Fingerprint Background Check
June 28, 2019
A new law requiring all renewing CPA licensees and non-CPA firm owners to complete a state and national fingerprint-based background check, effective Sept. 1, 2019, has been enacted by the Texas Legislature. This requirement will apply to all licensed professionals in the state of Texas, not just CPAs.
This requirement was not suggested by TXCPA or the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA). It was initiated by the Texas Sunset Commission in its’ staff report on the TSBPA released in August 2018. The report stated that “the board’s statute and procedures do not conform to common regulatory standards” observed through Sunset reviews of many regulatory agencies, and that “the board lacks authority to require fingerprint background checks of most of its already licensed CPAs.” Therefore, Sunset staff recommended that TSBPA “conduct fingerprint-based criminal background checks of all licensure applicants and licensees, phased in over a two-year period.”
This modification was adopted by the Sunset Commission during the final hearing in November 2018. During this hearing, TXCPA recommended that the requirement not be imposed on licensed CPAs in “retired status” or those with a disability exemption. The Commission modified the recommendation to exempt CPAs in retired status or with a disability exemption but would require them to undergo the background check before they could be reinstated to “Active Status.”
When HB 1520 becomes effective on Sept. 1, 2019, all eligible licensees and non-CPA firm owners will be required to submit their fingerprint background check by their individual license renewal deadline or firm license renewal deadline. If you submitted electronic fingerprints to the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy after Sept. 1, 2014, no additional fingerprints are required. If you submitted fingerprints before Sept. 1, 2014, those files are no longer on record. The TSBPA is currently working with the FBI to finalize the details needed to adhere to this requirement.
We will continue to watch for and share additional information with members through our TXCPA communications.