CPA Mobility – Why the Big Fuss?
Hawaii Laws already allow out-of-state CPAs to practice in Hawaii through temporary permits to practice, without having to obtain a Hawaii CPA license.
Hawaii CPA mobility legislation has nothing to do with movement by Hawaii CPA licenses to other states. Since CPA licensing laws are enacted by each state and no two states’ laws are alike, practitioners should check the other state laws concerning not only individual CPA mobility but CPA firm mobility if they seek to practice in other states.
Why are the HSCPA and AICPA promoting “No Notice, No Fees, No Escape” mobility?
The business model for large international CPA firms has changed over years.
The proposed legislation promoted by the HSCPA is meant to meet the needs of large international CPA firms. Building on their large domestic regional offices and their overseas outsourcing offices, the international firms now want to foreign-insource into the United States. The combination of 1) interstate individual mobility, 2) licensing of foreign accountants as U.S. CPAs in certain other states, and 3) CPA firm mobility completes the framework to maximize profits with foreign staff working on U.S. soil, including Hawaii. Currently under Hawaii law, foreign accountants who reside overseas cannot obtain a Hawaii CPA license. If the licensing scheme sought by the international CPA firms is adopted in Hawaii, the casualty will be jobs for Hawaii’s residents and students.
Why No Notice?
Without notice, CPAs from other states or countries can come and go like ghosts, leaving no tax audit trail for the Hawaii Department of Taxation and without paying their fair share of Hawaii taxes.
From HAPA’s previous two year study of individual CPA temporary permit holders, over 70% of the out-of-state CPA firms, whose partners or employees obtained temporary permits to practice in Hawaii, did not obtain a Hawaii GET license or pay taxes as required by the State of Hawaii. Without any notice, the State of Hawaii will be unable to collect taxes from out-of-state practitioners and their firms, leaving Hawaii’s tax burden on the shoulders of resident CPAs.
HAPA’s position is that notice is required to ensure non-resident CPAs and their firms pay their fair share of Hawaii’s taxes for the privilege of doing business in Hawaii.
Why No Fees?
Again, without fees, there is no trail revealing non-resident CPAs and their firms worked in Hawaii. Furthermore, fees fund the governmental administration of CPA licensing and related consumer protection in the state. No fees for non-resident CPAs and their firms means resident CPAs and their firms will pay the entire bill for investigating and sanctioning non-resident CPAs and their firms who hurt Hawaii’s consumers. The combination of No Notice and No Fees will result in a “catch me if you can” tax haven for non-resident CPA practitioners working in Hawaii.
Why No Escape?
In January 2010, HAPA submitted a written complaint with the Board of Public Accountancy regarding nonpayment of Hawaii taxes by out-of-state CPA firms. The complaint identified the out-of-state CPAs, their firms, and their clients. More than the 5 years after the filing of the complaint the matter remains stalled in RICO. Despite the numerous follow-up inquiries by State Representative Isaac W. Choy, there has been no enforcement action or sanctions by the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy for these numerous violations of ethical standards governing the practice of public accounting in Hawaii.
It is simple common sense that No Notice + No Fees = No Enforcement