NC CPA License Applicants
Contacting the Licensing Staff
Buck Winslow, Manager, (919) 733-1421
Alice Grigsby, Specialist, (919) 733-1422 (original, reciprocal, & temporary CPA certificate/license applications, and change of status)
NC State Board of CPA Examiners
PO Box 12827
Raleigh, NC 27605-2827
Eligibility for Original NC CPA License
A person may be eligible for an original North Carolina CPA license if they
- are a citizen of the United States, or declare their intention to become a citizen,
- are a resident alien, or a citizen of a foreign jurisdiction that extends like or similar privileges to be certified;
- are at least 18 years old;
- passed all sections of the Uniform CPA Exam (Exam);
- are of good moral character;
- meet the education requirement;
- meet the work experience requirement; and
- complete an approved North Carolina accountancy law course [21 NCAC 08F .0504].
Requirements for Original CPA Licensure
Uniform CPA Examination
An applicant for certification (licensure) must have successfully passed the Exam with a score of at least 75 on each section and in accordance with 21 NCAC 08F .0105 . If an applicant did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate, they must request the transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds their Exam grades and submit an Interstate Exchange form completed by the jurisdiction in which the applicant sat for the Uniform CPA Exam. NOTE: These forms (Application for Transfer of Credit for Passing All or Part of the Uniform CPA Examination in Another Jurisdiction and Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information are included in the Original NC CPA License Application Package.) An applicant must complete the initial portion of the Authorization for Interstate Exchange of Examination and Licensure Information and forward the form to the board of accountancy where credits and/or status were established (include a self-addressed, stamped envelope). That board of accountancy will complete the remainder of the form and return it to the applicant. The applicant will then submit the completed form as part of their application for NC certification/licensure.
NCGS 93-12(5)a sets forth the education required of candidates applying for CPA certification/licensure. The 150 semester hours required include a concentration in accounting, as defined by 21 NCAC 08A .0309, and 24 semester hours of coursework which include one (1) three (3) semester hour course from at least eight (8) of the following 10 fields of study:
- computer technology;
- humanities/social science;
- international environment;
- management; or
Anyone applying for CPA certification/licensure who holds a Master’s or more advanced degree in accounting, tax law, economics, finance, business administration, or a law degree from an accredited college or university or the equivalent thereof, is in compliance with 21 NCAC 08F .0410(b). An applicant who did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate must submit an official college/university transcript (with official school seal and signature of college registrar) that shows the completion of the education requirement pursuant to NCGS 93-12(5), 21 NCAC 08A .0309, and 21 NCAC 08F .0410.
The Board will not issue a certificate/license to an applicant unless the applicant has acquired the appropriate work experience. 21 NCAC 08F .0401 requires that the work experience must be completed prior to the date an individual applies for certification (licensure). NCGS 93-12 defines work experience as:
- One year’s experience in the field of accounting under the direct supervision of a certified public accountant who currently holds a valid license in any state or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.
- Four years of experience teaching accounting in a four-year college or university accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations or in a college or university determined by the Board to have standards substantially equivalent to a regionally accredited institution.
- Four years of experience in the field of accounting.
- Four years of experience teaching college transfer accounting courses at a community college or technical institute accredited by one of the regional accrediting associations.
- Any combination of such experience determined by the Board to be substantially equivalent to the foregoing.
In calculating work experience, one year of work experience is 52 weeks of full-time employment. Full-time employment is defined as working at least 30 hours each week for at least one year. Experience affidavits for part-time work (less than 30 hours each week) must contain a record of the actual part-time hours the applicant performed accounting services only for each week of part-time employment. Actual part-time hours do not include hours paid for sick leave, vacation leave, attending CPE courses, or other time not spent directly performing accounting services. The applicant for certification (licensure) must submit to the Board experience affidavits from all of the relevant employers.
Accountancy Law Course
Within one year prior to applying for certification, all original and reciprocal certificate/license applicants must complete an eight-hour course on the North Carolina Accountancy Statutes and Rules, including the Rules of Professional Ethics and Conduct. The Board suggests that applicants meet the requirement within the last few months prior to applying for a certificate/license. The North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) [Phone (919) 469-1040 or 1-800-722-2836] course, NC Accountancy Law: Ethics, Principles, & Professional Responsibilities, is the only accountancy law course the Board accepts for CPA licensure.
Applying for Original CPA Certification/Licensure
Individuals applying for original North Carolina certification/licensure must submit the Original NC CPA License Application package including the application form; Employee Fair Classification Act (EFCA) statement, three (3) certificates of good moral character; the appropriate experience affidavits(s); proof of completion of the accountancy law course; a photo that meets US passport standards; and payment by check or credit card. The Board conducts a background check of applicants [21 NCAC 08F .0502(b)]. Under North Carolina law, traffic violations–even something like an expired automotive registration–are reported as criminal offenses on a background check. Please respond promptly when the Board contacts you about the results of your background check.
If you do not have a Master’s degree in accounting, business administration, economics, or tax law, or a juris doctor (JD) with a concentration in accounting or tax, you must complete and submit the 150-Hour Worksheet for License Applicants (included in the Original NC CPA License Application package). If you did not sit for the Exam as a North Carolina candidate, you must apply for the transfer of Exam credit from the jurisdiction that holds his or her Exam grades and submit an Interstate Exchange Form (included in the Original NC CPA License Application package).
NCGS 93B-2 requires all occupational licensing boards to record the number of license applicants who are classified as active duty military or military veteran, and the number of applicants who are the spouse of a person classified as active-duty military or military veteran. If you are active duty military, a military veteran, or the spouse of of a person classified as active-duty military or military veteran, please make the Board aware of this.
There is a $100 fee to apply for an original North Carolina CPA certificate/license. If you have questions regarding applying for original NC CPA certification/licensure, please contact Alice Grigsby.
Applying for Reciprocal CPA Certification/Licensure
The Board may issue a reciprocal CPA certificate/license to a CPA licensed to practice public accounting by another jurisdiction who resides in North Carolina or whose principal place of business is in North Carolina and who meets the statutory requirements for certification/licensure. If an individual receives a reciprocal certificate/ licensure for North Carolina, he or she is not required to maintain his or her out-of-state license, however, he or she may choose to remain active in another jurisdiction.
A CPA from another jurisdiction who now resides in North Carolina or whose principal place of business in North Carolina who desires to use the CPA title in North Carolina must apply for a reciprocal certificate (license) using the Reciprocal NC CPA License Application Package. They must furnish the Board with an affidavit signed by an official of the CPA licensing board in the jurisdiction in which the CPA is currently licensed to practice public accounting showing both the certificate/license number and that the applicant is in good standing. The applicant must provide evidence of their grades on the Exam through an affidavit signed by an official of the CPA licensing board in the jurisdiction where those grades were earned.
The Board staff automatically issues a temporary permit to practice to all reciprocal certificate/license applicants upon receipt of the reciprocal license application and fee. The Board issues the applicant a statement confirming that the individual is in good standing in the jurisdiction issuing the CPA’s certificate/license and that the individual is entitled to temporarily use the CPA title and engage in the public practice of accountancy in North Carolina for 120 days after issue or upon issuance of the individual’s reciprocal certificate (license), whichever comes first. The Board grants temporary permits to practice only to applicants for reciprocal certificates/licenses pending their qualification under 21 NCAC 08H .0101.
There is a $100 fee to apply for a reciprocal license/certificate North Carolina CPA certificate/license. If you have questions regarding reciprocal certificates/licenses or temporary permits to practice, please contact Alice Grigsby.
An international accountant must meet all requirements for North Carolina CPA certification/licensure in effect at the time their application. North Carolina has mutual recognition agreements with Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan that allow for licensure between the jurisdictions. An international accountant applying for certification/licensure as a North Carolina CPA, must contact Alice Grigsby to request an Application for Original CPA Licensure via International Qualifications Exam (IQEX).
CPA Certificate/License Fees
|NC CPA Certificate/License Fees|
|Application for Original NC CPA Certificate/License||$100.00|
|Application for Reciprocal NC CPA Certificate/License||$100.00|
|Application for Reciprocal NC CPA Certificate/License with Temporary Permit||$100.00|
|Individual NC CPA Certificate/License Renewal||$60.00|
|Reinstate NC CPA Certificate/License to Active Status from Inactive Status||$100.00|
|Reissuance of NC CPA Certificate/License from Forfeited or Revoked Status||$100.00|
|Transfer of Exam Scores Passed in another Jurisdiction||$75.00|
Members of the Military & Military Spouses
Although the requirements for the Uniform CPA Exam and CPA licensure are the same for military and non-military applicants, NCGS 93B, 21 NCAC 08F .0105, and 21 NCAC 08J .0101(g) extend specific benefits to members of the military and their spouses. Please contact the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and the US Department of Veterans Affairs for information about eligibility for assistance related to education expenses and occupational licensure.
Practice Privilege (Mobility)
An individual whose principal place of business is outside North Carolina is granted the privilege to perform or offer to perform services, whether in person or by mail, telephone or electronic means, in North Carolina as a CPA without notice to the Board, the submission of any other documentation or the payment of any fee, if the individual meets all of the following conditions:
- Holds a valid unrevoked certificate/license as a CPA or its equivalent issued by another state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia;
- Holds a valid and unrevoked license or permit to practice as a CPA issued by another state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia;
- Has passed the Exam; and
- Has not been convicted of a felony under the laws of the US, any state, a territory of the US, or the District of Columbia and has never been convicted of a crime, an essential element of which is dishonesty, deceit, or fraud unless the jurisdiction in which the individual is licensed has determined the felony or other crime has no effect on the individual’s license.
Individual Consent to Jurisdiction
An individual who qualifies for practice privilege and exercises the privilege by performing or offering to perform services as a CPA in North Carolina simultaneously consents as a condition to the grant of this privilege to:
- Comply with the laws of North Carolina, the provisions of the chapter and rules adopted by the North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners;
- Have an administrative notice of hearing served on the licensing board in the individual’s principal state of business, notwithstanding the individual notice requirements of G.S. 150B-38; and
- Be subject to personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and disciplinary authority of the Board.
If you have questions regarding the individual practice privilege, please contact Buck Winslow or Alice Grigsby. Information on the practice privilege for CPA firms is available here.