, the board discovers reasonable grounds for a more specific investigation, the board may proceed under paragraphs I through III of this section.

    309-B:12 Enforcement Procedures; Hearings by the Board. –

    I. In any case where probable cause with respect to a violation by a licensee has been determined by the board, whether following an investigation under RSA 309-B:11, or upon receipt of a written complaint furnishing grounds for a determination of such probable cause, or upon receipt of notice of a decision by the board of accountancy or similar agency of another state, possession of the United States or country furnishing such grounds, the board shall issue a complaint setting forth appropriate charges and set a date for a disciplinary hearing before the board on such charges. The board shall, not less than 30 days prior to the date of such hearing, serve a copy of the complaint and notice of the time and place of the hearing upon the licensee, together with a copy of the board's rules governing proceedings under this section, either by personal delivery or by mailing a copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the licensee at the licensee's address last known to the board.

    II. A licensee against whom a complaint has been issued under this section shall have the right, reasonably in advance of the hearing, to examine and copy the report of investigation, if any, and any documentary or testimonial evidence and summaries of anticipated evidence in the board's possession relating to the subject matter of the complaint. The board's rules governing proceedings under this section shall specify the time and manner in which such right may be exercised.

    III. In a hearing under this section the respondent licensee may appear in person or, in the case of a firm, through a duly authorized partner, officer, director, or shareholder member or manager, or by counsel. The respondent or counsel may examine witnesses and evidence presented in support of the complaint, and may present evidence and witnesses on the licensee's behalf. The licensee shall have the right, on application to the board, to the issuance of subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence.

    IV. The evidence supporting the complaint shall be presented by the investigating officer, by a board member designated for that purpose, or by counsel. A board member who presents the evidence, or who has conducted the investigation of the matter under RSA 309-B:11, shall not participate in the board's decision of the matter.

    V. In a hearing under this section, the board shall be advised by counsel, and such individual shall not be the same counsel who presents or assists in presenting the evidence supporting the complaint under paragraph IV of this section.

    VI. In a hearing under this section, the board shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence.

    VII. In a hearing under this section, a stenographic or electronic record shall be made and filed with the board. A transcript need not be prepared unless review is sought under paragraph X of this section or the board determines that there is other good cause for its preparation. The respondent may request a copy of such record and shall bear the cost of making such copy.

    VIII. In a hearing under this section, a recorded vote of a majority of all members of the board, excluding members disqualified by reason of paragraph IV or other reasons under this section, shall be required to sustain any charge and to impose any penalty with respect to such hearing.

    IX. If, after service of a complaint and notice of hearing as provided in paragraph I of this section, the respondent licensee fails to appear at the hearing, the board may proceed to hear evidence against the licensee and may enter such order as it deems warranted by the evidence. The order shall be final unless the licensee petitions for review under paragraph X of this section, provided, however, that within 30 days from the date of any such order, upon a showing of good cause for the licensee's failure to appear and defend, the board may set aside the order and schedule a new hearing on the complaint to be conducted in accordance with applicable paragraphs of this section.

    X. Any person or firm adversely affected by any order of the board entered after a hearing under this section may appeal such order by filing a written petition with the superior court in the county in which the respondent resides or, if not a resident of this state, in the county in which the respondent has a place of business or resident agent. An appeal shall not suspend the order of the board unless the court orders otherwise. The record of the hearing of the board's action shall be presented to the superior court for its review pursuant to the procedures and standards of RSA 541. The superior court may affirm, reverse, or modify the board's order or may order a trial de novo. A trial de novo shall be pursuant to the board's rules and the rules of evidence shall not apply.

    XI. In any case where the board renders a decision imposing discipline against a licensee under RSA 309-B:10 or RSA 309-B:12, the board shall examine its records to determine whether the licensee holds a certificate, license, or a permit in any other state, possession of the United States, or country. If that is the case, the board shall notify the board of accountancy or other similar regulatory agency of such other state, possession of the United States, or country of its decision, by mail, within 45 days of rendering the decision or within 45 days of a final decision of an appeal by a court reviewing the board's decision, whichever is later. The board may also furnish information relating to proceedings resulting in disciplinary action to other public authorities and to professional organizations having a disciplinary interest in the licensee. Where a petition for review has been filed pursuant to RSA 309-B:12, X, the notification and furnishing of information provided for in this paragraph shall await the resolution of such review and, if resolution is in favor of the licensee, no such notification or furnishing of information shall be made.

    309-B:13 Reinstatement. –

    I. In any case where the board has suspended or revoked a certificate, permit, or registration or refused to renew a certificate, permit, or registration, the board may, upon application in writing by the individual or firm affected and for good cause shown, modify the suspension or reissue the certificate, permit, or registration.

    II. The board shall by rule specify the manner in which such applications shall be made, the times within which they shall be made, and the circumstances under which hearings will be held.

    III. Before reissuing or terminating the suspension of a certificate, permit, or registration under this section, and as a condition to such action, the board may require the applicant to show successful completion of specified continuing professional education. The board may make the reinstatement of a certificate, permit, or registration conditional and subject to satisfactory completion of a peer review conducted in such fashion as the board shall specify.  

    309-B:14 Unlawful Acts. –

    I. Only licensees, individuals who have practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6, and firms exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, may issue a report on financial statements of any other person, firm, organization, or governmental unit or otherwise offer to render or render any attest service. This restriction shall not prohibit any act of a public official or public employee in the performance of that person's duties as such; or prohibit the performance by any person from the use of accounting skills, or analyzing and preparing projections of financial data in the performance of management advisory services, financial advisory services, consulting services, the preparation of tax returns, or the furnishing of advice on tax matters. This restriction also does not apply to non-licensees who may prepare financial statements and issue reports thereon which do not purport to be in compliance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS).

    II. Licensees, individuals who have practice privileges under RSA 309-B:6, and firms exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, performing attest services shall provide those services pursuant to statements on standards relating to those services adopted by reference or directly by the board.

    III. No person not holding a valid certificate or a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6 shall use or assume the title or designation "certified public accountant,'' or the abbreviation "CPA'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such person is a certified public accountant.

    IV. No firm shall provide attest services or assume or use the title or designation "certified public accountants,'' or the abbreviation "CPAs,'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such firm is a CPA firm unless (1) the firm holds a valid permit issued under RSA 309-B:8 or is in compliance with a valid exemption from the permit requirement pursuant to RSA 309-B:8.

    V. No person shall assume or use the title or designation "public accountant,'' or the abbreviation "PA,'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such person is a public accountant unless such person holds a valid registration issued under RSA 309-B:9.

    VI. No person or firm not holding a valid certificate, permit, or registration issued under RSA 309-B:7, 309-B:8, or 309-B:9, unless they qualify for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6 or are exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall provide attest services or assume or use the title or designation "public accountant,'' the abbreviation "PA,'' or any other title, designation, words, letters, abbreviation, sign, card, or device tending to indicate that such firm is composed of public accountants.

    VII. No person or firm not holding a valid certificate, permit, or registration issued under RSA 309-B:7, 309-B:8, or 309-B:9, or qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or an exemption from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall assume or use the title or designation "certified accountant,'' "chartered accountant,'' "enrolled accountant,'' "licensed accountant,'' "registered accountant,'' "accredited accountant,'' or any other title or designation likely to be confused with the titles "certified public accountant'' or "public accountant,'' or use any of the abbreviations "CA,'' "LA,'' "RA,'' "AA,'' or similar abbreviation likely to be confused with the abbreviations "CPA'' or "PA.'' The title "Enrolled Agent'' or "EA'' may only be used by individuals so designated by the Internal Revenue Service.

    VIII. Persons not licensed under this chapter, unless they qualify for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6 or are exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall not use language in any statement relating to the financial affairs of a person or entity which is conventionally used by licensees in reports on financial statements. In this regard, the board shall issue safe harbor language that persons not licensed under this chapter, or not qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or not exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8 may use in connection with such financial information. Such disclaimer language shall include the following:
    "I (we) have prepared the accompanying (financial statements) of (name of entity) as of (time period) for the (period) then ended. This presentation is limited to preparing in the form of financial statements information that is the representation of management (owners).
    I (we) have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statements and accordingly do not express an opinion or any form of assurance on them.''

    IX. No person or firm not holding a valid certificate, permit, or registration issued under RSA 309-B:7, 309-B:8, or 309-B:9, or qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or an exemption from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall assume or use any title or designation that includes the words "accountant,'' "auditor,'' or "accounting,'' in connection with any other language, including the language of a report, that implies that such person or firm holds such a certificate, permit, or registration or has special competence as an accountant or auditor. This paragraph shall not prohibit any officer, partner, or employee of any firm or organization from affixing a signature to any statement in reference to the financial affairs of such firm or organization with any wording designating the position, title, or office that person holds, nor shall it prohibit any act of a public official or employee in the performance of that person's duties. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit non-licensees who perform services involving the use of accounting skills from describing such services as "bookkeeping'', "tax preparation'' or "general accounting'' services, or describing themselves as "accountants.''

    X. No persons holding a certificate or registration, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm holding a permit under this chapter or an exemption from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall use a professional or firm name or designation that is misleading about the legal form of the firm, or about the persons or number of persons who are partners, officers, members, managers, or shareholders of the firm, or about any other matter; provided, however, that names of one or more of the former partners, members, managers or shareholders may be included in the name of a firm or its successor.

    XI. No provision of this section shall have any application to a person holding a certification, designation, degree, license, or permit granted in a foreign country entitling the holder to engage in the practice of public accountancy or its equivalent in such country, whose activities in this state are limited to the provision of professional services to persons or firms who are residents of, governments of, or business entities of the country in which the person holds such entitlement, who performs no attest services as defined, and who issues no reports with respect to the financial statements of any other persons, firms, or governmental units in this state, and who does not use in this state any title or designation other than the one under which that person practices in such country, followed by a translation of such title or designation into English, if it is in a different language, and by the name of such country.

    XII. No holder of a certificate issued under RSA 309-B:7 or a registration issued under RSA 309-B:9 shall perform attest services described in RSA 309-B:3, I(a) or compilation services described in RSA 309-B:3, III-a in any firm that does not hold a valid permit issued under RSA 309-B:8.

    XIII. (a) A licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall not for a commission recommend or refer to a client any product or service, or for a commission recommend or refer any product or service to be supplied by a client, or receive a commission, when the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, also performs for that client an attest service as defined in RSA 309-B:3, I or a compilation of a financial statement when the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, expects, or reasonably might expect, that a third party will use the financial statement and the compilation report does not disclose a lack of independence.

       (b) A licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, who is not prohibited by this section from performing services for or receiving a commission and who is paid or expects to be paid a commission shall disclose that fact to any person or entity to whom the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, recommends or refers a product or service to which the commission relates.

       (c) Any licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, who accepts a referral fee for recommending or referring any service of a licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, to any person or entity or who pays a referral fee to obtain a client shall disclose such acceptance or payment to the client.

    XIV. (a) A licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, shall not:

          (1) Perform for a contingent fee any professional services for, or receive such a fee from a client for whom the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, or the licensee's firm or firm of the individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6 performs an attest service as defined in RSA 309-B:3, I or a compilation of a financial statement when the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, expects, or reasonably might expect, that a third party will use the financial statement and the compilation report does not disclose a lack of independence; or

          (2) Prepare an original or amended tax return or claim for a tax refund for a contingent fee for any client; provided however that a licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, may prepare an amended return or claim for refund for a contingent fee if that licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, has a reasonable expectation that the amended return or claim for refund will be the subject of substantive review by the taxing authority.

       (b) The prohibition in subparagraph (a) applies during the period in which the licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, is engaged to perform any of the services listed in subparagraph (a) and the period covered by any historical financial statements involved in any such listed services.

       (c) Except as otherwise provided in this subparagraph, a contingent fee is a fee established for the performance of any service pursuant to an arrangement in which no fee will be charged unless a specified finding or result is attained, or in which the amount of the fee is otherwise dependent upon the finding or result of such service. Solely for purposes of this section, fees are not regarded as being contingent if fixed by courts or other public authorities, or, in tax matters, if determined based on the results of judicial proceedings or the findings of governmental agencies. The fees of a licensee, individual qualifying for a practice privilege under RSA 309-B:6, or firm exempt from the permit requirement under RSA 309-B:8, may vary depending, for example, on the complexity of services rendered.

    XV. Nothing within this section shall prohibit a practicing attorney or firm of attorneys from preparing or presenting records or documents customarily prepared by an attorney or firm of attorneys in connection with the attorney's professional work in the practice of law, or from billing a client or receiving a fee from a client in conformity with the professional conduct rules that govern the practice of law by such attorney or firm of attorneys.

    XVI. Notwithstanding any provision of this section, it shall not be a violation of this section for a firm which does not hold a valid permit under RSA 309-B:8 and which does not have an office in this state to provide its professional services in this state if it complies with the requirements of RSA 309-B:8, I(b) or (c), whichever is applicable.

    309-B:15 Injunctions Against Unlawful Acts. – Whenever, as a result of an investigation under RSA 309-B:11 or RSA 309-B:12, the board believes that any person or firm has engaged, or is about to engage, in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of RSA 309-B:14, the board may make application to the appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices. Upon a showing by the board that such person or firm has engaged, or is about to engage, in any such acts or practices, an injunction, restraining order, or other order as may be appropriate may be granted by such court.  

    309-B:16 Criminal Penalties. –

    I. Whenever, by reason of an investigation under RSA 309-B:11 or otherwise, the board has reason to believe that any person or firm has knowingly engaged in acts or practices which constitute a violation of RSA 309-B:14, the board may bring its information to the attention of the department of justice of this state which may, in its discretion, cause appropriate criminal proceedings to be brought.

    II. Any person who knowingly violates any provision of RSA 309-B:14 shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

    309-B:17 Single Act as Evidence of Practice. – In any action brought under RSA 309-B:12, RSA 309-B:15, or RSA 309-B:16, evidence of the commission of a single act prohibited by this chapter shall be sufficient to justify the imposition of a penalty, injunction, restraining order, or conviction, respectively, without evidence of a general course of conduct.  

    309-B:18 Confidential Communications. – Except by permission of the client for whom a licensee performs services, or the heirs, successors, or personal representatives of such client, a licensee or any partner, officer, member, manager, shareholder, or employee of a licensee shall not voluntarily disclose information communicated to such person by the client relating to and in connection with services rendered to the client by the licensee. Such information shall be deemed confidential, provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting the disclosure of information required to be disclosed by the standards of the public accounting profession in reporting on the examination of financial statements or as prohibiting disclosures in court proceedings or administrative proceedings before governmental agencies in instances where a subpoena or summons has been issued, in investigations or proceedings under RSA 309-B:11 or RSA 309-B:12, in ethical investigations conducted by private professional organizations, or in the course of peer reviews, or to other persons active in the organization performing services for that client on a need to know basis or to persons in such professional organization, peer review entity, or organization performing services for that client who need this information for the sole purpose of assuring quality control.

    309-B:19 Licensees' Working Papers and Clients' Records. –

    I. Subject to the provisions of RSA 309-B:18, all statements, records, schedules, working papers, and memoranda made by a licensee or a partner, shareholder, officer, director, member, manager, or employee of a licensee, incident to, or in the course of, rendering services to a client except for the records that are part of the client's records, shall be and remain the property of the licensee in the absence of an express agreement between the licensee and the client to the contrary. No such statement, record, schedule, working paper, or memorandum shall be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, without the consent of the client or the client's personal representative or assignee, to anyone other than one or more surviving partner, member or stockholder or new partner, new member or new stockholder of the licensee, or any combined or merged firm or successor in interest to the licensee. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting any temporary transfer of work papers or other material necessary in the course of carrying out peer reviews or as otherwise interfering with the disclosure of information pursuant to RSA 309-B:18.

    II. A licensee shall furnish to the client or former client, upon request and reasonable notice:

       (a) A copy of the licensee's working papers, to the extent that such working papers include records that would ordinarily constitute part of the client's records and are not otherwise available to the client; and

       (b) Any accounting or other records belonging to, or obtained from or on behalf of, the client that the licensee removed from the client's premises or received for the client's account. The licensee may make and retain copies of such documents of the client when they form the basis for work done by the licensee.

       (c) A copy of computer-prepared client data diskettes containing client ledger data, spread sheet data, client documents and any other such data of the client or former client that would ordinarily constitute part of the client's records and not otherwise be available to the client.

    III. Nothing in this section shall require a licensee to keep any work paper beyond the period prescribed in any other applicable statute.  

    309-B:20 Appointment of Secretary of State as Agent. – Application by a person or a firm not a resident of this state for a certificate under RSA 309-B:7 or a license to practice under RSA 309-B:8 shall constitute appointment of the secretary of state as the applicant's agent upon whom process may be served in any action or proceeding against the applicant arising out of any transaction or operation connected with or incidental to services performed by the applicant while a licensee within this state.

    309-B:21 Severability. – If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

Updated 7/1/12

These laws are made available to the public by the
New Hampshire Joint Board of Licensure and Certification
121 South Fruit Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
(603) 271-2219

*FOR THE OFFICIAL VERSION OF ANY STATUTE, PLEASE CONSULT THE BOUND VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTS OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE REVISED STATUTES ANNOTATED

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