CPA License Transfer: How to Switch to Another State?

CPA License Transfer: How to Transfer Your License to Another State

If you are a currently licensed CPA, can you transfer your license from one state to another? In some cases, yes, you can. Use this information to learn what conditions apply and how to accomplish a CPA license transfer.

Substantial Equivalency and CPA Mobility Act

First of all, most state boards allow a CPA license transfer. And, the process is not difficult as long as the person holds a license from a substantially equivalent state. Nowadays, all states that issue a full license following the 3E requirement recommendation are considered substantially equivalent.

General Rule for a CPA License Transfer

Under the CPA Mobility Act, most states allow a licensee to hold an out-of-state license to work under the general assumption that this out-of-state working arrangement is not permanent.

For example, a person holds their license in California and works in Missouri. California remains their principal place of business, and Missouri is only a temporary workplace. In this case, the CPA Mobility Act applies.

The CPA Mobility Act is also valid as long as the person is not offering services to the public. For example, those working as employees in business, industry, or government can hold out-of-state licenses.

Specifically, you are generally safe if you work for big and established companies. However, those working in small firms with substantial roles in the business should double check with the accounting board in the state in which they are working (i.e., Missouri in our example).

Thankfully, NASBA has an online tool you can use to double-check whether the CPA Mobility Act applies in your case.

The Necessity of a CPA License Transfer

Let’s go back to our example. If Missouri becomes the new principal place of business, i.e., where a person lives and works the majority of the year, then that person may be a need to obtain a Missouri license.

I say “may” because MO may still allow someone to hold the CPA license as long as that person does not “offer services to the public”.

A classic example of offering services to the public is to open your own CPA firm. Your home state is the principal place of business, and therefore your license must be from your home state. The CPA Mobility Act does NOT apply in this case, and you will likely need to transfer your license.

More Help with CPA License Transfer

If you have other questions, feel free to drop a comment below or on my Facebook page. I will try my best to help!

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!

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