The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has delayed the effective date of its new rules requiring accounting firms to report on events such as litigation so it can resolve technical issues with the Web-based system it plans to use for receiving the reports.

The SEC approved the new rules, rule amendments and forms in August, and they had been scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 12, 2009 (see PCAOB Reporting Rules Take Effect Oct. 12). However, the effective date has now been postponed to Dec. 31, 2009, as the PCAOB works to resolve the technical glitches in the new online system it will use to process and publish the filings it receives from firms.

Under the new rules, PCAOB-registered firms will be required to report on events such as changes in the firm’s contact information and the institution of legal proceedings against the firm or its personnel. Firms will also need to report on when they succeed to a predecessor’s registration status, as when a merger or acquisition occurs.

However, the PCAOB cautioned that the postponement will not affect the timing of the first annual reports, which are still due on June 30, 2010 for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2010. Firms are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new forms in the meantime.

The revised effective date also does not change the deadline for the annual fee due from registered firms. Beginning in 2010, all firms registered as of March 31 of a given year must pay an annual fee by July 31 of that year. The PCAOB will announce the amount of the annual fee at a later date.

The PCAOB will also publish additional guidance on the use of the Web-based system closer to the effective date. Firms will need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and later, or Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and later, to access it. Exhibits that are required to be included with the forms must be submitted in PDF, GIF or JPEG format.

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