State board reviews mobility regulations

The New York State Board for Public Accountancy during its Nov. 16 meeting engaged in a lengthy discussion of the emergency rules and regulations governing the mobility bill, adopted on Oct. 18 by the Board of Regents following Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signing of the bill on Aug. 17. The new rules and regulations became effective on Nov. 15.

The new mobility law replaces the temporary practice permit system, under which qualified CPAs licensed in other states were issued temporary permits to provide attest and compilation services in NewYork. The mobility law requires that out-of-state licensed CPAs authorized to practice public accountancy under a practice privilege do so through a New York-registered public accounting firm, if the CPA provides compilation or attest services in New York.

The amended rule and regulation, added as new subdivisions to the rules of the Board of Regents and the Regulations of the Commissioner, are in many ways identical to the previous rule and regulation, with the addition of “two or three little nuances that we had to address along the way,” said State Board
Executive Secretary Daniel J. Dustin.

Dustin said the two “key differences” between NewYork’s mobility law and “the law of every other jurisdiction” govern how the state will deal with practitioners who have failed to maintain good standing with their licensing jurisdiction, and the obligation placed on a CPA to report final disciplinary actions, licensure revocation or loss of good standing to NewYork.

“Somebody who is practicing in New York under a practice privilege, who no longer has a valid license or is no longer in good standing, or has had final disciplinary action, they need to cease practice in New York until they submit information to the department, and the department makes a determination that they can continue to work under practice privilege,” he explained.

“An out-of-state CPA practicing under mobility, who has had specific disciplinary action within the prior seven years preceding the date that he or she wishes to practice in NewYork, has to notify the department to get written permission to practice in NewYork,” Dustin said.

He walked the board through the other most significant changes to the law, which include the following:

  • Any firm, including sole practitioners, practicing attest or compilation services in New York state under a license of registration or permit from another state must register with the New York State Education Department.
  • Consistent with the previous rule, firms providing nonattest or noncompilation services in NewYork under an out-ofstate license are not required to register with NewYork.
  • As long as at least one partner is licensed in good standing in one or more states, a firm can be registered with New York under the mobility law, although the firm will be required to comply with the mandatory quality review program that went into effect Jan. 1.
  • CPAs wishing to practice in NewYork, who are registered in one of the two U.S. jurisdictions recognized as non-substantial equivalent, fall into one of two categories: those who have qualifications considered substantially equivalent, and those who do not. To be deemed substantially equivalent, a CPA must be licensed in a state determined to have licensure requirements substantially equivalent—or virtually equal—to the nationally recognized CPA licensure requirements, or whose licensure qualifications are determined to be substantially equivalent to the nationally recognized CPA licensure requirements.

Two U.S. jurisdictions, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, are not recognized as substantially equivalent, “mainly because they don’t have the same 150-hour education requirement,” Dustin said. Practitioners hailing from those jurisdictions and who have met the 150-hour education requirement, have at least one year of experience and have passed the CPA exam would be able to register to provide attest services in NewYork. For those who fail to meet one or more criteria, the SED may make allowances on an individual basis, Dustin said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a substantial number of people, given the small number of jurisdictions involved,” he added.

Dustin said that the state has sought input on the regulations from the Society, and that it is “quite likely” the regulations would be republished in the future as additional changes and clarifications are made.

For additional information about the new mobility law, answers to frequently asked questions are available on the board’s website at, under the “Temporary Practice Permit” link.

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