CPA License Reinstatement: How to Apply in All 55 Jurisdictions

As you probably know, your professional obligations don’t end once you’ve earned your CPA license. Fortunately, you won’t have to take the exam again, but you will need to maintain certain standards to keep an active license. If you don’t, your license will expire or even be suspended or revoked. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and you may find yourself needing a CPA license reinstatement.

Requirements for Keeping Your License Active

As with most things CPA, licensure requirements vary by state. Each of the 55 state or jurisdictional boards of accountancy sets its own standards, though they’re often similar. All jurisdictions have ethical standards that CPAs must adhere to. If you violate these standards, even if you don’t commit any criminal activity, your license may be revoked. Failing to file a yearly tax return or committing tax fraud will also have these consequences.

Additionally, all jurisdictions require CPAs to renew their licenses, usually every two to three years. Failing to turn in the paperwork and pay the appropriate fee on time may get your license suspended or reduced to inactive status. If you let your credentials lapse, depending on the rules of your jurisdiction, you may have to apply for reinstatement for an active license.

Finally, the most difficult ongoing obligation for many CPAs is the continuing professional education, or CPE, requirement. It’s not difficult to find courses that provide CPE credit. However, CPAs must spend around 40 hours a year on these courses. Additionally, some states have specific requirements regarding what topics must be covered during these courses. These specific requirements can change from year to year.

Having Your License Revoked

Just as the requirements for maintaining a license vary by state, so do the consequences for failing to meet them. You may receive a temporary suspension, be placed on inactive status, or have your license revoked altogether. You won’t necessarily be disciplined if you didn’t behave unethically. However you may need to pay a fine and/or complete extra CPE hours to be reinstated. If your license is revoked, you cannot practice accountancy as a CPA. If you do, you may be subject to prosecution for fraud.

In some cases, revocation is indeed linked to criminal activity. If you’re convicted of a crime with a punishment of greater than one year in prison – in other words, a felony – your CPA license will probably be revoked. No board hearing is necessary, though you can hire legal representation if you wish.

Reinstating a CPA License

Despite these dire circumstances, most people who want to know how to reinstate a CPA license are only guilty of letting a current license expire, neglecting to pay a fee, or missing a few CPE hours. Additionally, some jurisdictions call the process of moving one’s license from one state to another reinstatement. Once again, the procedure and requirements for the CPA license reinstatement process are different in each jurisdiction.

However, many states require an application, a fee (and/or an expiration fine), and documented reasoning for your reason for requesting CPA license reinstatement. You may also need to provide letters of recommendation from licensed CPAs. Below, we’ll cover each jurisdiction’s requirements and any CPE hours needed to get reinstated as a CPA.

CPA License Reinstatement Policies in All 55 Jurisdictions

Here are the basics of CPA license reinstatement in each jurisdiction. However, be sure to consult your state’s Board of Accountancy for details.

Alabama

If you fail to renew your Alabama CPA license by December 31 on the year it expires, you have two more months to renew with a $100 penalty. After that, it becomes a $500 penalty and you may be subject to disciplinary action. Information on CPA license reinstatement in Alabama is difficult to find. However, even if the Board revokes your license, they may restore it after a written application and a hearing.

Alaska

You may apply for CPA license reinstatement in Alaska if your license has lapsed for between one and three years. To do this, you’ll need to pay all applicable fees ($345 and up). You must also show that you’ve completed 120 CPE hours in the past three years. If your license has been expired for more than three years but less than five, you’ll need to do all of the above plus successfully complete the AICPA’s ethics course.

Arizona

Fortunately, Arizona’s Accountancy Board website is very clear on the conditions for reinstating an expired, cancelled, relinquished, or revoked license. CPA license reinstatement for all of these situations requires an application, a $100 fee, proof of CPE hours (160 in the past four years unless otherwise prorated), and – if the Board approves your application – a registration fee. You may also need to demonstrate that you have completed any required disciplinary action. If your license was revoked, you’ll need to wait at least five years before applying for reinstatement.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, you must apply for CPA license reinstatement if your license expired or was revoked. Alternatively, you’ll need to reply for relicensure if your license was surrendered or voided. Either way, you’ll fill out an application, pay a $150 fee, show proof of 120 CPE hours in the past three years, and submit supporting documentation.

California

California CPA licenses renew ever two years on the last day of your birth month. If you renew late, you’ll have to pay a delinquency fee of $125 on top of your renewal fee. However, you can continue to have option of renewing to active status up to five years after it expires. If you don’t renew your license for five years, it will be cancelled. Then, you must apply as a new applicant if you want it back.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

The CNMI Board of Accountancy has not yet created a website. For inquiries about CPA license reinstatement or other procedures, use NASBA’s contact information to communicate with the Board directly.

Colorado

Should your Colorado CPA license expire, you’ll need to apply for reinstatement. If it’s been less than two years since expiration, you’ll need to show that you’ve completed the appropriate CPE during that time. If it’s been more than two years but less than six, you’ll need to complete even more CPE plus a Colorado Rules and Regulations course. After six years, you’ll need to provide a number of required documents or apply fresh.

Connecticut

Whether you apply for late renewal or reinstatement in Connecticut will depend on your professional activities since your license expired. If you haven’t been practicing as a CPA, your reinstatement fee will be $565. If you have, your late renewal CPA license reinstatement fee will be $565 plus appropriate late fees, which increase every month. Either way, you’ll need to show that you’ve earned 40 CPE hours in the past year.

Delaware

Delaware’s Accountancy Board is so strict about license renewal that it does not have a CPA license reinstatement process. After your license expires, you have one year to renew and pay late fees. If you don’t renew within the year, you must apply for a new CPA license.

District of Columbia

DC CPA licenses expire on December 31 of even-numbered years. Beyond that, there is little online information on renewal or CPA license reinstatement. Contact the District of Columbia Board of Accountancy for details.

Florida

If your Florida CPA license is inactive or delinquent (that is, you fell behind in your CPE), you must submit a paper application for Florida CPA reinstatement. You must pay the $250 reactivation fee, $25 delinquent fee, and/or $50 change of status fee, if applicable. To reinstate a Florida CPA license, education requirements necessitate 120 CPE hours in the past three years.

Georgia

To reinstate a Georgia CPA license, you must submit an application and pay a non-refundable $300 fee. The application includes consent to a background check, employment since last renewal, reasoning for failing to renew, and documentation of CPE. Depending on how long your license has been lapsed, you’ll have to complete up to 160 hours of continuing education.

Guam

If your license in Guam lapsed less than three years ago, you may apply for CPA license reinstatement. You’ll need to include a completed application, a check for $275, a CPE reporting form showing you’ve completed 120 hours over the past three years, and a copy of your passport or other valid identification.

Hawaii

If you don’t renew your CPA license in Hawaii by December 31 on odd-numbered years, it will expire. At that point, you’ll have to request a hard copy of the license restoration form and pay a $204 fee.

Idaho

Idaho CPA license expire on June 30 every year, so you must renew by July 1. After that, you will have to pay a $100 late fee. You can also pay an increasing CPE late reporting fee to avoid having your license suspended. If your license is lapsed or suspended, you’ll need to apply for reinstatement. The application includes a criminal background check and documentation of completing 80 CPE hours in the past year.

Illinois

For reinstatement to the Illinois CPA society, you must send a restoration request to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). However, if your license has been expired or inactive for more than five years, you’ll need to request a paper restoration packet for Illinois CPA license reinstatement. For more details on Illinois CPA society member reinstatement, contact the IDFPR directly.

Indiana

The CPA reinstatement application in the state of Indiana can be found in the expired license packet PDF. If your license expired three years ago or less, the fee will be $155. However, if it expired more than three years ago, you’ll need to pay $190. Additionally, you’ll need to submit a renewal form, a letter of work experience, a CPE tracking worksheet, and documentation the appropriate number of CPE hours depending on when your license lapsed.

Iowa

Here’s how to reinstate a CPA license in Iowa. First, you must complete an online reinstatement form. Then, you must pay the standard renewal fee, plus a flat $100 penalty and an additional $25 for each month since your license expired. Additionally, you must provide documentation showing you completed 120 CPE hours in the past three years. You must also include a statement of your professional activities since your license expired. If you continued to practice as though you had a license, you may be disciplined as part of your Iowa CPA license reinstatement.

Kansas

Fortunately, Kansas CPA reinstatement is fairly simple if you briefly let your license renewal lapse. Up to a year after the expiration date, the process is considered a late renewal. You’ll pay a late fee of $247.50 and add eight hours of CPE onto the typical requirement of 80 hours over two years. However, if it’s been longer than a year, you’ll need to apply for the full CPA license reinstatement. You’ll need to submit documentation of 40 CPE hours in the last year as well as pay a higher fee.

Kentucky

To reinstate a CPA license in Kentucky, you’ll need to fill out an application and pay a $200 fee. Additionally, you’ll need to show documentation for 60-80 CPE hours completed in the last two years. Finally, if your license was revoked for reasons other than insufficient CPE, you’ll need to submit a letter to the Kentucky Board of Accountancy showing that you’ve completed any required disciplinary measures.

Louisiana

For 12 months after your Louisiana CPA license has expired, you can simply renew it through the usual process with an added delinquency fee. After a year, though, you’ll have to apply for reinstatement. To get the appropriate paperwork, you’ll need to contact the Board directly. Additionally, you’ll need to provide proof of 120 CPE hours over the past three years as well as an Experience Verification Form.

Maine

If your license has lapsed for more than 90 days in Maine, you must apply for CPA license reinstatement. You can fill out the reinstatement forms electronically or by printing and mailing them. You must have completed 80 CPE hours over the past two years. Also, you must pay a $56 fee that includes a criminal background check.

Maryland

Here’s how to reinstate a CPA license in Maryland: log in to your Department of Labor account using your PIN and follow the prompts. You’ll need to include a certification of compliance with license requirements and documentation of two years of CPE. The fee you need to pay will depend on your status. To reactivate or reinstate an inactive license, the fee is $56. Reinstating an expired license is twice that, or $112.

Massachusetts

To reinstate a CPA license in Massachusetts that has been expired for fewer than 20 months, you can renew through the regular online portal for an extra fee. If it’s been longer than 20 months, you’ll need to submit a CPA license reinstatement application. This must include a criminal offender record form, an explanation of your recent employment, and proof of 160 CPE hours over the previous four years. If you have any other current licenses, you will need to list them, as well.

Michigan

In the state of Michigan, reinstatement CPA applications are only required for those who have had their licenses revoked. These applications require a $100 fee in addition to regular fees. Otherwise, the re-licensure form is sufficient to reactivate an expired license. There will be a $320 charge, and you’ll need to submit proof of 40 completed hours of CPE over the past 12 months. Additionally, you’ll need to answer questions about any criminal convictions or outstanding disciplinary penalties.

Minnesota

To reinstate a MN CPA certification that has expired less than two years ago, you’ll fill out a late renewal form, complete with a fee of $125-$200 and documented CPE during that time. There are also late fees if you didn’t complete your CPE on time. If it’s been more than two years, you’ll need to apply for CPA license reinstatement instead. For revoked MN CPA status reinstatement, you’ll need to fill out an application detailing your recent employment history. Signing the application waives your right to keep certain background information private from the Board. There’s also a $20, and you’ll need to explain any criminal convictions or disciplinary measures.

Mississippi

Mississippi’s CPA license reinstatement forms require your reason for application, verifiable employment history, and proof of 40 CPE hours for every year since your license expired. You’ll also have to pay a $450 fee plus any past registration fees you owe.

Missouri

If you’re seeking reinstatement of a CPA license in Missouri, you’ll need to fill out the four-page Missouri CPA reinstatement application. This will include your recent employment history, documentation of 40 CPE hours earned in the past year, and an $80 fee. A for how to reinstate a CPA license in Missouri after it expired, know that recent license expirations are simply considered late renewals. However, for more information, you’ll need to contact the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.

Montana

CPAs in Montana have 45 days after the license renewal deadline to renew with a late fee of up to $125. If you fail to complete your CPE or pay your fees, you’ll have 60 days to fix the problem. Otherwise, your license will go into administrative suspension. To lift the suspension, you’ll need to show proof that you fixed the problem. Also, you must pay a $120 CPA license reinstatement fee. If you don’t, your license will eventually expire or be terminated. If this happens, you’ll have to reapply for a new license.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, CPA license reinstatement refers to reactivating an inactive CPA license. To do this, you’ll fill out the reinstatement form, certifying that you have completed 120 CPE hours in the past three years. These hours may not also count towards renewing your license. Thus, you may have to take additional courses. There’s also a $175 fee.

Nevada

Similarly, Nevada CPA license reinstatement applies to retired or inactive CPAs who wish to return to active status. You’ll need to fill out an application, show you’ve completed 40 CPE hours in the past year, pass a background investigation, and receive board approval. Additionally, you’ll need to pay a $250 application fee.

New Hampshire

The Board of Accountancy in New Hampshire doesn’t seem to offer CPA license reinstatement. However, it is possible to return to active practice from inactive status. For reinstatement information, you might try contacting the Board Staff.

New Jersey

To reinstate a CPA license in New Jersey, you must pay the license fee for the previous three years ($135 for active, $60 for inactive), the current license fee (another $135 or $60), and a $150 reactivation fee. You’ll also need to include a CPE credit summary sheet and proof that you completed this CPE in the past three years. The reinstatement application also requires an explanation of your recent employment and references.

New Mexico

As long as your New Mexico CPA license hasn’t been expired for more than five years and you’ve never been subject to board disciplinary action, you can fill out some simple reinstatement forms and get a fingerprint background check. You’ll need to show proof of 40 CPE hours for every year your license has lapsed. You’ll also pay a $305 fee. If it’s been longer than five years or you’ve been disciplined, you’ll have to contact the NM Accountancy Board directly.

New York

To reinstate a CPA license in New York, you will need to re-register with the Office of the Professions. NY CPA licenses are for life unless suspended or revoked for misconduct. However, you must make sure your registration is current if you want to practice accountancy. You’ll need to fill out a registration renewal addendum and show proof that you’ve completed at least 24 hours of CPE in the last year.

North Carolina

If you’ve got an inactive license and want to apply for NC CPA reinstatement, you’ll need to fill out an application, pay a $100 CPA license reinstatement fee, turn in three “certificates of good moral character,” and document that you’ve completed the proper CPE (40 hours in the past year). Keep in mind that North Carolina is fairly strict when it comes to renewal deadlines. The time limit on reinstating your CPA license in NC is 30 days after the Board issues you a letter telling you your license has expired. This usually comes right after the renewal deadline of July 1. If you fail to do so, you must forfeit your license. After that, if you want it reinstated, you’ll need to fill out the same application and pay an additional $1,000 civil penalty.

North Dakota

NC CPA licenses must be renewed by June 30 each year. If you miss the deadline, you have until August 31 to renew with a $100 late fee. If you fail to renew by then, your license is considered involuntarily relinquished. After that, you must fill out a short form to apply for CPA license reinstatement. The Board will consider your application at its next meeting.

Ohio

The state of Ohio allows for a special status that allows retired CPAs to keep their status without having to renew their license or take CPE. However, the work these CPAs can do is highly restricted. Also, they must advertise that they are retired. The requirements to reinstate a CPA license in Ohio after retirement are quite strict. Thus, experts advise Ohio CPAs to maintain inactive status if they think they might want to continue to practice. In Ohio, reinstating a CPA retired license or surrendered license will require a petition and a hearing in front of the state’s Accountancy Board.

Oklahoma

If your CPA license in Oklahoma expired or was revoked less than one year ago, you can apply for reinstatement with a form, a background check, three letters of reference, and a passing grade on an ethics exam. Also, you must show that you’ve completed 40 CPE credits in the past year and pay a fee of at least $290. If it’s been more than one year, the form is slightly different and the fee is greater.

Oregon

If your Oregon license has been lapsed for less than two years, your CPA license reinstatement application must include proof of 96 CPE hours completed in the last 12 months. For licenses lapsed between two and six years, that increases to 176 hours. After six years, your license expires and can only be restored by retaking the CPA Exam.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, if you renew your CPA license but don’t complete the required CPE, you’ll need to pay a fine of between $300 and $1,000, depending on how many hours you still owe. It’s unclear what happens if you fail to renew on time, though it seems your license may automatically switch to inactive status. If this happens, you’ll have to reactivate your CPA license.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico CPA licenses renew triennially on December 1. If you miss this deadline, please contact Puerto Rico’s Departmento de Estado for more information

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Board of Accountancy reinstatement application is appropriate for those who have an inactive CPA license in the state. It’s not for persons whose license has been suspended or revoked, nor for anyone convicted of a felony. However, if you wish to reactivate your license, you’ll need to pay a $500 fee and give a reason for your inactive status. You must also show proof that you’ve completed 120 CPE hours over the past three years.

South Carolina

To reinstate a CPA license in South Carolina if it expired less than three years ago, you’ll need a CPA license reinstatement form, a CPE report, documentation of your CPE, a renewal form, and a payment of $580. However, if it’s been more than three years, you’ll need to add a certificate documenting your work experience supervised by a currently-licensed CPA.

South Dakota

CPA licenses in South Dakota renew every year on August 1. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to pay a $50 late fee. South Dakota does offer inactive status. However, if you wish to reactivate or reinstate your license, you’ll need to contact the Board of Accountancy for details.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, you have a six-month grace period in which to renew your CPA license. However, you’ll pay a late fee if it’s more than 30 days after the expiration date. If you fail to renew within six months, you’ll need to apply for CPA license reinstatement. To find out how, you’ll need to contact the state’s Accountancy Board.

Texas

In Texas, “reinstatement” only applies to CPAs who have been licensed in another state and wish to move there. If you want to reinstate your Texas CPA license, you’ll need to complete an affidavit and submit a copy of your recent out-of-state license. Texas doesn’t have an inactive status. Therefore, if you fail to renew your CPA license for three consecutive years, the Board will revoke it. If you wish to get your license back, you’ll have to take the CPA Exam again.

Utah

Here’s how to reinstate a Utah CPA license that’s expired: fill out a CPA license reinstatement form, which must include the reason you let your license expire. You’ll also have to show documentation for completing the required number of CPE hours and pay a fee. The number of hours and the fee will depend on how long it has been since your license expired and whether you’ve been practicing in another state.

Vermont

If you miss the deadline for CPA license renewal in Vermont, you must apply for CPA license reinstatement. You’ll have to show that you’ve completed 80 hours of CPE in the past two years and pay all applicable fees. However, the appropriate application form does not seem to be currently available on the Board’s website. Therefore, you may need to contact them directly.

Virgin Islands

CPA licenses in the Virgin Islands renew annually on June 30. If you miss this deadline, or if your license is revoked or suspended, you’ll need to contact the V.I. Board of Accountancy for more information.

Virginia

In Virginia, your CPA license will expire on July 1 if you don’t renew it by the June deadline. To reinstate a VA CPA license, you’ll need to fill out a CPA license reinstatement form, prove you’ve met the CPE requirement of 120 hours in the past two years, and pay a $350 fee. When reinstating a CPA license in Virginia, you’ll need to reinstate to active status. Then, if you want, you can apply for inactive status.

Washington

If your Washington CPA license has expired, you’ll need to fill out an application, prove you’ve completed 120 hours of CPE in the last three years, and pay all applicable fees. If your license has been suspended or revoked, you’ll also need to provide a written statement explaining why the Board should reinstate you, plus two letters of recommendation from licensed CPAs.

West Virginia

If you fail to renew your WV CPA license by July 31, or if you can’t renew because you didn’t complete your CPE on time, you’ll have to apply for CPA license reinstatement. You’ll need to log in through the Board of Accountancy website, pay all applicable fees ($220 minimum), and show proof that you’ve completed the requisite CPA hours before the Board will consider your application.

Wisconsin

Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s Board of Accountancy website is a little unclear about CPA license reinstatement vs. renewal. You may be able to simply renew your license up to five years after it has expired. For a Wisconsin CPA license reinstatement after more than five years of expiration, you must fill out the license application and include a $143 late renewal fee.

Wyoming

To reinstate your revoked or suspended Wyoming CPA certificate, you’ll first need to fill out the appropriate form, complete with proof that you’ve earned 120 CPE hours over the past three years. Your application will also need to include a Verification of Lawful Presence form, a written explanation outlining cause for your CPA license reinstatement, a certificate of completion of the state board’s ethics course, and a fee of at least $1,000. You’ll also need to attend a board hearing.

Conclusion

Of course, your first priority should be doing your best to renew your CPA license on time and complete your required continuing education. However, you aren’t completely out of luck if the unexpected happens and you miss the deadline. Additionally, many states and jurisdictions offer a pathway to regaining a suspended or revoked license. If you need to apply for CPA license reinstatement, make sure you have all the proper documentation to show that you’ve fulfilled the requirements.

CPA License Reinstatement Frequently Asked Questions

How many CPE hours do I need to reinstate a CPA license in Maryland?

For Maryland reinstatement to active CPA status, you’ll need to show that you’ve earned 80 hours of continuing education over the past two years.

How long does an inactive CPA have to reinstate their license in NC?

The North Carolina Board of Accountancy doesn’t list a specific time limit on remaining an inactive CPA. However, if you fail to renew your license within 30 days of the annual renewal deadline (July 1), you will need to forfeit your license and apply for CPA license reinstatement.

You can change from inactive to active status by “completing the application form, paying the current certificate application fee, submitting three certificates of good moral character and endorsements of eligibility, and furnishing the Board with documentation of the completion of the necessary hours of CPE.” If you need CPA license reinstatement after a forfeiture, you’ll also have to pay a civil penalty of $1,000.

Can I reinstate my CPA license in VA with a felony?

According to the Code of Virginia §54.1-4413.4, the state’s Board of Accountancy “may impose penalties on persons using the CPA title in Virginia … for … conviction of a felony, or of any crime involving moral turpitude.” In other words, the decision of whether to reinstate CPA license in VA for a candidate with a criminal record is up to the Board. They can restrict a CPA license if they find the candidate doesn’t show “good moral character.” If you’re in this situation, you can hire a defense attorney to help represent you at the Board hearing.

In WA, how do I know whether I need to pay for license renewal or reinstatement?

Whether you pay the Washington State CPA license renewal fee or pay the reinstatement fee will depend on whether you let your license officially lapse. You must renew every three years between January 1 and April 30 by paying a $320 fee. Until June 30 of that year, you can request late renewal with an additional $100 late fee. After that, though, you’ll need to officially apply for CPA license reinstatement.

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