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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Chapter 20-7 INDIVIDUALS, PARTNERSHIPS, ASSOCIATIONS AND CORPORATIONS COMPOSED OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

Rule 20-7-.01 Licensure

(1) A new firm having a physical office in this state about to engage in the practice of public accountancy in this state or a firm not having a physical office in this state but required to be licensed under 43-3-16(b)(1)(C) shall make application for original licensure upon forms for that purpose provided by the Board and obtainable from its Office. Upon such application being found sufficient and in order, the application fee paid, and the applicant found eligible for licensure, the applicant:
(a) Will be forthwith licensed under the appropriate Section of the Act;
(b) Will have its physical office(s) in this state as designated in the application forthwith licensed under Section 43-3-16 of the Act;
(c) Will be issued a permit to practice public accounting in this state; and
(d) Will be notified accordingly.
(2) Firm licenses will expire on June 30 of each even numbered year and shall become renewable at least sixty (60) days prior to the expiration date. If the application for renewal is not made and the fee paid before September 30 of the even numbered year, the license shall lapse and shall not be renewed except by application for a new license or for reinstatement.
(3) Notice shall be given to the Board within thirty days, of the admission to or withdrawal of a partner, stockholder, or member from any licensed firm. Notice shall also be given within thirty days of any mere change of name. In these cases the Board may elect to issue a new license to the firm.
(a) On the other hand, if a partner, shareholder, or member is admitted or withdraws and in Connection therewith there is a change of name, then and only then it is to be regarded for the purposes of this Rule as a new firm which must file an application for licensure.

Rule 20-7-.02 Firm Ownership

(1) A firm in which a simple majority of the financial interest and voting rights are owned by CPAs of some state in good standing may be licensed in accordance with this chapter if all of the following conditions are met:
(a) Minimum Required Information: The firm must provide the following information:
1. The name, full business address, and telephone number;
2. All trade or business names used by the licensee;
3. The designated holder of a license, or in the case of a firm which must be licensed pursuant to Code Section 43-3-16(b)(1)(C), a licensee of another state who meets the requirements for substantial equivalency practice privileges as provided by Code Section 43-3-18(b), who shall be responsible for the proper registration of the firm;
4. The name, address and licensure status of the resident manager;
5. The type of ownership or operations (i.e., partnership, corporation, or sole proprietorship); and
6. The name(s) of the owners, including whether they are a CPA or Non-CPA owner, the states of licensure, the status of any license previously and currently held, and including:
(i) If an individual, the name of the individual;
(ii) If a partnership, the name of each partner, and the name of the partnership;
(iii) If a corporation, the name and title of each corporate officer and director, the corporate names, the name of the corporation, the name of the parent company, if any, the names of all members/shareholders of the corporation and parent company; and
(iv) If a sole proprietorship, the full name of the sole proprietorship and the name of the business entity.
(b) The Board will consider the following factors in determining eligibility for firm licensure:
1. Non-CPA owners of the firm must be natural persons. "Non-CPA owner" shall refer to the natural persons owning interests in such general partnerships or limited liability partnerships or other legal entities.
2. The Non-CPA owners must participate in the business of the firm consisting of providing services to or on behalf of the firm or performing functions in the firm or a related entity of the firm, and the Non-CPA owners cannot be solely or predominately a passive investor in the firm.
3. All owners must be of good moral character (for purposes of this Rule,"good moral character" means fiscal integrity and a lack of any history of acts involving dishonesty or moral turpitude).
4. Individuals now holding licenses or certificates from this state or any other state shall not be designated as Non-CPA owners. Individuals with expired licenses will be counted as a Non-CPA for purposes of determining the percentage of financial interests and voting rights in the firm owned by CPAs.
5. Previous disciplinary action against an owner by this state including the denial of licensure for reasons other than failure to meet the age, education, examination or experience requirements for initial licensure, shall be considered as grounds for denial of a license.
6. Commission of a felony or crime of moral turpitude under Georgia law, federal law, or the laws of any other states or any other country of a felony as defined in paragraph (3) of subsection (a) of Code Section 43-3-21 by the owners.
7. Previous disciplinary action against the firm or its' owners by any Federal regulatory authority, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, this state or any other state regulatory authority, or local government authority of any license, practice privilege, or the right to practice before a state or federal agency of the firm or its owners.
8. Compliance with licensing requirements under previously granted licenses if any.
9. Any other factor or qualifications the Board considers relevant to and consistent with the public health and safety.

Rule 20-7-.03 Minimum Standards of Practice

A firm granted a license in Georgia must comply with the minimum standard of practice, including, but not limited to the following standards of practice:

(a) Non-CPA owners' names may be listed on firm stationery provided that if Non-CPA owners are designated as partners, shareholders, or members then all CPA owners must also be so designated.
(b) Non-CPA owners may not be listed in any advertisement under the heading.
(c) Membership in accounting organizations or their logos may not be used on CPA firm stationery, business cards, or advertising materials unless all eligible partners are members of the organization and have attained the certification or designation indicated by the logo.
(d) A Non-CPA owner may not be designated as the resident manager of a physical office of the firm.
(e) A Non-CPA owner may not be the chief executive officer of a firm located in or doing business in this state.
(f) An individual who owns a voting equity interest in a firm may not delegate by proxy or otherwise, the duty to exercise any voting rights to an individual that does not qualify as owner under the laws and rules of this state.
(g) A Non-CPA owner who becomes disqualified from ownership must dispose of his or her entire interest in the firm to a qualified owner within 60 days of the date of disqualification.
(h) Owners who are CPAs and whose office location is in this state and who perform accounting services in this state must hold a license from this state.
(i) Changes in any information from the application shall be submitted to the Board within 30 days of such change, including, but not limited to, changes in business organization, changes in ownership, changes in business location, and changes in resident manager.

Rule 20-7-.04 Repealed

Rule 20-7-.05 Repealed