61H1-36.004. Disciplinary Guidelines; Range of Penalties; Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances  


Effective on Thursday, October 24, 2019
  • 1(1)(a) The board sets forth below a range of disciplinary guidelines from which disciplinary penalties will be imposed upon practitioners guilty of violating chapter 473, F.S. The purpose of the disciplinary guidelines is to give notice to licensees of the range of penalties which will normally be imposed upon violations of particular provisions of chapter 473, F.S. The disciplinary guidelines are based upon a single count violation of each provision listed. The brief description of each violation is provided for quick reference and is not meant to convey all elements of any given statutory provsion; the full language of each statutory provision cited must be consulted in order to determine the conduct involved. All penalties at the upper range of the sanctions set forth in the guidelines, i.e., suspension, revocation, etc., include lesser penalties, i.e., fine, probation or reprimand which may be included in the final penalty at the board’s discretion.

    152(b) Standard probationary terms will include, as applicable, a review of the licensee’s practice, including analysis of selected financial statements (including working papers), restriction of the scope of the licensee’s practice and review of internal controls put in place by the licensee in order to eliminate the violation. All of the above will usually include the use of a CPA consultant employed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation or approved by the Board and will usually require the licensee to assume the cost of the consultant’s activities. Additional continuing education may also be required of a licensee where deficiencies in a particular practice area are noted. In all cases of probation or suspension a report showing compliance with the terms of the final order must be received and accepted by the Board prior to the termination of the probation or suspension. Other specific terms of probation or suspension may be imposed, as necessary, by the Board.

    310(2) The following disciplinary guidelines shall be followed by the board in imposing disciplinary penalties upon licensees for violation of the below mentioned statutes and rules:

    336VIOLATION

    337PENALTY RANGE

     

    339MINIMUM

    340MAXIMUM

    341(a) Attempting to procure license by bribery

    348or fraudulent misrepresentation

    351(Sections 352455.227(1)(h), 353473.323(1)(b), F.S.355)

    356Revocation and $5,000 fine if licensed (denial of license and refer to State Attorney if not licensed)

     

    374(b) CPA License disciplined by another jurisdiction

    381(Sections 382455.227(1)(f), 383473.323(1)(c), F.S.385)

    386Same penalty as imposed in other jurisdiction or imposition of same range of penalties as those set forth in those rules for the same type of violation

     

    413(c) Criminal conviction relating to accountancy

    419(Sections 420455.227(1)(c), 421473.323(1)(d), F.S.423)

    424Misdemeanor:

    425Reprimand

    426Felony: One (1) year suspension;

    431two (2) year probation $5,000 fine

    438Reprimand and $5,000 fine and two (2) year probation

    448one (1) year suspension

    452Revocation and $5,000 fine

    457(d) Knowingly making or filing false report

    464(Sections 465455.227(1)(g), 466(1)(l), 467473.323(1)(e), F.S.469)

    470Reprimand

    471one (1) year probation

    475Revocation and $5,000 fine

    480Reprimand, one (1) year

    484probation and $5,000 fine

    489(e) Fraudulent, false, deceptive or misleading advertising

    496(section 497473.323(1)(f), F.S.499)

    500(rule 50161H1-24.001, 502F.A.C.)

    503$250 fine

    505$1,000 fine

    508(f) Incompetence (mental or physical impairment)

    514(section 515473.323(1)(g), F.S.517)

    518Suspension until ability to practice proved, followed by probation

     

    527(g) Fraud, deceit or misleading

    532(sections 533455.227(1)(a), 534(m), 535473.323(1)(g), 536(k), F.S.)

    538Reprimand, one (1) year suspension;

    543two (2) years probation and $5,000 fine

    551$5,000 fine and revocation

    556(h) Negligence or misconduct

    560(section 561473.323(1)(g), F.S.563)

    564$250 fine

    566Reprimand and one (1) year probation (continuing Education and review of practice at licensee’s expense and limited area of practice) and $5,000 fine

    5901.Technical standards and professional competence (sections 596455.227(1)(o), 597473.315, F.S.599)

    600(rule 60161H1-21.006 602and chapter 61H1-22, F.A.C.)

    606Reprimand, probation, and $500 fine

    611Suspension and $5,000 fine

    6162. Lack of independence

    620(sections 621473.315, 622473.3205, F.S.624)

    625(rule 62661H1-21.001, 627F.A.C.)

    628Reprimand, one (1) year probation with review of practice and continuing education

    640Revocation and $5,000 fine

    6453. Commissions and contingent fees

    650(rules 65161H1-21.003, 65261H1-21.005, 653F.A.C.)

    654Reprimand

    655One (1) year suspension, two (2) years probation and $2,500 fine

    6674. Client records disposition

    671(rule 67261H1-23.002, 673F.A.C.)

    674$250 fine

    676Suspension until records are returned and $1,000 fine

    685(i) Practicing on suspended or revoked license

    692(section 693473.323(1)(i), F.S.695)

    696Revoke if previously suspended; refer to State Attorney if previously revoked

     

    707(j) Practicing on inactive or delinquent license (sections 715455.271, 716473.323(1)(i), F.S.718)

    719Reprimand and fine based on length of time in practice while inactive; $100/month or $5,000 maximum (penalty will require licensure or cease practice)

     

    743(k) Licensees practicing in an unlicensed firm (including sole proprietors) or otherwise in violation of

    758(sections 759473.309, 760473.3101, 761and 762473.323(1)(g), F.S.764)

    765(rule 76661H1-26.001, 767F.A.C.)

    768Reprimand and $100 per maximum of $5,000 and suspension of right to practice until corrected

     

    784(l) Suspension or revocation of right to practice in front of any state or federal agency, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

    807(sections 808455.227(1)(f), 809473.323(1)(j), F.S.811)

    812Same penalty as imposed by agency or imposition of same range of penalties as those set forth in those rules for the same type of violation

     

    838(m) Lack of Good Moral Character

    844(section 845473.323(1)(l), F.S.847)

    848Reprimand; and one year probation

    853Revocation

    854(n) Failure to pay fines or administrative cost imposed by final order or citations set for in rule 87261H1-36.005, 873F.A.C.

    874$100 per month late fee for every month the licensee is late to a maximum of $5,000

    892Revocation

    893(o) Violation of CE requirements

    898(section 899473.323(1)(a) 900by 901473.312 902or 903473.323(1)(h), 904455.227(1)(q), F.S., 906by rule 90861H1-33.003 909and/or 91061H1-33.0035, 911F.A.C.)

    912Reprimand, probation, make up missed CEs and penalty CEs

    921Suspension and $1,000 fine

    926(p) Violation of client Confidentiality

    931(section 932455.227(1)(q), F.S., 934by rule 93661H1-23.001, 937F.A.C.)

    938Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    944Revocation and $5,000 fine

    949(q) Misleading or deceptive name

    954(section 955473.321, F.S.957)

    958Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    964Suspension and $1,000 fine

    969(r) Violation of Section 973473.323(1)(a) 974by section 976473.322, F.S.978:

     

     

    9791. Present license of another as one’s own

    987(section 988473.322(1)(d), F.S.990)

    991Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    997Revocation and $5,000 fine

    10022. Give false or forged evidence to Board or member thereof

    1013(section 1014473.322(1)(e), F.S.1016)

    1017Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1023Revocation and $5,000 fine

    10283. Use or attempt to use license that has been suspended, revoked, or placed on inactive or delinquent status

    1047(section 1048473.322(1)(f), F.S.1050)

    1051Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1057Revocation and $5,000 fine

    10624. Employ unlicensed persons to practice public accounting; aiding or assisting unlicensed practice public accounting

    1077(section 1078473.322(1)(g), F.S.1080)

    1081Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1087Suspension and $5,000 fine

    10925. Conceal information relative to violations of chapter 473, F.S.

    1102(aection 1103473.322(1)(h), F.S.1105)

    1106Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1112Revocation and $5,000 fine

    1117(s) Failure to provide legally-required written disclosure to client or public

    1128(violation of section 1131473.323(1)(m), F.S.

    1133Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1139Suspension and $5,000 fine

    1144(t) Violation of section 1148473.323(1)(a), F.S., 1150by section 1152455.227(1), F.S.1154:

     

     

    11551. Improper influence on client

    1160(section 1161455.227(1)(n), F.S.1163)

    1164Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1170Revocation and $5,000 fine

    11752. Improper delegation of professional responsibilities

    1181(section 1182455.227(1)(p), F.S.1184)

    1185Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1191Suspension and $5,000 fine

    11963. Improper interference with investigation or disciplinary proceeding

    1204(section 1205455.227(1)(r), F.S.1207)

    1208Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1214Revocation and $5,000 fine

    12194. Failure to perform statutory/legal obligations (section 1226455.227(1)(k), F.S.1228)

    1229Reprimand, probation and $1,000 fine

    1235Suspension and $1,000 fine

    1240(u) Failure to maintain current address

    1246(violation of sections 1249455.275, 1250455.227(1)(q), 1251and 1252473.323(1)(h), F.S., 1254by violating rule 125761H1-26.005, 1258F.A.C.)

    1259Reprimand and $500 fine

    1263Suspension and $1,000 fine

    1268(v) Violation of sections 1272473.323(1)(h) 1273and 1274455.227(1)(q), F.S., 1276by rule 127861H1-25.001, 1279F.A.C. Same as subparagraph (t)2.

    1284Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1290Suspension and $5,000 fine

    1295(w) Minimum capital (violation of and sections 1302455.227(1)(q) 1303and 1304473.323(1)(h), F.S., 1306by rule 130861H1-26.002, 1309F.A.C.)

    1310Reprimand, probation, $1,000 fine and corrective action. Must document required capital

    1322Suspension and $1,000 fine

    1327(x) Licensure of firm names and changes (violation of sections 1337455.227(1)(q) 1338and 1339473.323(1)(h), F.S., 1341by rules 134361H1-26.003 1344and 134561H1-26.004, 1346F.A.C.)

    1347Reprimand, probation, $100/ month fine and corrective action. Must document licensure

    1358Suspension and $1,000 fine

    1363(y) Failure to report discipline violation

    1369(section 1370455.227(1)(i), F.S.1372)

    1373Reprimand, probation, and $1,000 fine

    1379Suspension and $5,000 fine

    1384(z) Failure to timely report being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction (more than 30 days late)

    1418(section 1419455.227(1)(t), F.S.1421)

    1422Reprimand

    1423Suspension and $5,000 fine

    1428(aa) Failure to obtain continuing professional education hours

    1436(section 1437473.312, F.S., 1439rule 144061H1-33.003, 1441F.A.C.)

     

     

    1442First Offense

     

     

    1444NUMBER OF HOURS LACKING

     

     

    14481 to 16 hours

    1452$500 fine, makeup missing hours plus 20 additional penalty hours, in same category as those missed, if missing hours are ethics, penalty hours would consist of accounting/auditing, within 90 days of final order, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1495$1,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus 20 additional penalty hours, in same category as those missed, if missing hours are ethics, penalty hours would consist of accounting/auditing, within 90 days of final order, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    153917 to 80 hours

    1543$1,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus additional penalty hours equal to the number of those missed, within same category as those missed, suspension until all hours are completed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1582Suspension, $2,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus additional penalty hours equal to the number of those missed, within same category as those missed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1616Second Offense

     

     

    1618NUMBER OF HOURS LACKING

     

     

    16221 to 16 hours

    1626$1,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus 20 additional penalty hours, in same category as those missed, if missing hours are ethics, penalty hours would consist of accounting/auditing, suspension until all hours are completed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1670$2,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus 20 additional penalty hours, in same category as those missed, if missing hours are ethics, penalty hours would consist of accounting/auditing, suspension until all hours are completed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    171417 to 80 hours

    1718$2,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus additional penalty hours equal to the number of those missed, within same category as those missed, suspension until all hours are completed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1757Suspension, $5,000 fine, makeup missing hours plus additional penalty hours equal to the number of those missed, within same category as those missed, must submit proof of compliance for next two renewal periods

    1791(bb) Failure to enroll in peer review program when required

    1801(sections 1802473.323(1)(a) 1803and 1804473.3125(4), F.S.1806)

    1807Suspension until enrollment and a reprimand

    1813Revocation and $5,000 fine

    1818(cc) Utilizing CPA designation without an active license

    1826(section 1827473.323(1)(a), F.S., 1829through a violation of section 1834473.322(1)(b), F.S.1836)

    1837Reprimand, completion of four penalty hours of Board-approved ethics continuing professional education hours

    1850Suspension and $500 fine

    1854(dd) Performing work described in sections 1860473.302(8)(a), 1861(d), F.S., (e.g. – audits, reviews, compliations, or attestation engagements) without an active individual and/or firm license

    1878(section 1879473.323(1)(a), F.S., 1881through a violation of section 1886473.322(1)(c), F.S.1888)

    1889Reprimand, $500 fine, completion of four penalty hours of Board-approved ethics and eight penalty hours of Accounting and Auditing continuing professional education hours

    1912Suspension and $1,000 fine, completion of eight penalty hours of Accounting and Auditing continuing professional education hours

    1930(3) The Board shall be entitled to deviate from the above-mentioned guidelines upon a showing of aggravating or mitigating circumstances by clear and convincing evidence presented to the Board prior to the imposition of a final penalty.

    1967(a) Aggravating circumstances; circumstances which may justify deviating from the above set forth disciplinary guidelines and cause the enhancement of a penalty beyond the maximum level of discipline in the guidelines shall include but not be limited to the following:

    20071. History of previous violations of the practice act and the rules promulgated thereto.

    20212. In the case of negligence; of the magnitude and scope of the engagement and the damage inflicted upon the general public by the licensee’s misfeasance.

    20473. Evidence of violation of professional practice acts in other jurisdictions wherein the licensee has been disciplined by the appropriate regulatory authority.

    20694. Violation of the provision of the practice act wherein a letter of guidance as provided in section 2087455.225(3), F.S., 2089has previously been issued to the licensee.

    20965. Multiple convictions of violations of the same provision of chapter 473, F.S., or the rules promulgated thereto contained in the same administrative complaint.

    2120(b) Mitigating circumstances; circumstances which may justify deviating from the above set forth disciplinary guidelines and cause the lessening of a penalty beyond the minimum level of discipline in the guidelines shall include but not be limited to the following:

    21601. In cases of negligence, the minor nature of the engagement in question and lack of danger to the public health, safety and welfare resulting from the licensee’s misfeasance.

    21892. Lack of previous disciplinary history in this or any other jurisdiction wherein the licensee practices his profession.

    22073. Restitution of any damages suffered by the licensee’s client.

    22174. The licensee’s professional standing among his peers including continuing education.

    22285. Steps taken by the licensee or his firm to insure the non-occurrence of similar violations in the future.

    22476. The degree of financial hardship incurred by a licensee as a result of the imposition of fines or the suspension of his practice.

    22717. Cooperation with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Board including understanding and admission of the violation by the Respondent.

    2294Rulemaking Authority 2296455.2273, 2297473.304 FS. 2299Law Implemented 455.277, 2302455.2273, 2303473.323 FS. 2305History–New 1-7-87, Amended 9-16-87, 8-25-88, 6-18-91, 12-30-91, Formerly 21A-36.004, Amended 12-7-93, 5-23-94, 8-16-99, 1-31-05, 7-28-10, 5-6-15, 9-30-15, 2-6-17, 1-31-18, 6-18-18, 10-24-19.