Every year, I pay my maintenance in June. This year was no exception. I clicked on the pay my AMF and was charged $85 for my cycle as normal. I saw the emails saying that the AMF were increasing next year but thought it was an issue for next year.
Fast forward to this week. I login to add credits and see that I am past due. That's impossible because I paid in June. I fill out the support form and receive a prompt reply. Unfortunately, it was not what I expected. It was for the past cycle and the new policy was to pay for the cycle at the start. I am fine with that but here is where I really think it's a bad system and looks shady is how this was handled.
None of me emails from ISC2 said that the date for paying the year would change. Just that the price would increase and I had to be caught up. They explained how they were combine all certifications into one easy payment but not that the date was changing. It also explained that I could pay ahead.
I received monthly emails on paying my dues until I paid on June 16th. Then they stopped. If I had not logged in this week, I would have unknowingly let me certification lapse. This would have costed me $125 + $600 instead of just an additional $85. Not a bad haul for a company if you multiply that across the members.
I like to believe that ISC2 has a great moral compass. I know when I sat on the advisory board it did but the poor explanation of the change, not billing for the upcoming year when I paid my AMF, and not notifying me that I still owed and went past due looks very bad. I have not paid the new fee because I would like I real explanation for why it wasn't listed as something that was due when I paid my AMF and when is ISC2 going to articulate why they have a system that wouldn't notify you that you owed and were past due.
For those that can deduct professional memberships against tax or get their employer to pay, the double charging in one calendar year has left them out of pocket.
I forgot about the tax and employer reimbursement implications of this
change. The other thing that confuses me is why they s change is needed.
I believed that my first cycle was included in the cost of the exam. Then
at the end of the current cycle I would be paying for the next. This goes
back to 2002 for me.
If the first cycle is included in the test, I am no paying for future
cycles. This is what I am hung up on.
According to the (ISC)2 accounting practices, no, the exam fee did not and does not include a year of AMF. That is because failing the exam means the candidate will not owe an AMF for the first year. In a curious decision MANY years ago, the Annual Maintenance Fee was paid in arrears for each of the three years of the certification period. This meant that someone who denied to let the certification lapse at the end of a three year cycle could simply abandon the Consortium without paying for the third year, and ignore please for payment.
This AMF-in-arrears ws the standard practice for over 20 years. I never understood it, because every other professional association I belong to expects dues payments in advance for the upcoming period.
When the (ISC)2 bBoard decided last year to change from in-arrears AMF payments to payment at the beginning of each year of certification, the information was communicated in some of the most confusing emails I have ever read. It took me three emails and some head sc=ratching to understand that I had until July to pay for my current year, and then expect to pay at the front end on my next renewal point. I do not think this was a matter of ethics, simply a matter of terrible communication, and failure to make sure members all knew the plan.
The biggest problem I saw was simply telling us in e-mails to go pay, and not sending out-of-cycle bills, with a clear explanation of the accounting shift.
And yes, those with supportive employers who pay or reimburse for the fee can get caught in the middle.
AS for the income tax deduction situation, it seems to me that (at least in USA) you can deduct it in the tax year you pay it, without regard for the period it covers.
You are correct about the exam fee not including your AMF. It used to be that you would pay your first AMF on the first anniversary of your membership. The board voted to make this change many years ago - I believe 2013 or 2014 - but it took time for the implementation.
We began the communication of the change in January with many reminders before the change actually took effect on July 1. As we mentioned in a previous post, 92% of members transitioned to the new structure by this date. We have added to our support team since that time so that we can assist members whose accounts need extra attention through the transition. Since members all have a different anniversary date - and some have multiple anniversaries if they have multiple certs - it's certainly not a "one size fits all" change. We continue to be available to talk - or email - with any member who would like to have their account reviewed. Please feel free to PM me and I can connect you with a colleague who can assist, or you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org.