UPDATED February 18, 2020
My fingerprints were rejected. What do I do now?
When fingerprints are processed by IdentoGO they could be rejected for various reasons. You will need to be fingerprinted again to meet the requirement, but free of charge. IndentoGO will contact you by the method you selected (email/phone/mail) with additional instructions. If you selected email, IdentoGO will send you a link to schedule another appointment. Check your spam/junk mail folders if you don't receive the email. Or you can call IndentoGO at 855-845-7434 for additional information. If your second set of fingerprints gets rejected, you will not need to take further action. The second rejection will allow the Board to request a name search to gather the required information from the FBI. It takes several days after a second failure to complete a name check search and to update your account at the Board. A rejected set of fingerprints will not hold up the current renewal process of your license.
Why did I have to get my photo taken when I was fingerprinted?
The Board must follow the rules of the Texas Department of Public Safety (Section 411.0845 (e) fromChapter 411 of the Government Code), which articulates the purpose and authority to take your photo as part of the fingerprinting process. The specific (Section 411.0845 (e) states:
"(e) A person entitled to receive criminal history record information under this section must provide the department with the following information regarding the person who is the subject of the criminal history record information requested:
The Board does not establish these rules but we are compelled to follow them. We appreciate your diligence to comply with the legislatively-mandated fingerprinting requirements.
the person's full name, date of birth, sex, and social security number, and the number assigned to any form of
unexpired identification card issued by this state or another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States that includes the person's photograph;
- a recent electronic digital image photograph of the person and a complete set of the person's fingerprints as
required by the department; and
any other information required by the department."
I've already submitted fingerprints for a concealed handgun license (or another reason, such as for previous employment or another state license), do I have to get fingerprinted again?
Unfortunately, yes. DPS and FBI regulations prohibit sharing fingerprint information among different government agencies. Fingerprints are required for licensees and non-CPA firm owners, even if you have submitted prints for a concealed handgun license, a previous employer, a federal project, a military project, or for any other reason. FBI regulations do not offer any exceptions.
When does the new law start?
House Bill 1520 was signed into law, effective September 1, 2019. The fingerprint results will not be required until your license renewal deadline and you will receive specific instructions for the fingerprint requirement in the TSBPA renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date. However, you can get fingerprinted prior to your renewal month by logging intoOnline Services on the Board's website for specific instructions. You will have until the last day of your birth month to submit your fingerprints for the TSBPA. Non-CPA firm owners will also be required to submit their fingerprint-based background check by their firm license renewal deadline.
Do I have to get fingerprinted?
The new requirement applies to all licensees and non-CPA firm owners. Licensees who hold the retired or disability status with the Board (seeRule 515.8) do not need to get fingerprinted, unless and until they seek reinstatement. Also, licensees who were fingerprinted electronically for the Texas CPA license after September 1, 2014 may not need to get fingerprinted again.
Where do I go to get fingerprinted?
You will receive specific fingerprinting instructions in your renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date and when you log intoOnline Services on the Board's website. The collection and submission of fingerprints will be handled by a third-party vendor (IdentoGO) under contract with the DPS, not by the TSBPA or any TSBPA vendor. Texas licensees that currently reside out-of-state or out-of-country will have special instructions to follow. Instructions will be available throughOnline Services and annual renewal notices. The out-of-state and international fingerprinting process will not require travel to Texas to fulfill the requirement. If you get fingerprinted by IdentoGO out of state, you can expect to pay an additional $40 fee.
How long will it take the TSBPA to receive the results from my fingerprint-based background check?
It will take several days for your fingerprint information to be included in your account information at the Board. Allow for longer processing times if you are not getting fingerprinted by IdentoGO.
How much does the fingerprint-based background check cost?
The fee for the required fingerprint-based background check performed by IndentoGO is currently $38.25 (subject to change and there may be an additional cost for credit card payments not to exceed 2.1%) to be paid directly to IdentoGO (the third-party provider for DPS) by the licensee at the time of submission. If you get fingerprinted by IdentoGO out of state, you can expect to pay an additional $40 fee. You will not pay the fee to the TSBPA. This is paid by the licensee and is separate from your license renewal fee.
Is the fingerprint fee to be paid every year?
No. The fingerprint fee and submission are one-time only.
Is the TSBPA making money off of this?
No, the fee will be paid directly to IdentoGO, the Texas Department of Public Safety's third-party vendor. The TSBPA will receive no part of the fee.
What is IdentoGO?
IdentoGO is a company contracted by DPS to provide fingerprinting services in Texas. They have locations throughout the U.S. and specialize in live-scan fingerprinting. The TSBPA uses IndentoGO for fingerprinting services. Fingerprints done with IdentoGO can be submitted electronically for the TSBPA, which results in fewer rejected fingerprints and faster processing.
Do I have to get fingerprinted by IdentoGO?
Yes, IdentoGO is the company contracted by DPS to provide fingerprinting services in Texas. They have locations throughout the U.S. and specialize in live-scan fingerprinting. Fingerprints done with IdentoGO can be submitted electronically for the TSBPA, which results in fewer rejected fingerprints and faster processing. You will receive specific fingerprinting instructions in your renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date and when you log intoOnline Services on the Board's website. We ask that you please schedule your fingerprint-based background check using the TSBPA instructions available throughOnline Services and annual renewal notices because there is a unique identifier code you will need to provide.
I've already had my fingerprint-based background check performed by IdentoGO for another type of license. Do I need to have it done again?
Yes. There is a specific code set up for the TSBPA which must be used for fingerprint submission. For security reasons, requesting agencies are prohibited by law from sharing this information with each other. If you had your fingerprints done for any other reason, you will need to have them redone using the TSBPA code.
I am retired/disabled. Do I need to have a fingerprint-based background check performed? Is there an exemption from the fee if I am retired/disabled?
Licensees who hold the retired or disability status with the Board (seeRule 515.8) and licensees who submitted electronic fingerprints for the TSBPA after September 1, 2014 are the only exemptions from the fingerprint-based background check requirement. There are no other exemptions.
I live in another state and am licensed in Texas. Do I need to get fingerprinted?
Yes. Texas licensees that currently reside out-of-state will have special instructions to follow. You will receive specific fingerprinting instructions when you log intoOnline Services on the Board's website and in your renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date. If you hold retired or disability status with the Board (seeRule 515.8) or if you submitted electronic fingerprints for the TSBPA after September 1, 2014 you are exempt.
I live in another country and am licensed in Texas. Do I need to get fingerprinted?
Yes. Texas licensees that currently reside out-of-country will have special instructions to follow. You will receive specific fingerprinting instructions in a special mailing from the Board, when you log intoOnline Services on the Board's website, and in your renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date. If you hold retired or disability status with the Board (seeRule 515.8) or if you submitted electronic fingerprints for the TSBPA after September 1, 2014 you are exempt.
I am a non-CPA firm owner. Do I need to get fingerprinted?
Yes. Non-CPA firm owners are also required to complete a fingerprint-based background check to complete the firm renewal process. You will receive instructions from the Board and it will be coordinated through your firm office renewal.
I just got my Texas CPA license within the last few years and I understand that a Texas Department of Public Safety background check was performed for my application of intent. Do I have to get a fingerprint-based background check performed again?
If you submitted electronic fingerprints for the TSBPA after September 1, 2014, no additional fingerprints are required. However, all licensees who submitted fingerprints prior to September 1, 2014 will need to be fingerprinted.
I am in the National Guard / I am in the military / I am in the military reserves / I am a veteran / I have a security clearance. Do I need to have the fingerprint-based background check performed?
Yes. All licensees and non-CPA firm owners will need to meet this requirement. If you hold retired or disability status with the Board (seeRule 515.8) or if you submitted electronic fingerprints for the TSBPA after September 1, 2014 you are exempt.
Will I receive a copy of my fingerprint-based background check?
You can request a copy of your personal fingerprint-based background check by paying an additional fee and following the instructions athttps://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/CR-63.pdf. This service is not related to the Board nor your CPA license.
Will the TSBPA receive a copy of my fingerprints?
No. There's actually no physical or paper report received by the TSBPA. Our staff has access to the DPS system to review an electronic version of the existing records. We only download and maintain the date that the fingerprinting was performed. This is done for data security and privacy reasons. The TSBPA will never store, collect, or even see licensee fingerprints, as that information will be housed by DPS and the FBI.
Is this a nationwide background check?
Yes. The fingerprint-based background checks performed under this new law will be run against both the DPS (statewide) and FBI (national) databases. Any positive matches will be sent to the TSBPA for review.
I think something may come up on my fingerprint-based background check. Should I notify the Board before submitting my fingerprints?
No. There is no need to contact the Board prior to completing the fingerprinting process. We will contact you if we have any questions or concerns about your fingerprinting results. SeeRule 501.91 - Reportable Events if you have any concerns.
What happens if the fingerprint-based background check shows a criminal incident? Will my license renewal be denied?
Any prior criminal incidents will be reviewed in accordance with BoardRule 501.91. Any further clarification required of the licensee or action by the Board will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
What if I had a one-time DWI or some other misdemeanor offense many years ago?
The practice of the Board is to not open an investigation of a one-time DWI or misdemeanor offense that occurred several years ago. If the licensee completed their responsibilities to the justice system for that offense, the Board will not investigate, unless the licensee or applicant was required by Board rule to report the offense and failed to do so.
The general rule is that a licensee or certificate holder may be subject to disciplinary action upon final conviction of a felony or misdemeanor listed in BoardRule 519.7 or having received deferred adjudication for a felony or a misdemeanor listed in BoardRule 519.7. The Board will not take disciplinary action for deferred adjudication unless the period of supervision ended less than five years before the date the person applied for the license or license renewal, or the offense directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of a CPA. The public relies on the integrity of the licensee and conviction of a felony or repeated violations of misdemeanors evidence a lack of integrity necessary for the practice of public accountancy and may be investigated.
Why are CPAs being targeted?
CPAs were not "singled out" for this requirement. This process is already in place for many licensed professionals such as doctors, engineers, architects, nurses, lawyers, and pharmacists.
OK, what do I need to do specifically?
You will receive specific fingerprinting instructions when you log intoOnline Services on the Board's website and in your renewal notice sent out 45 days prior to your current expiration date. You can get fingerprinted prior to your renewal month, but you will need to log into Online Services on the Board's website for specific instructions. Fingerprinting results will be sent directly to the TSBPA from both DPS and the FBI. You do not need to contact us to confirm we received your fingerprinting results.
How did this requirement come about? Whose idea was it?
The fingerprinting requirement is one that the Sunset Commission of Texas commonly recommends for occupational licensing agencies and their recommendation was written into the Texas Public Accountancy Act,HB 1520 of the 86th Regular Session.
I am considering not renewing my license. Being fingerprinted is a lot of trouble and I am not sure I need it. What are the downsides to not renewing?
Should you choose not to renew your license and at some future date your circumstances change, in order to be reinstated you will be required to pay your current licensing fees, plus licensing back fees and late fees, which have been established by the Legislature at three times the normally required renewal fees. Many former licensees who have decided not to renew their license have been surprised to learn upon reinstatement application that the back fees are in the thousands of dollars, depending upon how long they were unlicensed. In addition, you are required to take as much as 120 hours of CPE before being reinstated.
Also understand that in order to represent yourself as a CPA in Texas, even when you are in industry or government practice, you must be licensed in this state as a CPA. Representing yourself as a former CPA while providing accounting services is not permitted under state law as it suggests you have an expertise in the field of accounting. The CPA credential carries with it recognition of hard work, expertise, and integrity. You should not allow it to lapse without considering all of the consequences.
I've never heard of IdentoGO and I may not be comfortable sending them sensitive information. What can you tell me about this company and their credentials?
IdentoGO is the third-party provider for DPS and all IdentoGO employees undergo the same fingerprint screening and security check protocols required of DPS employees. IdentoGO is bonded, and all IdentoGO fingerprinting sites and equipment meet DPS requirements for security and transmission encryption. Once data is transmitted from IdentoGO equipment, that data is transferred to the DPS and FBI, and IdentoGO can no longer access it. There have been no incidents of improper data dissemination through hacking or negligent employee conduct during their contract with DPS.