Rule 3501. Definitions of Terms Employed in Section 3, Part 5 of the Rules (As Amended as of June 9, 2021)

The following rule will be effective as of June 9, 2021. The amendments are also illustrated in the  Marked Text Illustration of Amendments to PCAOB Interim Independence Standards and PCAOB Rules to Align with Amendments to Rule 2-01 of Regulation S-X .

View the rule effective before June 9, 2021.

The gray boxes highlight amended portions of the rule.

            When used in Section 3, Part 5 of the Rules, unless the context otherwise requires:

            (a)(i)    Affiliate of the Accounting Firm

            The term "affiliate of the accounting firm" (or "affiliate of the registered public accounting firm" or "affiliate of the firm") includes the accounting firm's parents; subsidiaries; pension, retirement, investment or similar plans; and any associated entities of the firm, as that term is used in Rule 2-01 of the Commission's Regulation S-X, 17 C.F.R. § 210.2-01(f)(2).

            (a)(ii)   Affiliate of the Audit Client

            The term "affiliate of the audit client" has the same meaning as that term is defined in Rule 2-01 of the Commission’s Regulation S-X, 17 C.F.R. § 210.2-01(f)(4).

            (a)(iii)  Audit and Professional Engagement Period

            The term "audit and professional engagement period" includes both -

                        (1)       The period covered by any financial statements being audited or reviewed (the "audit period"); and

                        (2)       The period of the engagement to audit or review the audit client's financial statements or to prepare a report filed with the Commission (the "professional engagement period") -

                                    (A)       The professional engagement period begins when the registered public accounting firm either signs an initial engagement letter (or other agreement to review or audit a client's financial statements) or begins audit, review, or attest procedures, whichever is earlier; and

                                    (B)       The professional engagement period ends when the audit client or the registered public accounting firm notifies the Commission that the client is no longer that firm's audit client.

                        (3)       The "audit and professional engagement period" does not include periods ended prior to the first day of the last fiscal year before the issuer first filed, or was required to file, a registration statement or report with the Commission, provided there has been full compliance with applicable independence standards in all prior periods covered by any registration statement or report filed with the Commission.

            (a)(iv)  Audit Client

            The term "audit client" means the entity whose financial statements or other information is being audited, reviewed, or attested and any affiliates of the audit client.

            (a)(v)   Audit Committee

            The term "audit committee" means a committee (or equivalent body) established by and among the board of directors of an entity for the purpose of overseeing the accounting and financial reporting processes of the entity and audits of the financial statements of the entity; if no such committee exists with respect to the entity, the entire board of directors of the entity. For audits of non-issuers, if no such committee or board of directors (or equivalent body) exists with respect to the entity, "audit committee" means the person(s) who oversee(s) the accounting and financial reporting processes of the entity and audits of the financial statements of the entity.

            (c)(i)    Confidential Transaction

            The term "confidential transaction" means -

                        (1)       In general. A confidential transaction is a transaction that is offered to a taxpayer under conditions of confidentiality and for which the taxpayer has paid an advisor a fee.

                        (2)       Conditions of confidentiality. A transaction is considered to be offered to a taxpayer under conditions of confidentiality if the advisor who is paid the fee places a limitation on disclosure by the taxpayer of the tax treatment or tax structure of the transaction and the limitation on disclosure protects the confidentiality of that advisor's tax strategies. A transaction is treated as confidential even if the conditions of confidentiality are not legally binding on the taxpayer. A claim that a transaction is proprietary or exclusive is not treated as a limitation on disclosure if the advisor confirms to the taxpayer that there is no limitation on disclosure of the tax treatment or tax structure of the transaction.

                        (3)       Determination of fee. For purposes of this definition, a fee includes all fees for a tax strategy or for services for advice (whether or not tax advice) or for the implementation of a transaction. These fees include consideration in whatever form paid, whether in cash or in kind, for services to analyze the transaction (whether or not related to the tax consequences of the transaction), for services to implement the transaction, for services to document the transaction, and for services to prepare tax returns to the extent that the fees exceed the fees customary for return preparation. For purposes of this definition, a taxpayer also is treated as paying fees to an advisor if the taxpayer knows or should know that the amount it pays will be paid indirectly to the advisor, such as through a referral fee or fee-sharing arrangement. A fee does not include amounts paid to a person, including an advisor, in that person's capacity as a party to the transaction. For example, a fee does not include reasonable charges for the use of capital or the sale or use of property.

                        (4)       Related parties. For purposes of this definition, persons who bear a relationship to each other as described in section 267(b) or 707(b) of the Internal Revenue Code will be treated as the same person.

            (c)(ii)   Contingent Fee

            The term "contingent fee" means -

                        (1)       Except as stated in paragraph (2) below, any fee established for the sale of a product or the performance of any service pursuant to an arrangement in which no fee will be charged unless a specified finding or result is attained, or in which the amount of the fee is otherwise dependent upon the finding or result of such product or service.

                        (2)       Solely for the purposes of this definition, a fee is not a "contingent fee" if the amount is fixed by courts or other public authorities and not dependent on a finding or result.

            (f)(i)     Financial Reporting Oversight Role

            The term "financial reporting oversight role" means a role in which a person is in a position to or does exercise influence over the contents of the financial statements or anyone who prepares them, such as when the person is a member of the board of directors or similar management or governing body, chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, general counsel, chief accounting officer, controller, director of internal audit, director of financial reporting, treasurer, or any equivalent position.

            (i)(i)     Immediate Family Member

            The term "immediate family member" means a person's spouse, spousal equivalent, and dependents.

            (i)(ii)    Investment Company Complex

            (1)       The term "investment company complex" has the same meaning as that term is defined in Rule 2-01 of the Commission’s Regulation S-X, 17 C.F.R. § 210.2-01(f)(14).

[Effective pursuant to SEC Release No. 34-53677, File No. PCAOB-2006-01 (April 19, 2006); SEC Release No. 34-72087, File No. PCAOB-2013-03 (May 2, 2014); and SEC Release No. 34-90930, File No. PCAOB-2020-01 (January 14, 2021)]