Retirement Fund for the Lebanese Certified Public Accountants
Decree No. 15222 issued on 27/9/2005
The President of the Republic,
Upon the constitution,
Considering the Law No. 364 dated 1/8/1994 (organization of Certified Public Accountants’ practice in Lebanon), mainly Article 55 thereof,
Considering the proposition of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economy and Commerce,
Following consultation with the State Council (Opinion No. 200/2004-2005) dated 12/7/2005,
Following the approval of the Council of Ministers during its session held on 6/9/2005,
Decrees as follows:
Article 1 – The Retirement Fund of the Lebanese Association of Certified Public Accountants (LACPA) is created pursuant to Article 55 of the Law that regulates the practice of the profession of certified public accountants in Lebanon, issued on the first of August 1994. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure a retirement pension for Lebanese certified public accountants who stopped working on ground of age or disease and for their families after their death pursuant to the conditions stipulated in this Decree.
Article 2- The affiliation to the Fund is mandatory for all the certified public accountants registered in LACPA’senrollment list, with the exception of those who enjoy a special retirement system.
Article 3 – The Fund resources are constituted of:
1- The affiliation fees to the Retirement Fund paid are to be settled for one time and equivalent to the minimum wage.
2- The annual retirement fees determined by the General Assembly based on the justified proposition of the Fund Administration Committee, agreed upon by LACPA Council, and due on the first day of every year. They must be paid on the thirty-first of March at the latest, and collected with the annual participation fees.
3- Fees of the attestations and certifications issued by LACPA and fixed by its Council.
4- Visa fees of LBP 5000 (Five Thousand Lebanese Pounds) collected by LACPA from the public accountant for every report issued, provided that the visa includes an indication that the public accountant is dully registered at LACPA.
The Retirement Fund Administration Committee determines the form of the visa and its collection method. If it is a fiscal stamp, the Committee will, with the approval of the Ministry of Finance, arrange, classify, and determine the quantity of stamps stipulated in this article, and the Retirement Fund Committee will sell these stamps directly from the interested parties. These stamps are governed by the general penal legal provisions in case of their falsification and selling by people who are not entitled to possess or sell them against an amount exceeding their value, in addition to the other violations stipulated by virtue of the Law-Decree No. 67/67 and its amendments.
5- A proportional amount of 1/1000 (one per thousand) calculated on the basis of the total revenues of the public accountants indicated in the income tax declarations and paid to the Association’s Fund based on a declaration submitted by the public accountant.
6- The amounts that the Association’s General Assembly decides to transfer from the funds of the general fund of LACPA to the Retirement Fund at the end of every financial year, provided that the transferred amount does not exceed the third of the annual net savings achieved by LACPA.
7- 30% (thirty per cent) of the accrued reserve amounts available in LACPA General Fund and indicated in the balance sheet elaborated at the end of the year that precedes the year of issuance of this Decree.
8- The donations, grants and what is recommended by third parties in favor of the Retirement Fund.
9- The interests and returns of the funds gathered in the Retirement Fund.
Every certified public accountant who refrains from paying or is in delay to pay the due taxes, totally or partially, or who facilitates to others, directly or indirectly or through any means, the reduction of such fees, will be subjected to a fine set by the Council, based on the recommendation of the Retirement Committee, and equivalent to the amount or part of amount that the Fund lost. In case of refraining from paying, the transgressor will be referred to LACPA Disciplinary Council or before the competent judicial authorities based on a decision issued by LACPA Council.
Article 4 – The Fund is administered by a committee composed of:
1- The president or the vice president during his absence, as chairperson.
2- Two members from outside LACPA Council, amongst the practicing certified public accountants, elected by the general assembly for two years.
3- Two members from LACPA Council deputed by this latter for one renewable year.
4- The last two former presidents.
* If the position of one of the two elected members, mentioned in Paragraph 2, becomes vacant six months before the end of the mandate, the vacant position will be occupied by the candidate who won in the previous elections the highest number of votes and who is considered, ever since, a reservist member. If this condition is not met, the general assembly will be convoked to elect a new member for the remaining period of the mandate of the vacant position. If the two positions indicated in Paragraph 2 become vacant, the general assembly will be convoked to elect two substitute members to complete their mandates. If the position of one of the members indicated in paragraph 3 becomes vacant, LACPA Council will nominate a successor thereto.
* No public accountant convicted by the disciplinary council or convicted of a crime affecting the dignity or honor is entitled to be a member in the Fund Administration Committee.
Article 5- The Fund Administration Committee will elect amongst its members, in the first week that follows its election through the secret vote, a secretary, a treasurer and an accountant.
Article 6 – The Fund Administration Committee meets once a month at least to peruse the works, accounts, expenditures, and revenues of the Fund. The chairperson has the right to convoke the Committee, when need be, and the session shall not be considered legal unless it is attended by more than half of the members, amongst whom the president or the vice president.
* The decisions of the Committee are taken by the majority of votes of the present members. If the votes are equal, the president or the vice president in his absence will have the preponderant vote.
* The chairperson convokes to the meetings and sets their dates and agenda.
Article 7 – All the registers, records, and accounts of the Fund Committee are subject to the auditing of two certified public accountants designated by the general assembly.
At the end of every year, the Committee prepares a balance sheet attached to a general report on the financial position of the Fund and the report of the two auditors and submits them to LACPA Council to be examined and presented before the General Assembly during its ordinary annual meeting to discuss them and approve thereof.
The general assembly has the power to put an end to the service of the members of the Fund Committee if their misconduct is established or in case of embezzlement of the amounts of the Fund.
Articles 8 – The Fund Administration Committee is responsible for the Retirement Fund and for taking the necessary procedures to collect the money, invest them, and estimate the disbursement of salaries and aids to the beneficiaries or interrupting them pursuant to these regulations. Furthermore, it organizes the annual budget and submits it to the General Assembly for approval through LACPA Council.
The Fund Committee must obtain the approval of the General Assembly in all initial matters.
Article 9 – The treasurer may maintain an amount of money that does not exceed Five Hundred Thousand Lebanese pounds in its fund for emergency matters and cannot disburse any amount without the decision of the Fund Committee.
Article 10- The Fund’s money are deposited in one or more banks designated by the Fund Administration Committee, and it is not permissible to withdraw any amount of money without the decision of this Committee cosigned by the president, or the vice president in his absence, and the treasurer or the secretary in the absence of this latter.
Article 11- The Fund Committee sets the annual balance sheet in the month of November of every year and submits it to the ordinary general assembly.
The annual balance sheet of the Fund must include three parts when submitted to the general assembly:
· First Part: indicates the revenues of the Fund and its details.
· Second Part: indicates the administrative expenditures, costs, and estimated obligations of the Fund towards its members on the basis of the percentages of the retirement pensions determined in these regulations.
- Third Part: calculation of the reserve (provision) and its usage.
Retirement Condition, Maturity and Transference
Article 12 – Every member who reached the age of sixty-four has the right to fully benefit, upon his request, from the retirement pension if he has been registered in LACPA enrollment list for at least fifteen years. If he has been registered for less than fifteen years, the retirement that he is entitled thereto will be a part of the full retirement and calculated proportionally to his registration years to fifteen years. The retirement will not be due if he has been registered for less than five years.
Article 13 – The monthly pension is determined during the ordinary General Assembly based on the proposition of the Fund Administration Committee and the approval of LACPA Council.
Article 14- Every public accountant participating in the retirement fund who is inflicted with a chronic disease or a disability, which prevents him from continuing the practice of the profession, has the right to benefit, upon his request, from a proportional retirement pension as determined in Article 13 if he has been registered in LACPA enrollment list for at least five years.
Article 15 – It is not permissible to benefit from the retirement pension unless the fees due to LACPA Fund and the Retirement Fund are paid. All delayed fees will be subject to a fine for delay of five percent, and the fraction of the year is considered a full year as per their maturity date.
Article 16 – The retirement pension from which the deceased retired public accountant benefited or the retirement pension from which the deceased public accountant could have benefited if liquidated at the death date pursuant to the percentage determined in Article 13 of this Law without considering the factor of age, will be transferred to his family as per the following articles. The members of the family of the deceased are the assigns pursuant to the limitation of succession stipulated legally and legitimately:
1- His spouse or spouses equally among them.
2- The legitimate children who did not reach the age of eighteen, the recognized children, and the children adopted at least ten years before the maturity of the pension and who did not reach the age of eighteen.
3- The parents who did not have a supporter other than the deceased public accountant.
Article 17- The assigns from the family of the deceased public accountant are granted the following pensions:
1- Third of the pension of the deceased to the spouse or spouses equally.
2- Third of the pension to all the children, divided equally.
3- A twelfth share of the retirement pension to each parent.
Article 18 –
1- The right of the widow of the certified accountant extinguishes with death or marriage and her share will be transferred to her beneficiary children equally; and if they do not exist, such share shall return to the Retirement Fund.
2- The right of the minor male children extinguishes with death or when they reach the age of eighteen; and if they are pursuing their studies, at the end of their studies or when they reach the age of twenty-five.
3- The right of the female children extinguishes with death, when they reach the age of eighteen or upon marriage. If they pursue their studies, then at the end of their studies or when they reach the age of twenty-five.
4- The share of the child extinguished pursuant to paragraphs (2) and (3) returns to the Retirement Fund.
5- The right of the parents extinguishes with death and the share of the deceased parent returns to the surviving parents; and when both parents decease, their shares return to the Retirement Fund.
6- If a beneficiary from the retirement pension passed away before the maturity of the retirement pension, his share will not be cut off from those to whom the share would have belonged if such death occurred after the maturity of the retirement pension.
Article 19- If the Public Accountant is deceased and has left behind him sick or handicapped child/children that prevent him/them from ensuring their livelihood after reaching eighteen, the committee is entitled to decide about disbursing their share in the pension, on condition to submit a request embracing the valid reasons attached to a medical report.
Article 20 – Applications for pension shall be submitted in writing to the president who submits them to the Fund Committee.
Article 21- The Fund Administration Committee shall decide whether the conditions of entitlement to the retirement are met, and it shall justify its decision of approval or rejection and determine the maturity date. This decision must be accompanied with the approval of LACPA Council, provided that it does not exceed a period of two months from the date of submission of the application.
The retirement pension shall be liquidated when its maturity is established and as of its maturity date. It must be paid only upon the request of the public accountant and the assigns in his family.
Article 22 – The retirement pension is non-transferable and non-sizeable as it is allocated to ensure the livelihood unless the entitled person is obliged to pay alimony to his parents, children, spouse or spouses. In this case, part of the pension may be seized up to the half of its amount only.
Article 23 – Every person who collects a retirement pension, to which he is not totally or partially entitled, or continues to collect a salary that was allocated to him and then his right thereto extinguished, the amounts that he unlawfully collected will be recuperated from him, and LACPA will have the right to sue him.
Article 24 – It is prohibited for the superannuated public accountant to:
1- Register or renew his registration at LACPA or any similar foreign association.
2- Practice the profession of public accountancy; and in general conduct a work that might be competitive with his colleagues or harm them directly or indirectly with the exception of the academic work, assume any other work without notifying the president and obtaining a previous authorization for every consultancy or work from the Fund Administration Committee after taking the approval of LACPA Council. Any breach of the abovementioned will extinguish the right of the transgressor to the pension throughout his practice of one the mentioned works.
3- To conduct any work that affects the dignity and honor of the public accountant.
4- Every public accountant who had received a pension without complying with the conditions stipulated in this article shall restitute what he has collected unrightfully to the Pension Fund.
Article 25 – The retiree may practice the profession for a definite renewable period by virtue of a special permission from the Fund Administration Committee, after obtaining the approval of LACPA Council. In this case, his retirement pension will be suspended during this period.
Article 26- Every superannuated public accountant shall comply, as every certified accountant member in LACPA, with all the laws, regulations, and decisions of LACPA; however, he shall be exempted from the payment of the annual participation fees. Every breach accompanied with a decision of the disciplinary council or a judicial decision will extinguish the right of the transgressor to the pension throughout the persistence of the transgression.
The certified accountants who are condemned by a disciplinary or judicial decision stipulating their suspension of the practice of the profession will not be deprived of the retirement right when the prohibition ceases to exist.
The certified accountants who were stricken off from the roll of LACPA based on Article 11 of the Law regulating the profession, and whose registration has not been renewed, will be deprived of the retirement right and the amount they had paid will remain an acquired right to the Fund.
Article 27- Every dispute arising between the Fund Administration Committee and the beneficiaries of the retirement pension pursuant to the provisions of these regulations will be submitted to LACPA Council that will settle it in first instance and its members in the Fund Administration Committee will not attend except for the president or the vice-president. The decision of LACPA Council is subject to appeal before the Civil Appeal Court in Beirut within thirty days at most from the notification date.
Article 28- In all cases, it is not allowed to disburse more than 90% of the retirement fund annual revenues balance; and the remaining amounts will be preserved as reserve funds.
Article 29 – If the revenues of the retirement fund in a year did not suffice to cover the administrative costs and the determined retirement pensions, the differences will be taken from the general reserve to ensure the continuous payment of the due and determined retirement pensions for an additional year that follows the year during which the deficit occurred. LACPA Council shall convoke the general assembly to meet within three months from the deficit date in order to take the appropriate decisions to ensure the continuous operation of the retirement fund, of which:
a- Increase the annual retirement fee determined by virtue of Paragraph 2 of Article 3 of this regulation.
b- Increase the yearly retirement fees allocated for the Fund and which are determined in Article 3 of this regulation.
c- Reconstitute the general reserve.
d- And all that is deemed convenient by the general assembly.
The general assembly remains entitled, based on the recommendation and approval of the Retirement Fund Committee and LACPA Council, to restitute the retirement pension to its former state before the deficit, or to increase it partially when the necessary amounts are available. The entitled persons whose collections decreased as mentioned above do not have the right to claim any differences or to return to the Retirement Fund or LACPA to claim them when amounts are available in the Fund at a later stage.
Article 30- The Fund Administration Committee has the right to directly conduct all needed investigations as to the applications for retirement, whether personally, through one of its members, or through a person that it delegates for this purpose.
Article 31 – The certified public accountants, registered in the enrollment list during the constitutive period and who reached the age of sixty-four, when these regulations were promulgated, have the right to benefit fully, upon their request, from the retirement pension, provided that their retirement pensions are disbursed after five years from the effectiveness date of this decree.
Article 32 – The Fund Administration Committee establishes, in consent with LACPA Council, relative bylaws to regulate the implementation of this Decree.
Article 33- This Decree shall become effective as of its publication in the official gazette.
Baabda, in September 27, 2005.
Signature: Emile Lahoud
Issued for the President of the Republic
Signature: Fouad Al Saniora
Minister of Economy and Commerce
Signature: Sami Haddad
Minister of Finance
Signature: Jihad Azour