New Mexico CPA License Defense

If the New Mexico State Board of Accountancy (NMSBA) has alerted you that your CPA license is under investigation due to negligence, misconduct, or criminal actions, you should approach this warning with the utmost seriousness. Even though many investigations are baseless and can be traced back to mere mistakes or misunderstandings, every investigation has the possibility of resulting in disciplinary proceedings. Aside from leading disciplinary investigations, the NMSBA has the authority to suspend or revoke your CPA license, posing a direct threat to your career, reputation, and financial well-being.

Our Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm boasts unmatched experience representing accountants nationwide, especially all across the state of New Mexico.

Make the strategic choice to safeguard your New Mexico CPA license today by calling 888-535-3686 or utilizing our online contact form.

Obtaining a New Mexico CPA License

Earning a CPA license in New Mexico is a substantial challenge, and candidates must sacrifice time, money, and energy to meet the state's many professional requirements. After earning a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 30 semester hours in Accounting, applicants must continue to pass all four portions of the CPA exam. Applicants must also ensure that they have completed an entire year's worth of work experience that an active and licensed CPA can verify.

Even after passing all four portions of the CPA exam, applicants must earn a passing score on the American Institute of Public Accountants' Self-Study Ethics Course. Finally, applicants must then submit an official application, set of transcripts, application fee, and background check to the NMSBA for approval.

New Mexico's Mobility Provision

Under New Mexico's Mobility Provision, you can work as a CPA in the state without a New Mexico-specific license as long as you have a valid CPA license in another state. The Mobility Provision can only apply to an applicant if the following are all true:

  • The applicant is not primarily based in New Mexico.
  • The applicant has a valid CPA license from another state.
  • The applicant has passed the Uniform CPA Examination.
  • The applicant possesses at least a year of experience.

It's important to note that disciplinary actions in your licensing state or disciplinary conduct in New Mexico can impact your ability to practice with an effective license in both states. If your mobility license is currently under investigation, contact our Professional License Defense Team today for assistance today.

Continuing Education Units

New Mexico CPAs must continue to meet rolling continuing education requirements every three years of licensure. Failure to meet these requirements can result in license revocation or suspension. It's important to note that because these hours are self-reported, they may also be subject to audit by the NMSBA. In order to qualify for CEU credit, hours must meet the following requirements:

  • Must complete 120 hours every 36 months, of which at least 20 must be completed annually.
  • A CPA's employing firm must not sponsor for 24 hours.
  • At least 4 hours must be earned.
  • 96 of the 120 hours must be “technical” in nature, such as hours earned in Accounting, Editing, Finance, Regulatory Ethics, etc.

The New Mexico State Board of Accountancy

The New Mexico State Board of Accountancy is the authoritative organization responsible for regulating the accounting profession within the state. The 1999 New Mexico Public Accountancy Act regulates public accounting in New Mexico and delignates responsibilities to the Board for carrying out the Act's mission and purposes. Under the Act, the Board is entrusted with many responsibilities, including creating the required standards of competence, ethics, and professionalism for CPAs in the state. Beyond granting licenses, it also establishes criteria for academic coursework, practical experience, and professional conduct.

While the Board is also in safeguarding the public interest by mandating that public accountants meet essential standards of competence, ethical behavior, and professionalism, this duty can sometimes lead to misconduct allegations that are based on mere mistakes or misunderstandings. All misconduct allegations initiated by the NMSBA (baseless or not) can result in disciplinary consequences ranging from fines and fees to license suspension or revocation.

The Disciplinary Process

Although the disciplinary process may feel very challenging to understand, they all typically follow a similar pattern of actions throughout the investigative and adjudicatory period. After receiving a complaint or allegations of misconduct from a member of the public, colleague, or supervisor, the Board initiates an investigation using the procedures outlined in § 61-28B-29 of the state's annotated statutes. As noted in these statutes, after receiving complaints or information suggesting a misconduct violation, the Board evaluates whether there is enough evidence to proceed without a formal investigation. The Board can issue subpoenas to gather more information if a formal investigation is deemed necessary.

Throughout the entire investigation, an investigating officer is responsible for ordering the following steps and reporting findings back to the Board. Based on these reports, the Board then decides if there is enough probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. If probable cause determines that a violation has occurred, the accused professional will receive a “Notice of Contemplated Action” that informs the professional of the Board's intention to pursue disciplinary consequences.

The Disciplinary Hearing

If the matter is not settled via a settlement agreement between the Board and the accused professional, it proceeds to an administrative hearing held before a neutral decision-maker. These hearings are governed under Title 16, Chapter 60, Part 5 of the State's Administrative Statute and in accordance with the State's Uniform Licensing Act and Public Accountancy Act. While these Administrative Hearings may not seem as formal because they are not a “jury trial,” they are still very serious in nature – consisting of arguments of law and fact, witness testimony, cross-examination, and closing argument.

Following the hearing, the hearing officer will issue a formal decision that either dismisses the action altogether or substantiates the allegations by ordering fines, penalties, probationary orders, or license suspension or revocation. Orders from these hearings may be appealed. If you have already received an unfavorable result from a hearing before the New Mexico State Board of Accounting, the Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team can help you navigate your options for appeal.

Although it may be tempting to represent yourself at these hearings, this is not advised. These hearings are very technical in nature and require a great deal of knowledge and skill that the Board's attorney must match. Our Team is experienced in navigating administrative hearings in New Mexico and can effectively help you navigate the State's complex legal procedures while diligently defending your rights.

Conduct That Can Place Your New Mexico CPA License at Risk

CPAs in New Mexico are bound by the State's Code of Professional Conduct for Public Accountants, as well as standards adopted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The various types of misconduct outlined within the Code are discussed below.

Communication and Documentation Allegations

New Mexico CPAs are required to respond truthfully and substantively to all board communications within 30 days. Failure to do so or to provide requested documents or working papers reflects a lack of fitness to serve the public and may lead to disciplinary action. Additionally, CPAs must promptly inform the board of any changes to their mailing address or email, official name changes, etc., to ensure ongoing compliance.

Reporting Obligations

Licensees must report certain events to the board within 30 days of becoming aware of them. These events include receiving unfavorable peer review reports, disciplinary actions by regulatory bodies like the SEC or IRS, and involvement in legal matters related to professional practice.

Compliance with the Parental Responsibility Act

CPAs not in compliance with child support orders face denial of license applications or renewals and possible suspension or revocation of their licenses. However, proving compliance can prevent punitive measures.

Specialty Designations and Unauthorized Use of the CPA Title

CPAs can only claim special expertise if it aligns with nationally or regionally recognized accreditation bodies' designations. Misleading claims about specialties are prohibited. Only those licensed and in good standing in their principal place of business can use the CPA title in New Mexico. Moving to New Mexico requires obtaining a local certificate before using the title.

Conflicts of Interest Provisions

CPAs must avoid services that adversely affect another client unless both clients consent after full disclosure. This includes situations like divorce proceedings or business dissolutions, where interests can conflict significantly.

Fraudulent Claims

CPAs may not make false, fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive claims to clients that are unsubstantiated by fact. Some examples of fraudulent claims or activities are income investment schemes, forgery, false billing, embezzlement, and misrepresentation of services.

Criminal Convictions

Specific criminal convictions disqualify applicants from receiving or retaining a CPA license. However, the board focuses on convictions directly related to professional conduct and ensures fair consideration of each case. Some of the following criminal convictions may disqualify an applicant from earning or retaining a New Mexico CPA License:

  • Crimes involving homicide, murder, manslaughter, or resulting in death.
  • Crimes involving human trafficking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, assault, battery.
  • Sexual crimes such as rape, incest, prostitution, or other sexual offenses.
  • Crimes involving bodily harm to children or adults as well as breaking and entering, sabotage, or other types of robbery or property damage.
  • Crimes related to bribery, unlawful interest in a contract, or unlawful interest in a public contract.
  • Tax evasion or tax fraud crimes, such as the willful failure to collect and pay taxes or attempts to evade or defeat taxes.

Conduct Not Investigated By the Board

The New Mexico State Board of Accountancy focuses its investigative efforts on matters crucial to maintaining the integrity of the accounting profession for the state. As noted on the Board's site, some types of misconduct, though very serious in nature, nevertheless fall outside the scope of the Board's jurisdiction. Non-jurisdictional issues include:

  • Fee disputes, which are typically resolved through civil litigation or mediation between the CPA and their client.
  • Allegations involving non-CPA accountants or bookkeepers, unless they falsely hold themselves out as CPAs.
  • Matters involving tax fraud as these are referred to the IRS fraud division.

Consequences of Losing Your New Mexico CPA License

The loss of your New Mexico CPA license can lead to severe repercussions, damaging your reputation and credibility and the potential to rebuild trust with employers and colleagues in the future. In fact, under New Mexico's Inspection of Public Records Act, the state must allow open access to view almost all public records. For this reason, the state publishes an ongoing list of professionals disciplined by the Board—making your disciplinary history easily accessible to future employers and clients.

Losing your CPA license can also lead to significant financial burdens that are beyond the loss of your immediate income as retirement statements and other benefits from your employer are also cut off.

While you may be able to secure a position as an uncertified accountant, these positions typically come with a lower salary. They are more limited in nature, as many New Mexico positions require professional certification.

On a more personal level, the revocation of your license can lead to deep emotional and personal turmoil, including feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and stress. Most often, we do not carry these feelings as inwardly as we think we do, and they typically expand to affect relationships with our partners, family members, and friends.

Trusted CPA License Defense in New Mexico

Our highly committed Professional License Defense Team is prepared to guide you through the battle to safeguard your New Mexico CPA license. You know the work you have put in to earn your CPA license. Do not give up without a fight. With unmatched experience representing clients nationwide and across New Mexico in areas such as Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Santa Fe, Farmington, and Las Cruces, our Team is equipped to help you defend your New Mexico CPA license and uphold your right to practice.

Don't let your uncertainty dictate our next move. For more information on how to navigate this challenging time with confidence and strategy, contact our Professional License Defense Team today by calling 888-535-3686 or using our convenient online form.


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