Investigation and Enforcement
CPA Investigation Information
Does the CPA get a chance to respond to a complaint?
When we receive a complaint we:
- Review the complaint and determine if an investigation will be opened.
- If an investigation is opened the complainant and CPA are notified in writing.
- The CPA has 20 days to respond in writing. (WAC 4-30-034)
- If an investigation is not opened the complainant and CPA are notified in writing.
If disciplinary action is deemed necessary, we will propose disciplinary action in writing by way of an administrative sanction, a respondent contract, a stipulated agreement and order of assurance, or a stipulated and agreed order. You can:
- Accept the agreement.
- Make a counter proposal.
- Reject the agreement.
If you reject the proposal, the executive director will issue a statement of charges. The case then goes to an administrative hearing before the full Board. After the hearing, the Board issues an order with their finding(s) and disciplinary actions (if any). You can appeal the order to the Superior Court within 30 days.
A CPA, CPA firm, CPA-Inactive certificate holder, or non-licensee CPA firm owners must self-report the following events to the Board within 30 days of the event occurring (WAC 4-30-036):
- Sanction, order, suspension, revocation, or modification of a license, certificate, permit or practice rights by the SEC, PCAOB, IRS or any other state board of accountancy for any cause other than failure to pay a license fee by the due date or failure to meet CPE requirements of another state;
- Charges filed by the SEC, IRS, PCAOB, another state board of accountancy, or a federal or state taxing, insurance or securities regulatory body that the licensee, CPA-Inactive certificate holder, or non-licensee firm owner committed a prohibited act that would be a violation of board ethical or technical standards;
- Sole practitioners are to report action taken against the sole practitioner, the sole practitioner's individual CPA license, the CPA firm, or the CPA firm license;
- Licensed CPA firms are not required to report on action taken against owners, principals, partners, or employees; and
- If you hold a license or CPA-Inactive certificate issued through the foreign reciprocity provisions of the act, you must notify the board of any investigations undertaken, or sanctions imposed, by a foreign credentialing body against your foreign credential within thirty days of your receiving notice that an investigation has begun or a sanction was imposed.
Reportable Event Form (Fillable PDF)