Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

North Carolina CPA Certificate / License Defense Lawyer

North State Law helps North Carolina Certified Public Accountants and CPA Firms when facing certification issues, revocation, suspension, or disciplinary action from the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners.

North Carolina General Statute Chapter 93-12 is the legislative document that gives the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners authority over CPAs and CPA Firms. This power allows The Board to regulate all certification and disciplinary action handed down to North Carolina CPAs.

Those who make up the seven-person Board are appointed by the Governor of North Carolina, with five of them required to hold an unrevoked North Carolina CPA Certification. The other two board members are uncertified individuals who represent the public.

If you are a North Carolina CPA or CPA Firm and have received a complaint or have reason to believe you will be hearing from the NC State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners soon, you may need the help of an experienced lawyer to guide you.

Nick Dowgul and his Firm, North State Law, focus on defending North Carolina professionals when dealing with licensing or certification issues such as suspension or revocation.

Dowgul, a North Carolina licensed professional, understands that having a license or certification in good standing means you can get about your business and provide for your family. A license in jeopardy poses all types of doubt about the future.

Dowgul has years of experience building the defense, arguing cases, and protecting the livelihood of North Carolina professionals in front of various professional boards.

If you are a North Carolina CPA or CPA Firm and facing certification issues, Dowgul and North State Law are ready to put their resources to work for you.

I am a North Carolina CPA, and I have a criminal or civil legal matter that is going on. Do I have the let the NC State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners know about this?

This is a common question North State Law receives for not only CPAs, but pretty much every type of professional license we defend. Concerning CPAs specifically, Professional Ethics and Conduct (21 NCAC 08N .0208) clarifies when an individual should contact the board:

(a) Criminal Actions. A CPA shall notify the board within 30 days of any conviction or finding of guilt of, pleading of nolo contendere, or receiving a prayer for judgment continued to any criminal offense.

(b) Civil Actions. A CPA shall notify the board within 30 days of any judgment or settlement in a civil suit, bankruptcy action, administrative proceeding, or binding arbitration that:

(1) is grounded upon an allegation of professional negligence, gross negligence, dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, incompetence, or violation of any federal or state tax law and

(2) was brought against either the CPA or a North Carolina office of a CPA firm of which the CPA was a managing owner.

(c) Settlements. A CPA shall notify the board within 30 days of any written settlement in which a client or former client releases the CPA from liability that is grounded upon an allegation of professional negligence; gross negligence; dishonesty; fraud; misrepresentation; incompetence; or violation of any federal, state, or local law, regardless of whether the client or former client has filed a civil suit or criminal charge.

(d) Investigations. A CPA shall notify the board within 30 days of any inquiry or investigation by the criminal investigation divisions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or any state department of revenue pertaining to any personal or business tax matters.

(e) Liens. A CPA shall notify the board within 30 days of the filing of any liens by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or any state department of revenue regarding the failure to pay or apparent failure to pay for any amounts due for any tax matters.

What happens when a complaint is filed with the NC State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners?

In North Carolina, anyone can file a complaint with the NC State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners.

When the board receives this complaint, the following actions will take place:

  • A case file will be opened by the board
  • the person making the complaint will be notified of the receipt
  • the named CPA will receive notification and a copy of the complaint
  • an investigation of the allegations will begin

After investigation, the Professional Standards Committee, which the President of the Board appoints, may do one of the following:

  • close the case without prejudice
  • close the case with prejudice
  • prepare a Consent Order
  • apply to the courts for injunctive relief
  • prepare a proposed Hearing Notice

How will a lawyer help me if I'm a North Carolina CPA facing licensing issues with the NC State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners?

As mentioned in the answer above, a complaint will trigger an investigation into the allegations. These investigations involve time-sensitive matters that require the CPA or CPA Firm to explain themselves through writing and possible documentation.

A North Carolina CPA who is not well-versed in North Carolina Administrative Law runs the risk of making mistakes in explaining themselves without the guidance of experienced counsel.

An experienced North Carolina professional license attorney can help you build a defense against the allegations. They can help you explain your actions thoroughly.

Similar to how a licensed CPA can help make sense of financials and tax codes and put their clients on the right track, an experienced lawyer in this situation can do the same with Administrative Law and help build a defense to help keep your CPA certification in good standing.

At what point of the process should I speak to a lawyer about helping defend my North Carolina CPA Certificate?

The earlier, the better, and here’s why:

Most North Carolina CPAs have no experience or training in North Carolina Administrative Law.

If they receive a complaint and attempt to defend themselves, they risk making mistakes in the early stages that will haunt their certification defense as it moves forward.

Even if they hire someone for representation at a later stage of the process, the attorney may not be able to overcome something that happened before their involvement.

CPAs can seek to obtain counsel at any point in the process. The hiring of a lawyer is always 100% their decision. However, individuals generally give themselves a better shot at an acceptable outcome when they obtain counsel at the beginning of the process and not at the middle or the end.

What are some common reasons for license suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action taken by the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners?

Many situations may lead to disciplinary action by the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners. Following are some of the more common conditions we see within our practice:

  • Gross Negligence (Fraud or Dishonesty While Performing Services)
  • Failure to File Tax Returns
  • Filing a Fraudulent Tax Return
  • Fraudulent Fee Obtainment
  • Fraudulent obtainment of a CPA certificate
  • Felony Conviction under United States Law or Any State of the United States
  • Conviction of any crime in which the core element is dishonesty, deceit, or fraud

What are some common reasons for license suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action taken by the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners?

This type of situation can be very stressful.

At North State Law Firm, we have spoken with many people who have found themself at this point.

They have reason to believe that they’ll be hearing from the licensing or certification board soon, and the waiting game and the power of the unknown wrecks havoc on them.

If you’re in this type of situation, we strongly suggest contacting someone who has experience handling professional licensing or certification issues in North Carolina.

Contacting an experienced lawyer allows you to get everything off your chest about the situation and will enable you to get many of your questions answered. Those small details keeping you up at night can at least in part be satisfied by simple communication.

Will contacting a lawyer in the situation make the possible complaint go away? Absolutely not.

However, it will set you up with knowledge about how to prepare if the complaint does arrive. In legal settings, preparation is critical. Building a defense to defend a CPA certificate’s good standing is best started in its earliest stages.

While hiring a lawyer is always 100% the individual’s decision, calling and speaking with someone with experience is usually a smart move to make.

Contact North State Law Today

If you’re a North Carolina CPA or North Carolina CPA firm facing misconduct allegations due to a complaint submitted to the North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners, contact Nick Dowgul of North State Law to discuss your specific situation.

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1101 Oberlin Road #104
Raleigh, NC 27605

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