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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002(Management Assessment of Internal Controls): Current Regulation and Congressional Concerns

Michael V. Seitzinger
Legislative Attorney

Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue rules requiring annual reports filed by reporting issuers to state the responsibility of management for establishing and maintaining an adequate internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting and for each accounting firm auditing the issuer's annual report to attest to the assessment made of the internal accounting procedures made by the issuer's management. There have been criticisms that this provision is overly burdensome and costly for small and medium-sized companies. On December 15, 2006, the SEC adopted rule changes giving smaller firms more time to comply with Section 404's reporting requirements. Compliance with Section 404 by small and medium-sized companies was an issue in both the 109th and 110th Congresses and has continued to be an issue in the 111th Congress. On November 4, 2009, the House Financial Services Committee recommended H.R. 3817, the Investor Protection Act, which contained a clause, inserted as a bipartisan amendment, permanently exempting businesses with a market capitalization up to $75 million from complying with the auditing requirements of Section 404. This bill is included in H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, as section 7606, passed by the House on December 11, 2009. The chairman's mark on financial regulatory reform of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs does not have a comparable provision.

Date of Report: April 12 2010
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: RS22482
Price: $29.95

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