Regulation of Accountants – Massachusetts

Pursuant to ALM GL ch. 112, § 87B, the board shall grant or renew licenses to practice public accountancy to persons who make application and demonstrate their qualifications.  Licenses shall be initially issued, and renewed, for periods of two years.  Each such license shall expire on the last day of June of the next year following the year of issuance of renewal.  An applicant for initial issuance of a license under the section shall show that s/he holds a valid certificate.

If an applicant has received a license which has not been renewed for at least two renewal periods the applicant will be required to complete at least one hundred and sixty hours of qualified continuing professional education within twenty-four months prior to issue, of which at least eighty hours must be in the attest function.  On the subsequent renewal of the biennial license, said applicant will be given no credit for the prior said one hundred and sixty hours.

The board shall issue a license to a holder of a certificate issued by another state upon a showing that the applicant passed the examination required for issuance of his/her certificate with grades that would have been passing grades at the time in the commonwealth.

An applicant for renewal of a license under the section shall show that s/he has fulfilled requirements of continuing professional education since the license was last renewed, or, if never renewed, first issued, of such general kinds and in such subjects and number of hours as shall have been specified by the board by rule.  The board may provide by rule that fulfillment of continuing professional education requirements of other states will be accepted in lieu of the foregoing requirements.  The board may also provide by rule for pro-rated continuing professional education requirements to be met by applicants whose initial licenses were issued substantially less than two years prior to the renewal date; and it may prescribe by rule special lesser requirements to be met by applicants for license renewal whose prior license lapsed substantially prior to their applications for renewal, and as to whom it would in consequence be inequitable to require a full compliance with all requirements of continuing professional education that would otherwise have been applicable to the period of lapse.

The board shall, after payment of a fee, issue an initial license or renewal.  Applicants for initial issuance or renewal of license under the section shall in their applications list all states and foreign countries in which they have applied for or hold certificates, licenses or foreign licenses; and each holder of or applicant for a license under the section shall notify the board in writing, within thirty days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation or suspension of a certificate, license, or foreign license, by another state or country.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 87C1/2 provides that after notice and hearing, the board may revoke any certificate or license issued under sections eighty-seven A1/2, eighty-seven B and eighty-seven B1/2 suspend any such certificate or license or refuse to renew any such license for a period of not more than five years, reprimand, censure or limit the scope of practice of any licensee, impose an administrative fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or place any licensee on probation, all with or without terms, conditions and limitations, for any one or more of the following reasons:

  • Fraud or deceit in obtaining a certificate or license;
  • Cancellation, revocation, suspension or refusal to renew authority to engage in the practice of public accountancy in any other state or foreign country for any cause;
  • Failure, on the part of a holder of a license under section eighty-seven B or eighty-seven B1/2, to maintain compliance with the requirements for issuance or renewals of such license or to report changes to the board;
  • Revocation or suspension of the right to practice before any state or federal agency;
  • Dishonesty, fraud or gross negligence in the practice of public accountancy or in the filing or failure to file his own income tax returns;
  • Violation of any of the provisions of sections eighty-seven A to eighty-seven E, inclusive, or any rules promulgated by the board;
  • Conviction of a felony, or of any crime an element of which is dishonesty or fraud, under the laws of the United States, or the commonwealth, or of any other state, if the acts would have constituted such a crime under the laws of the commonwealth;
  • Performance of any fraudulent act while holding a certificate or license issued under prior law dealing with registration and the conduct of public accountancy;
  • Any conduct reflecting adversely upon the licensee’s fitness to engage in the practice of public accountancy.

In lieu of or in addition to any remedy specifically provided in paragraph (a) the board may require of a licensee:

  • A quality review conducted in such fashion as the board may specify; and
  • Satisfactory completion of such continuing professional education programs as the board may specify.

Any person or firm adversely affected by any order of the board entered after a hearing may obtain review thereof by filing a written petition for review with the supreme judicial court within thirty days after the entry of said order.  The procedures for review, and the scope of the review shall be as specified in chapter thirty A.

In any case where the board renders a decision imposing discipline against a licensee under this section, the board shall examine its records to determine whether the licensee holds a certificate or a license to practice public accountancy in any other state; and if so, the board shall notify the board of accountancy of such other state of its decision by mail within forty-five days of rendering the decision. The board may also furnish information relating to proceedings resulting in disciplinary action to other public authorities and to private professional organizations having a disciplinary interest in the licensee.

In any case where the board has suspended or revoked a certificate or a license or refused to renew a license, the board may, upon application in writing by the person or firm affected and for good cause shown, modify the suspension or reissue the certificate or license.  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 in which hearings will be held thereon.

Before reissuing or terminating the suspension of a certificate or license, and as a condition thereto, the board may require the applicant to show successful completion of specified continuing professional education; and the board may make the reinstatement of a certificate or permit conditional, and subject to satisfactory completion of a quality review conducted in such fashion as the board may specify.

ALM GL ch. 112, § 87D1/2 provides that whenever, as a result of an investigation or otherwise, 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 section eighty-seven D, the board may make application to the appropriate court for an order enjoining such acts or practices, and 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 shall be granted by such court.

Whenever, by reason of an investigation, the board has reason to believe that any person or firm has knowingly engaged in acts or practices which constitute a violation of section eighty-seven D, the board may bring its information to the attention of the attorney general, or other appropriate law enforcement officer, who may, in his/her discretion, cause appropriate criminal proceedings to be brought thereon.  In any action brought pursuant to the provisions of the chapter, evidence of the commission of a single act prohibited by said provisions shall be sufficient to justify a penalty, injunction, restraining order or conviction, respectively, without evidence of a general course of conduct.


Inside Regulation of Accountants – Massachusetts