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Exceptions: Granted — maybe

BOA Business

Anne Janotta Erickson, MNCPA senior business & industry marketing coordinator | August 2019 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated July 31, 2019

We don’t control life’s ups and downs. Sure, we can schedule, plan and coordinate, but sometimes major hardships aren’t avoidable.

Consider CPA certification. Candidates and licensees often have the best of intentions before something in life goes significantly awry. Before you know it, you miss a deadline.

Turns out, the Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA) has leniency written into its administrative rules, but exception requests are never a certainty. It’s up to you to plead your case.

Here’s how to do just that.

Know the rule

Your first stop when requesting an exception: Minnesota Administrative Rule 1105.0200 Subp. 4.

This rule allows individuals to ask the BOA to make an exception and waive an administrative rule due to a personal hardship. This could include health, military service, foreign residency or other good causes.

The BOA is serious about how they interpret hardship. This means that life’s inconveniences will not be considered a hardship.

Exception requests can only be granted to administrative rules, never statutes.

Prove it — in writing!

This exception rule clearly states the burden of proof falls to the individual. It’s up to you to explain — in writing — why you’re late and why the rule shouldn’t apply to you this time.

The devil is in the details. Provide the BOA with a detailed explanation for why they should grant you an exception. Be as specific and thorough as possible. Include proof, such as a doctor’s note, to support your request.

Exceptions do not necessarily get you off the hook. Within your written request, provide a date for when you plan to have the issue rectified. This is important as the BOA does not grant open-ended extensions.

Speaking of “in writing” — we advise sending your request via written letter rather than email. If you want proof of delivery to the BOA, take one additional security step and send your letter via certified mail.

The BOA takes it from here

All exception requests are reviewed during public BOA meetings. Medical requests are discussed anonymously; the general public never knows who the requesters are.

Attending the meeting is not required, but it also can’t hurt. Being in the room shows you are willing to take the time to be personally available to the committee reviewing your request.

If you do attend, be aware of your demeanor. Like most things in life, people are more inclined to find middle ground when both sides approach the situation in a calm and mature manner. 

Questions?

Need to request an exception? Direct these or other administrative rules questions to the Minnesota BOA at 651-296-7938. Or visit www.boa.state.mn.us.

While the MNCPA doesn’t create the rules that govern the accounting profession, we are here to help members interpret them. Contact us with questions at 952-831-2707 or customerservice@mncpa.org.