Section 404 of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act and Auditing Standard No. 2 (PCAOB 2004) require management and the auditor to report on internal controls over financial reporting. Section 404 is arguably the most controversial element of SOX, and much of the debate around the costs of implementing section 404 has focused on auditors' fees (Ernst & Young 2005). In this paper, we examine the association between audit fees and internal control disclosures made pursuant to section 404. Our sample includes 660 manufacturing firms that have a December 31, 2004 fiscal year‐end and filed the section 404 report by May 15, 2005. We find that the mean (median) audit fees for the firms in our sample for fiscal 2004 is 86 (128) percent higher than the corresponding fees for fiscal 2003. Audit fees for fiscal 2004 are 43 percent higher for clients with a material weakness disclosure compared to clients without such disclosure; however, audit fees for fiscal 2003 are not associated with an internal control material weakness disclosure (in the 10‐K filed following fiscal 2004). We also find that the association between audit fees and the presence of a material weakness disclosure does not vary depending on the type of material weakness (systemic or non‐systemic).

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