California Board of Accountancy Implements AB 1521- New Licensing Fees, Email Requirements, and UPDATE Newsletter Availability

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By Thomas Burke

AB 1521 (Low) (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2019), now effective as of January 1, 2020, imposes a series of reforms on the California Board of Accountancy’s (CBA) licensees and applicants for licensure. The Board’s website alerts applicants, licensees, and others about its efforts to implement the changes.

Most significantly, the bill authorizes the Board to raise its licensure fees from $120 to $250 after the Board informed the legislature during its sunset review process that existing fees were generating a negative cash flow stemming from increased operating budgets, and resulting in inadequate reserves. CBA’s website announces that the new fee structure became effective January 1, 2020, and also advises licensees that the Board may seek additional fee increases in the coming year to address the cash flow issue and build up its reserves. At this writing, the Board has not yet initiated the formal rulemaking process to amend its regulations, specifically section 70, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations, to reflect an additional fee increase.

Also new in January, CBA now requires applicants and licensees to provide email addresses to the Board to facilitate quicker communication with licensees. The Office of Administrative Law approved the Board’s proposed amendments to its regulations to reflect this change on applications for licensure and renewals on January 23, 2020. The Board issued notices for email addresses in January, with a return request of February 28, 2020.

Finally, CBA converted its “UPDATE” newsletter to an electronic format, posted on its website and distributed via email, in order to reduce costs associated with the print and mailing of communications. During sunset review, the Board advised the legislature that it spent approximately $280,000 in the fiscal year 2017–18 on the printing, mailing, and postage costs for the UPDATE newsletter.

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