Washington (Feb. 26, 2004) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission has pushed back the required dates for compliance with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley for accelerated filers by five months, to Nov. 15, 2004.

The SEC ruled that a longer transitional period was necessary in light of the time and resources necessary to implement internal controls guidelines under Section 404.

Under the new compliance schedule, “accelerated filers” (companies with market capitalization of over $75 million and that have filed at least one annual report with the commission) must include in annual reports a report by management on the company's financial reporting controls, accompanied by a certifying auditor’s report for its first fiscal year ending on or after Nov. 15, 2004.

Companies under the $75 million threshold and that have not yet filed an annual report must begin compliance with SOX 404 requirements for the first fiscal year ending on or after July 15, 2005, from a previous deadline of April 15, 2005.

The commission added that the extension would also help the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board “to consider relevant factors in determining and implementing new standards for registered public accounting firms.”

-- WebCPA staff

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