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DLLR's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

 

CPA FIRM Permit Instructions - Maryland Board of Public Accountancy

 

PLEASE REFER TO TITLE 2 OF THE BUSINESS OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS ARTICLE OF THE MARYLAND ANNOTATED CODE AS WELL AS COMAR 09.24.01 FOR THE MARYLAND PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY LAW AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING FIRM PERMITS.

General permit requirements
Public representations that require a permit; prohibitedrepresentations
Sole Practitioner Requirement for a Firm Permit

Basic Requirements for CPA Firms

Corporations

    Requirements for Maryland corporations
    Requirements for non-Maryland corporations

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

    Requirements for Maryland Limited Liability Corporations
    Requirements for non-Maryland Limited Liability Corporations

Limited Liability Partnerships/Partnerships

    Requirements for Maryland Limited Liability Partnerships/Partnerships
    Requirements for non-Maryland Limited Liability Partnerships/Partnerships

General permit requirements

A firm must have an active permit issued by the Board if:

  1. The firm has an office that is located in the State of Maryland that performs the following attest services:
      1. n audit or other engagement performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards issued by AICPA;
      2. of a financial statement performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by AICPA;
      3. a compilation;
      4. an examination of prospective financial information performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements issued by AICPA; and
      5. any engagement performed in accordance with the Auditing Standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
  2. The firm has an office that is located in the State of Maryland that uses the title "CPA or "CPA firm."
  3. The firm provides for a client with a home office located in the State of Maryland any of the following services:
      1. an audit or other engagement performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards issued by AICPA;
      2. an examination of prospective financial information performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements issued by AICPA; and
      3. any engagement performed in accordance with the Auditing Standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

A firm is not required to have an active permit issued by the Board if:

  1. the firm does not have an office located in the State of Maryland;
  2. the firm performs for a client with a home office in the State of Maryland:
      1. a review of a financial statement performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by AICPA; or
      2. a compilation;
  3. the firm meets Maryland's application and peer review requirements; and
  4. the firm performs the services through an individual with a practice privilege in Maryland.

Public representations that require a permit; prohibited representations.

Generally, a firm that does not have a permit issued by the Board cannot represent to the public that it provides CPA services by: use of a title, including "licensed certified public accountants", "certified public accountants", "public accountants", or "auditors", by use of the abbreviation "CPA", by description of services, methods, or procedures, or otherwise, that the firm holds a permit or otherwise is authorized to operate a business through which certified public accountancy is practiced in the State.

However, a firm that does not have a permit issued by the Board may perform other professional services in the State of Maryland, while using the title "CPA" or "CPA firm" if the firm:

  1. performs the services through an individual with a practice privilege; and
  2. performs those services in the state where the individual with a practice privilege retains a principal place of business.

A firm may not use in its name terms such as "Group", "and Company", "and Associates", or similar terms which imply the presence in the firm of more licensees than those identified by name in the firm name unless the number of licensees associated with the firm, whether as partners, shareholders, members, directors, or full-time employees, exceeds the number of licensees named in the firm name.

Sole Practitioner Requirement for a Firm Permit

A licensed certified public accountant who operates a business as a sole practitioner does not need to obtain a firm permit unless the certified public accountant performs any of the following services for a client with headquarters in Maryland:

  1. an audit or other engagement performed in accordance with the Statements on Auditing Standards issued by AICPA;
  2. an examination of prospective financial information performed in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements issued by AICPA; and
  3. any engagement performed in accordance with the Auditing Standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Basic application requirements for CPA firms

Corporations:

  • Each corporation must be organized such that a simple majority of the ownership of the corporation, in terms of financial interests and voting rights, is held by individuals licensed to practice certified public accountancy in Maryland or another state. All non-CPA owners must be active participants in the corporation.
     
  • Each corporation must meet the applicable requirements of the Maryland Professional Service Corporation Act or of a comparable law in another State.
     
  • Each corporate applicant must submit the current Articles of Incorporation on file with an agency of another state with similar jurisdiction as the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
     
  • An individual who is not licensed as a CPA in Maryland or another state may have an ownership interest in the corporation if the individual is an active participant in the partnership or its affiliated entities. In this circumstance, the partnership must designate a licensee of Maryland or another State as the responsible licensee to the Board for the corporation.
     
  • Firms located in another state must indicate the name of a resident agent in the application. A resident for the purpose of the application is a business or individual who is located in Maryland and is designated to receive service of process (SOP) from the Board of Accountancy on behalf of the firm.

Support documents for the application to be sent to the Board - Corporations with Maryland locations.
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. A Certificate of Good Standing from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation (410-767-3140).
  2. The current Articles of Incorporation on file with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
  3. The shareholders list list of all the shareholders or other individuals with ownership or voting right interest in the corporation. Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute.
  4. Document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name of the firm Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) making the application.
  5. Firms located in another state must indicate the name of a resident agent in the application. A resident for the purpose of the application is a business or individual who is located in Maryland and is designated to receive service of process (SOP) from the Board of Accountancy on behalf of the firm.

Support documents for the application to be sent to the Board - Corporations with locations in other states
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. A Certificate of Good Standing from an agency of another state with similar jurisdiction as the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that licenses or registers corporations.
  2. A copy of the Articles of Incorporation on file with the other state's licensing authority.
  3. A shareholders list of all individuals with ownership interest or voting rights interest in the corporation. Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute.
  4. Document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name of the firm Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) making the application.
  5. A verification of active licensure for the firm from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the firm's headquarters is located. The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  6. A verification of active licensure for the responsible licensee for the firm that is indicated in the license application from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the individual is licensed. (The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm's responsible licensee on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  7. Firms located in another state must indicate the name of a resident agent in the application. A resident for the purpose of the application is a business or individual who is located in Maryland and is designated to receive service of process (SOP) from the Board of Accountancy on behalf of the firm. To find a resident agent, go to an internet search engine and type the word "resident agent Maryland".

Limited Liability Company (LLC):

  • Each Limited Liability Company (LLC) must be organized so that a simple majority of the partners, officers, shareholders, members or managers hold an active license in Maryland or another state and are active participants in the LLC or affiliated entities.
     
  • Each Limited Liability Company must have a permanent office in the State in which an individual is licensed to practice certified public accountancy.
     
  • An individual who is not licensed as a CPA in Maryland or another state may have an ownership interest in the Limited Liability Company if the individual is an active participant in the partnership or its affiliated entities. In this circumstance, the partnership must designate a licensee of Maryland or another State as the responsible licensee to the Board for the Limited Liability Company.

Application support documents for the application to be sent to the Board - Limited Liability Corporations with Maryland locations:
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. A Certificate of Good Standing from the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that licenses or registers corporations.
  2. A copy of the Articles of Organization on file with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
  3. The shareholders list of all individuals with ownership interest or voting rights interest in the corporation. Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute.
  4. Document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name of the firm Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) making the application.

Application Support documents to be sent to the Board - Limited Liability Corporations with locations in other states.
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. A Certificate of Good Standing from an agency of another state with similar jurisdiction as the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that licenses or registers corporations;
  2. A copy of the Articles of Organization on file with the other state' licensing authority;
  3. The shareholders list of all individuals with ownership interest or voting rights interest in the corporation. Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute.
  4. Document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name of the firm Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) making the application;
  5. A verification of active licensure for the firm from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the firm's headquarters is located. The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  6. A verification of active licensure for the responsible licensee for the firm that is indicated in the license application from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the individual is licensed. (The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm's responsible licensee on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  7. Firms located in another state must indicate the name of a resident agent in the application. A resident for the purpose of the application is a business or individual who is located in Maryland and is designated to receive service of process (SOP) from the Board of Accountancy on behalf of the firm. To find a resident agent, go to an internet search engine and type the word "resident agent Maryland".

Partnership/Limited Liability Partnership (LLP):

  • Each Partnership/Limited Liability Partnership must be organized so that a simple majority of the partners, officers, shareholders, members or managers hold an active license in Maryland or another state and are active participants in the LLC or affiliated entities.
     
  • Each Partnership/Limited Liability Partnership must have a permanent office in the State in which an individual is licensed to practice certified public accountancy.
     
  • A non CPA partner who is not licensed as a CPA in Maryland or another state may have an ownership interest in the partnership if the individual is an active participant in the partnership or its affiliated entities. In this circumstance, the partnership must designate a licensee of Maryland or another State as the responsible licensee to the Board for the partnership.

Application support documents for the application to be sent to the Board - Partnerships/Limited Liability Partnerships with Maryland locations.
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. Each Partnerships/Limited Liability Partnership must submit the current Articles of Organization.
  2. The shareholders list of all individuals with ownership interest or voting rights interest in the Limited Liability Company (LLC). Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute.
  3. Submit a document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of the Limited Liability Company (LLC) making the application.

Application support documents for the application to be sent to the Board - Partnerships/Limited Liability Partnerships with locations in other states.
(Email the following documents to: linda.rhew@maryland.gov)

  1. A Certificate of Good Standing from an agency of another state with similar jurisdiction as the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation that licenses or registers corporations;
  2. A copy of the Articles of Organization on file with the other state' licensing authority;
  3. The shareholders list of all individuals with ownership interest or voting rights interest in the corporation. Use the form on the link. Do not alter or substitute;
  4. Document (SS4) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) containing the name of the firm Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) making the application;
  5. A verification of active licensure for the firm from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the firm's headquarters is located. The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  6. A verification of active licensure for the responsible licensee for the firm that is indicated in the license application from the state board of accountancy in the state in which the individual is licensed. (The Maryland Board will look up the status of the firm's responsible licensee on NASBA's Accountancy License Database (ALD) and licensing databases of other state board of accountancy to confirm the status).
  7. Firms located in another state must indicate the name of a resident agent in the application. A resident for the purpose of the application is a business or individual who is located in Maryland and is designated to receive service of process (SOP) from the Board of Accountancy on behalf of the firm. To find a resident agent, go to an internet search engine and type the word "resident agent Maryland".

Shareholders List

 
CLICK HERE TO BEGIN APPLICATION