AICPA Praises Congress for Introducing Privacy Protection Act of 2005

On May 17, Rep Mark Kennedy (R-MN) and Collin Peterson introduced the Privacy Act of 2005, H. R. 2387. This legislation would amend the privacy provision applicable to CPAs in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) passed in 1999.

“The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is pleased Congress has taken this important step to support legislation that would exempt CPAs from a redundant requirement,” said Barry Melancon, CPA, President and CEO of the AICPA. “By relieving a substantial unnecessary regulatory burden on CPAs, and especially on sole practitioners and small firms, small businesses can realize the cost benefit.”

The GLB requires CPAs to protect the confidentiality of non-public personal financial information by disclosing how such information might be shared and allowing the client to opt-out of any information sharing. The redundancy is that CPAs are already required to maintain the privacy of a client’s non-public personal financial information unless express consent is given by the client concerning any sharing of information.

In fact, the rules governing CPAs afford greater privacy protection than is provided by GLB. Disclosure of a client’s non-public personal financial information by a CPA can result in jail time and loss of their certification to practice the profession.

“The AICPA looks forward to working with Representatives Kennedy and Peterson to work for passage of H. R. 2387 this Congress,” says Mark Peterson, the AICPA’s Vice president of Government Affairs.

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