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Chapter 20-3 EXAMINATIONS, APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATES, AND TEMPORARYPERMITS - CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

Rule 20-3-.01 Examination

Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, the Uniform CPA Examination shall be the examination provided for in O.C.G.A. Section 43-3-10.

Rule 20-3-.02 Qualification of Applicants

(1) In order to be eligible for examination, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree conferred or completed the requirements for the baccalaureate degree, by a college or university accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization recognized by the Board with a concentration in accounting or, with a non-accounting concentration, supplemented by what the Board determines to be the substantial equivalent to an accounting concentration. Applicants must have completed 30 quarter hours or 20 semester hours in accounting subjects above the elementary level at a four-year accredited college or university which offers a baccalaureate degree.
(2) For the purpose of equating semester and quarter hours, the following formulas are used:

1.5 x semester hours = quarter hours

2/3 x quarter hours = semester hours

Rule 20-3-.03 Applications for Examination

(1) All applications for examination and re-examination, together with the required fee shall be submitted to the designated agent of the Board by the application deadline on the application materials. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make timely delivery of the appropriate form and designated fee.
(2) The Board through its designated agent will provide reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant with a disability in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The request for an accommodation by an individual with a disability must be in writing and received by the designated agent of the Board by the application deadline along with appropriate documentation, as indicated in the Request for Disability Accommodation Guidelines.

Rule 20-3-.04 Number of Sittings, Passing Grade and Granting of Credit, Release of Grades and Completion of Examination

(1) Under the paper-and-pencil examination, an applicant for licensure is subject to the following:
(a) At any sitting, the applicant must sit for all sections for which he or she has not yet received a passing grade. Failure to sit for all sections for which a passing grade has not been received will result in no credit being given for any section at that sitting.
(b) A grade of at least 75 is hereby prescribed as a passing grade for each section.
(c) An applicant shall be required to pass all sections of the Examination in order to qualify for a certificate. If at a given sitting of the Examination, an applicant passes two or more, but not all sections, the applicant shall be given credit for those sections passed, and need not sit for reexamination in those sections, provided:
1. The applicant wrote all sections of the Examination at that sitting;
2. The applicant attained a minimum grade of 50 on each section not passed at that sitting;
3. The applicant passes the remaining sections of the Examination within five consecutive examinations given after the one at which the first sections were passed;
4. At each subsequent sitting at which the applicant seeks to pass any additional sections, the applicant writes all sections not yet passed; and
5. In order to receive credit for passing additional sections in any such subsequent sitting, the applicant attains a minimum grade of 50 on sections written but not passed on such sitting.
(d) An approved applicant of this state may sit for the examination under the supervision of another state board provided the applicant complies with all applicable Rules of this Board.
(e) Each applicant will receive in writing the grade earned on each section of the examination.
(f) An applicant shall be deemed to have passed the CPA examination when he or she has been granted credit for all sections.
(2) An applicant may take the required test sections individually and in any order. Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this rule, credit for any test section(s) passed shall be valid for eighteen months from the actual date the applicant took that test section, without having to attain a minimum score on any failed test section(s) and without regard to whether the applicant has taken other test sections. The applicant shall also be subject to the following:
(a) Applicants must pass all four test sections of the Uniform CPA Examination within a rolling eighteen-month period that begins on the date that the first test section is passed. A grade of at least 75 is hereby prescribed as a passing grade for each section.
(b) Applicants cannot retake a failed test section(s) in the same examination window. An examination window refers to a three-month period in which applicants have an opportunity to take the examination (comprised of two months in which the examination is available to be taken and one month in which the examination will not be offered while routine maintenance is performed and the item bank is refreshed). Thus, applicants will be able to test two out of three months within an examination window.
(c) In the event all four test sections of the examination are not passed within the rolling eighteen-month period, credit for any test section(s) passed outside the eighteen-month period will expire and that test section(s) must be retaken.
(3) Effective with the implementation of the computer-based examination, applicants having unexpired conditional credits on the paper-and-pencil examination will retain conditional credits for the corresponding test sections of the computer-based examination as follows:

Paper-and-Pencil

Examination

Computer-Based

Examination

Auditing

Auditing and Attestation

Financial Accounting and

Reporting

Financial Accounting and

Reporting

Accounting and Reporting

Regulation

Business Law and

Professional Responsibilities

Business Environment and

Concepts

Such applicants will be allowed until October 31, 2005, or eighteen months from the first administration of the computer-based examination, whichever is longer, to complete any of the remaining test sections of the examination before the credits earned under the paper-and-pencil examination expire and the applicant loses credit.

(4) A first-time applicant who passes any section of the computer-based examination during the six months immediately following the first administration of the computer-based examination in Georgia shall retain credit for that section for a 24-month period beginning with the date the section of the exam was passed. At the end of the 24-month period, credit for that section expires. The section may be re-taken pursuant to paragraph of this rule.
(5) The Board may extend the term of conditional credit validity in cases of substantial hardship as determined by the Board.
(6) An applicant shall be deemed to have passed the examination once the applicant holds, at the same time, valid credit for passing each of the four test sections of the examination. For purposes of this section, credit for passing a test section of the examination is valid from the actual date of the testing event for that test section, regardless of the date the applicant actually received notice of the passing grade.

Rule 20-3-.05 Cheating

(1) Cheating by an applicant in applying for, taking or subsequent to the examination will be deemed to invalidate any grade otherwise earned by an applicant on any test section of the examination and may warrant summary expulsion from the test site and disqualification from taking the examination for a specified period of time.
(2) For purposes of this rule, the following actions or attempted activities, among others, may be considered cheating:
(a) Falsifying or misrepresenting educational credentials or other information required for admission to the examination;
(b) Communication between applicants while the examination is in progress both inside or outside the test site or copying another applicant's answers;
(c) Communication with others inside or outside the test site while the examination is in progress;
(d) Substitution of another individual to sit in the test site in place of the actual applicant;
(e) Violating the nondisclosure prohibitions of the examination or aiding or abetting another in doing so; or
(f) Retaking or attempting to retake a test section by an individual holding a valid license or by an applicant who has unexpired credit for having already passed the same test section, unless the individual or applicant has been expressly directed to retake the test section pursuant to a Board order or expressly authorized by the Board to retake the test section to participate in a "secret shopper" program.
(3) In any case where it appears that cheating has occurred or is occurring, the applicant may be summarily expelled from the examination or moved to a position in the test site away from other examinees where the applicant may be watched more closely. Evidence of cheating is grounds for denial of a license.

Rule 20-3-.06 Examination Credits from Any Other States or Foreign Applicants

(a) The Board will accept credit on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant examination earned as an applicant of another state provided the applicant meets the legal requirements of this state for admission to the examination and that the credits which were earned in such state would have been earned had the Rules of Section 20-3-.04 above been in effect.
(b) A foreign applicant shall be deemed to have satisfied the examination requirement of O.C.G.A. Sections 43-3-9 and 43-3-10 by providing proof of having passed the International Certified Public Accountant Qualification Examination.

Rule 20-3-.07 Examination Fee

Fees for the administration of the examination will be established by Board policy in order that all costs for examination administration are recovered. All fees related to the examination shall be published on the application for examination.

Rule 20-3-.08 Application for CPA License

(1) Upon passing the examination prescribed in Sections 20-3-.01 or 20-3.06(b), an applicant believing himself or herself to be otherwise qualified may apply for a license as a CPA. The application form is obtainable from the Office of the Board. Said applicant shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board that said applicant has:
(a) Presented to the Board an affidavit that he or she is a United States citizen, a legal permanent resident of the United States, or that he/she is a qualified alien or non-immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. If the applicant is not a U.S. citizen, he/she must submit documentation that will determine his/her qualified alien status. The Board participates in the DHS-USCIS SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements or "SAVE") program for the purpose of verifying citizenship and immigration status information of non-citizens. If the applicant is a qualified alien or non-immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, he/she must provide the alien number issued by the Department of Homeland Security or other federal immigration agency;
(b) Attained the age of 18;
(c) Good moral character (for the purposes of this rule,"good moral character" means fiscal integrity and a lack of any history of acts involving dishonesty or moral turpitude);
(d) Presented to the Board evidence that the applicant has received a baccalaureate degree or completed the requirements therefore, conferred by a college or university accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization recognized by the Board, with a concentration in accounting or what the Board determines to be the substantial equivalent of an accounting concentration, or with a non-accounting concentration supplemented by what the Board determines to be the substantial equivalent of an accounting concentration, including related courses in other areas of business administration; and after January 1,1998, any individual who has not previously sat for the uniform written examination for the certificate of CPA must have completed a total of 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours of college education, including a baccalaureate degree awarded by a college or university accredited by either a national or regional accrediting organization recognized by the Board. The total educational program shall include an undergraduate accounting concentration and related courses in other areas of business administration or the substantial equivalent of the foregoing. An applicant who has completed 45 quarter hours or 30 semester hours in accounting subjects above the elementary level and 36 quarter hours or 24 semester hours in general business subjects at a four year accredited college or university which offers a baccalaureate degree will be deemed to have satisfied the accounting concentration and related business course requirements;
(e) This subsection shall be effective for applications received after June 30, 2009. One year of continuous experience immediately preceding the date of application for the license or within a reasonable time prior to the date of such application as provided herein by rule. Acceptable experience shall include employment in public accountancy, government, business, industry or academia;
(f) Submitted the application fee in the amount established by Board policy.
(2) The qualifying experience of an applicant for certification must be meaningful with respect to qualifying the applicant for the practice of public accountancy. The experience may consist of any type of services or advice using accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills. The Board shall look at such factors as the complexity and diversity of the work. The experience will be evaluated by the Board according to the following criteria.
(a) Qualifying experience in public accountancy shall mean employment as a staff Accountant by a practicing CPA holding a current license to practice or a firm of such duly licensed accountants certified, registered or licensed to practice public accountancy in this state or by the duly constituted laws of any other sovereign state or country. The qualifying experience in subsection (2) (a) must be at least one year in duration and must include a minimum of 2,000 hours. Such experience shall be supervised by an individual who holds a license as a CPA.
1. Public accountancy work for purposes of this section shall mean the performance of any combination of services involving the use of accounting, auditing or attestation skills, one or more types of consulting services, the preparation of tax returns or the furnishing of advice on tax matters.
2. The work must involve the application of appropriate technical and behavioral Standards such as standards contained in the Code of Professional Conduct, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements , Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services, the Statement on Standards for Tax Services, the Statements on Standards for Management Consulting Services, International Financial Reporting Standards, or other such standards as designated by policy statements of the Board.
(b) Qualifying experience in lieu of such years of experience in public accountancy shall mean employment in the accounting field in industry, business, government or college teaching, any combination of the above and experience in public accountancy. Self-employment experience shall not be considered qualifying experience.
1. For qualifying experience in industry or business the applicant must (a) have been employed by an individual or entity in the performance of duties primarily involving the use of financial accounting and auditing skills, which follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; and (b) have been supervised by an individual who holds a current license or registration to practice public accountancy as a CPA or registered public accountant licensed by this state or by the duly constituted laws of any other state or by the equivalent licensed by another country. Acceptable supervision shall include that by individuals employed by the entity or a related entity for which the applicant seeks qualifying experience and other supervision as may be approved by the Board. In addition, the applicant may have performed duties involving the installation of internal control systems; the use of management advisory, financial advisory, or consulting skills; or compliance with accounting aspects of tax or regulatory laws. The qualifying experience in this subsection must be at least one year in duration and must include a minimum of 2,000 hours.
2. For qualifying experience in government, the applicant must have been employed by a federal, state or local government agency which is appropriated public funds and whose employees are considered public employees and which is recognized by the Board as having the responsibility and organizational structure for performing auditing and accounting functions. The qualifying experience in this subsection must be at least one year in duration and must include a minimum of 2,000 hours work time. Qualifying experience for an applicant employed by the Internal Revenue Service as an internal revenue agent shall count only experience obtained at or above the GS 11 level.
3. Qualified teaching experience shall consist of teaching in the accounting discipline for academic credit at an accredited four year college or university. The teaching must include at least two different courses of accounting above the introductory or elementary level. One year of experience shall consist of no less than 24 semester hours, or the equivalent in quarter hours, taught in a period consisting of not less than twelve months and not more than thirty six (36) months.
(i) Courses outside the field of accounting will not be counted toward full-time teaching. Such courses include, but are not limited to: business law, finance, computer applications, personnel management, economics and statistics.
4. Clerical functions shall not count under this section toward meeting the experience requirements. Clerical functions are positions that do not have accounting significance, including doing merely mathematical calculations, account analysis (looking into accounting books for specific information already recorded), and merely recording information in the general ledger (as opposed to compiling the information).
5. Qualifying experience shall not count experience attained while the applicant is enrolled as a full-time student at a four year college or university where the purpose of such enrollment is to meet the education requirements for certification under Section 43-3-6 of the Act. The Board may consider exceptions to this rule on a case by case basis.
6. Such other criteria as the Board may consider to be substantially equivalent to the foregoing.
(c) Supervision shall mean "the act of directing and inspecting the performance of."
(3) The qualifying experience must be continuous experience obtained within a reasonable time prior to the date of application for the license. The date of application shall be the date the application is received in the Board office.
(a) Continuous experience shall be uninterrupted experience during the time period in Which the required experience was earned, provided, however, that a break in continuity of employment for a reasonable duration in any of the following circumstances may be treated as an acceptable break:
1. Involuntary termination by an employer;
2. Illness;
3. Full-time school attendance at a four year college or university which offers a baccalaureate degree;
4. Maternity leave;
5. Military leave;
6. Relocation; or
7. A break for any other reason for not more than one year.

Any periods of time deemed to be acceptable breaks shall not be counted as part of the qualifying experience.

(b) If an application is dated, and filed not more than one year subsequent to completion of qualifying experience, that experience shall be presumed by the Board to have been obtained within a reasonable time prior to the date of such application.
(c) Any other circumstances shall be reviewed by the Board on a case by case basis in its discretion.

Rule 20-3-.09 Individual Practice Priviledges and Reciprocity

(1) An individual already licensed in another state who becomes a resident of this state, establishes a physical office in this state, or whose office location is the physical office of a firm in this state may qualify for a reciprocal license under Code Section 43-3-12 and must apply on a form for the purpose provided by the Board and obtainable from its Office. The application must be accompanied by a fee in the amount established by Board policy; as well as an affidavit that the individual is a United States citizen, a legal permanent resident of the United States, or that he/she is a qualified alien or non-immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. If the individual is not a U.S. citizen, he/she must submit documentation that will determine his/her qualified alien status. The Board participates in the DHS-USCIS SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements or "SAVE") program for the purpose of verifying citizenship and immigration status information of non-citizens. If the individual is a qualified alien or non-immigrant under the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, he/she must provide the alien number issued by the Department of Homeland Security or other federal immigration agency. Individuals practicing under this Rule 20-3-.09 may not practice in this state under Code Section 43-3-18(b).
(2) An individual whose residence and office location is and remains outside this state may elect to exercise substantial equivalency practice privileges in this state under Code Section 43-3-18(b)without the requirement to obtain a license, certificate, or registration with the Board or pay a fee provided the individual holds a current and unencumbered license as a CPA in a state which grants similar practice privileges to license holders in this state.
(3) An individual whose residence and office location is and remains outside this state may apply for a reciprocal license under Code Section 43-3-12.

Rule 20-3-.10 Repealed