Proposal would create new status for retired CPAs

By Ken Tysiac

A new, uniform “Retired-CPA” status would be created under a proposal issued this week by the boards of directors of the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

The proposal would revise the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and the NASBA UAA Rules to allow retired CPAs to continue to serve their communities without remaining active CPAs in practice.

The current UAA includes an “Inactive-CPA” status, which indicates that a CPA has not maintained the required amount of continuing professional education and cannot claim CPA status without current CPE.

State boards of accountancy have asked NASBA for guidance on how to recognize both inactive and retired CPAs, and without a uniform approach, a majority of states have adopted their own retired status in their statutes or rules. As a result, there is inconsistency in treatment of this class of CPAs.

The demand for a uniform status for retired CPAs has been heightened by the Baby Boomer generation’s arrival at retirement age.

The UAA Committee is recommending the creation of a uniform Retired-CPA status that would allow Retired-CPAs to offer a limited array of volunteer, uncompensated services to the public. The UAA Committee is recommending that inactive CPAs who are at least 55 years old be allowed to:

  • Refer to themselves as “Retired-CPA” with appropriate registration with their state board.
  • Offer volunteer tax preparation services if competent.
  • Participate in government-sponsored business mentoring programs if competent.
  • Serve on the board of a not-for-profit organization if competent.

All of these activities can currently be offered by non-CPAs. Retired-CPAs would be required to affirm to state boards of accountancy that they understand the limitations on what services they offer; agree not to use their retired status in a misleading way; and maintain professional competency, without a specific CPE requirement, when offering any of the permitted volunteer services.

Comments on the proposal are sought by Feb. 2 and can be submitted to RetiredExposureDraft@aicpa.org.

Ken Tysiac (ktysiac@aicpa.org) is a JofA editorial director.

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