By DeVry University
If you already have a CPA license, we have good news—a CPA license can be transferred from one state to another. However, the process for transferring your license can vary significantly based on which state you received your license from and which state you want to transfer your license to. Whether the transfer is going to be temporary or permanent also plays a role in how the process works.
In this article, we'll explain how to transfer your CPA license to another state and which states have more complex license transfer processes than others in the following sections:
Temporary vs. Permanent Change
Before we explain how to transfer a CPA license from one state to another, it's important to understand what transferring a license means.
When you want to practice as a licensed CPA in one state, but you hold a license from another, the process of transferring the license will change based on whether your location change is permanent or temporary. If the transfer is temporary, it can be fulfilled through the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). If it's permanent, the transfer is carried out through reciprocity. Let's take a look at what those two terms mean:
Mobility: CPA Mobility, which was established by the adoption of "substantial equivalency" under the Uniform Accountancy Act, enables licensed CPAs who are in good standing to temporarily perform work in another state using their existing license. Many states have CPA mobility laws in place that allow you to use a license from any state within their borders. While a majority of states allow mobility with a CPA license from any state, some states, such as Georgia and Massachusetts, require the license to be from another state that has passed mobility laws.
In addition to the change being temporary, the change limits the person transferring their license to only performing non-attest services, such as providing tax advice and financial planning.
Reciprocity: Reciprocity refers to the ability to use your home license between states where laws permit you to do so. This process allows you to set up a business using your existing license and then exchange your existing CPA license for an equivalent license in your new state of residence. It may be helpful to think of it like getting a new driver's license after moving to a new state.
Each state has its own rules regarding reciprocity. As a result, the process of transferring your license from one state to another will be directly influenced by where you previously held your license, as well as where you wish to transfer your CPA license. For a detailed explanation of how to transfer your license to your new state of residence, we recommend viewing the relevant state’s Board of Public Accountancy.
Is a CPA License Valid in All States? 3 Examples of How to Transfer Your CPA License to Another State
Now that you know there are different ways to transfer your CPA license, let's take a look at three examples of how transferring your CPA license to a new state works. For these examples, let’s say the license is being transferred from the state of Florida and is being done for a permanent relocation.
- Transferring a CPA license to California: According to CalCPA, California does not currently recognize reciprocity. To transfer your CPA license from another state into the state of California, you need to submit an application and also fulfill all of California's education and licensing requirements. However, if you have been working in public accounting as a licensed CPA for at least four of the ten years prior to applying for a license transfer, you may automatically meet the education and licensing requirements.
- Transferring a CPA license to New York: New York does offer reciprocity for CPA licenses. In order to meet reciprocity requirements, you must have spent at least four of the previous ten years working in accounting, financial management, tax services or financial advisement.
- Transferring a CPA license to Texas: Texas does not offer standard reciprocity, but it is still possible to transfer your CPA license to the state of Texas. In order to do so, you need to fill out the license transfer application, pay a $100 fee, provide documentation showing that you have performed 120 or more hours of continuing professional education (CPE) within the past three years, provide a letter of good standing from your previous jurisdiction and pass an ethics exam.
Always check with your new state's Board of Public Accountancy to get a sense of their particular license transfer process beforehand.
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