In September and October 2015, the AICPA Board of Directors and the NASBA Board of Directors each approved for exposure changes to the Uniform Accountancy Act and the Model Rules that would provide for the creation of a Retired-CPA status. Comments on this proposal are requested by February 2, 2016.
The AICPA and NASBA have worked together since 1984 to produce the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and UAA Model Rules to serve as reference documents for all U.S. states and jurisdictions as they update their own statutes. They are evergreen documents that are regularly reviewed and updated by the joint AICPA/NASBA Committee, subject to the final approval of the two organizations’ boards of directors.
For several years, there has been discussion as to whether or not there should be a Retired-CPA status in the UAA. Currently, there is an Inactive-CPA status, which simply indicates that a CPA has chosen not to maintain the requisite amount of continuing professional education and can no longer hold out as a CPA while his or her CPE is not current. State Boards have come to NASBA to request guidance on how to recognize both inactive and retired CPAs. With no uniform approach, a majority of states have adopted their own retired status in their statutes and/or rules. These variations in state policies have led to inconsistencies in expectations and treatment of this class of CPAs.
Coupled with these national differences in policy, demographic changes – in particular the wave of Baby Boomers retiring or preparing to retire – are further driving the debate about the need for a Retired-CPA status. Indeed, the AICPA estimates that approximately 75% of its members will be eligible to retire by 2020. Many of these retirees are well-respected business leaders in their communities who would like to find ways to continue to be of service, without necessarily remaining an active CPA in practice.
The UAA Committee has debated and reviewed this matter and is recommending the creation of a uniform Retired-CPA status. Furthermore, it would like to allow Retired-CPAs to offer a limited array of volunteer, uncompensated services to the public.
The UAA Committee is recommending that Inactive CPAs, at least age 55, 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 non-profit organization if competent
All of these activities would be uncompensated and are activities that can currently be offered by non-CPAs. Examples of these volunteer programs include the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the Small Business Administration’s SCORE business mentoring program. Under no circumstances could the Retired-CPA provide services that require signature and use of the CPA title.
Furthermore, Retired-CPAs would be required to affirm to State Boards of Accountancy that they: (1) understand the scope of limitations on what services they offer, (2) agree not to use their retired status in any way which could be misleading, and (3) maintain professional competency, without a specific CPE requirement, when offering any of the permitted volunteer services.
The full Exposure Draft can be viewed here.
Please submit comments by February 2, 2016, to:
Mat Young, Vice President - State Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, AICPA
Louise Dratler Haberman, Vice President - Information & Research, NASBA