Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is the CBA requiring CPAs to submit fingerprints?
The California Board of Accountancy's (CBA) mission is to protect consumers. In conjunction with this mission and to ensure consumers are receiving services from qualified practitioners, it is necessary for the CBA to be informed of past and current criminal convictions that are related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the accounting profession.
Under what authority is the CBA requiring fingerprints?
CBA Regulations section 37.5 requires licensees not previously fingerprinted or licensees for whom an electronic record of the licensee's fingerprints does not exist in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) criminal offender record identification database, to undergo a state and federal level criminal offender record information search conducted through the DOJ.
How will I know if I must submit fingerprints?
The CBA will send you a letter notifying you of the requirement approximately 90 days prior to your license renewal date. If you receive a letter and intend on renewing your license in an active status, you must undergo fingerprinting.
Who will have access to my fingerprint information?
The CBA and DOJ will be the only agencies that have access to the fingerprint information you submit in compliance with this requirement.
How do I go about completing the fingerprint requirement?
California Residents - Live Scan
Licensees residing in California need to submit fingerprints via Live Scan. Your notification letter will include a Request for Live Scan Service. Take the completed form to a Live Scan location. You may view a current list of Applicant Live Scan locations on the DOJ website at https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.
Non-California Residents - Hard Cards
As a licensee residing outside of California, you will need to submit your fingerprints via hard card. Included with your notification letter will be a fingerprint hard card. Only hard copy fingerprint cards furnished by the CBA will be accepted. Once your fingerprints are completed, mail the unfolded cards directly to the CBA at the address below.
California Board of Accountancy
2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 250
Sacramento, California 95815-3832
Attn.: Fingerprint Unit
Will the CBA accept Live Scan fingerprints that are completed in another state?
No. The CBA will only accept Live Scan fingerprints completed in California
Do I need to wait until my license renewal is due before being fingerprinted?
No. You may complete the fingerprint requirement at any time prior to the expiration of your license.
What is the cost for fingerprinting?
The current processing fee for the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is $49.00. In addition, a print "rolling" fee, averaging about $15.00 will be required by the site. For a complete list of costs for California residents, please check with your local Live Scan site. If you are an out-of-state resident, please check with your local hard card rolling service provider.
Where can I have the Live Scan fingerprints completed?
For California residents, a listing of Live Scan locations can be found at https://oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations.
For out-of-state residents, hard cards should be taken to a qualified technician trained in fingerprint-taking techniques. Some law enforcement agencies provide this service. In addition, telephone yellow page directories and web searches may list fingerprinting services.
I was fingerprinted by my employer, school, or other state agency. Do I still need to submit fingerprints to the CBA even though my present employer (school, other state agency) already required me to be fingerprinted?
Unfortunately, yes. By law, confidential fingerprint information is specific only to the requesting agency, and therefore, it is a misdemeanor for agencies to share confidential fingerprint information (Penal Code section 11142).
I am renewing my license in an inactive status. Do I have to be fingerprinted to renew inactive?
No. The fingerprint requirement will be waived if you renew your license in an inactive status. If, however, at a later date you seek to convert your license to an active status, you will need to submit fingerprints.
How long should I retain the Live Scan form?
For California residents, the CBA requires that you retain a copy of the completed Request for Live Scan Service as proof of completion for at least three years.
What will happen if I do not submit fingerprints to the CBA?
Your license renewal application will be incomplete and ineligible for renewal. In addition, failure to submit fingerprints on or before the date required for renewal of your license is grounds for discipline by the CBA.
I am presently serving in the military. Do I need to provide fingerprints at the time I renew?
No. The requirement is waived for licensees who are actively serving in the military.
I received notification from the CBA that my fingerprints were rejected. What do I need to do?
You should wait for a letter from the CBA with further instructions. Do not contact the DOJ as it will be unable to assist you.
Why are my fingerprints being rejected by the DOJ and/or FBI?
Most likely, your fingerprints were rejected for the quality of the print provided. A low quality print can result in indiscernible fingerprint patterns, and even incomplete images. As a result, identification cannot be made. When fingerprints are rejected, don't panic. The CBA will send you a letter identifying the reason your fingerprints were rejected. To avoid paying fees, the rejection notice can be taken to the Live Scan site where your prints were taken and they will do your fingerprints again.
I completed Live Scan fingerprints and the operator told me that my fingerprints would be rejected. Can I submit an ink card in lieu of submitting Live Scan?
No. DOJ will not accept ink cards from an individual who either resides in or has a California address. Complete the Live Scan process and wait for further direction from the CBA.
What if the CBA received notification of a prior conviction during my background clearance; will my license still be renewed?
Yes. The CBA will renew your license; however, the notification will be forwarded to the CBA Enforcement Division for further review.