By Lori Braden, PICPA Vice President, Marketing and Communications
This blog was originally posted in the last reporting cycle and has been updated for the 2020-2021 cycle.
All current Pennsylvania CPA licenses expire Dec. 31, 2021. According to the PALS website (pals.pa.gov), license renewal applications open 30 to 60 days prior to expiration. To ensure enough time for processing, it’s best to submit your renewal before Dec. 31, 2021.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy will email you a renewal notice soon (if it has not done so already). All renewals will be done through the state’s PALS website. The email from firstname.lastname@example.org will contain your username and the “registration code” for your license. (Be sure to check your junk mail or spam folder if you do not see the email in the near future.) If you don’t get one, there is an option on the login page to recover your user ID.
Log into PALS
You will need to log into the PALS website to start your renewal.
Complete the Renewal Application
Once you log in, there will be a dashboard showing your account information. Look for the “Professional License Details” panel, locate your CPA license, and click the “Renew” button to begin the renewal.
The renewal will ask you to review or complete personal information, and then will ask a series of questions for the renewal. Here are a few tips for completing the application:
- Make sure you have a valid, permanent email address listed. Most licensure correspondence from the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy is sent by email, and you do not want to miss important updates regarding your license.
- Make sure you answer all the questions. The question form is dynamic, meaning some answers will result in an additional question being displayed. For example, you will only be asked if you met the CPE requirements once you indicate that you did not pass the CPA Examination in 2020 or 2021.
- Do not indicate that you have met the CPE requirement until you have actually completed the necessary courses. If you have courses scheduled, but not yet completed, do not submit your license renewal until those courses have been taken and credit has been issued. View current CPE requirements.
- Be mindful of the questions about performing audits or reviews. When renewing your individual license, the questions about whether you performed an audit or review after Dec. 31, 2019, are specifically asking if you performed an audit or review as a sole practitioner. If you performed audit or review engagements as part of a licensed CPA firm only, then you would answer “no” to these questions.
- Read each question carefully. Do not guess on the answers, and do not ask support staff to complete this form on your behalf. False or misleading answers on this form can lead to disciplinary actions against your license.
Don’t Forget to Check Out
After you “sign” the renewal application and click “Continue,” there are several more steps to submit the renewal for processing:
- Do a final review. You have an additional chance to review your application and make changes before submission. Once you submit the application and payment, you will not be able to make any changes.
- Click the “Add to Cart” button. This will place the signed renewal application in your shopping cart.
- Select the renewal application and proceed to payment. In the shopping cart, you need to check the box in the left-most column to indicate you want to pay for that renewal and check the "All fees are nonrefundable..." box. Once you check both boxes, you will see the “Proceed to Payment” button.
- Provide payment information and complete checkout. The fee for the renewal is $100, which can be paid using any major credit card.
- After completing the submission, save a copy of your receipt and download a copy of your completed renewal application.
Monitor Your Renewal
Once you have completed and submitted your renewal application, please note that the renewal is not automatic. Processing time is needed, and if the State Board has questions about your responses it may need additional information before renewing your license.
If there are questions, you should receive follow-up communication from the state. Regardless of whether or not you receive any follow-up, it remains your responsibility to make sure your license has been renewed.
You should receive an automated email once your license is renewed, but you can verify the status of the renewal at www.pals.pa.gov/verify. If the record indicates your license expires Dec. 31, 2023, then your license has been renewed. You will receive the new license in the mail, but there is some lag time to print and mail the licenses.
The information provided here is related to your individual license renewal only. If you work for a licensed CPA firm, be sure that someone in your firm is renewing the firm license.
Visit PICPA’s license renewal page for more details and some FAQs about license renewal, or contact our team at (215) 496-9272, via email, or @PaCPAs. If you are having technical issues with the PALS website, submit a technical support request. For specific questions about your license, contact the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy at (833) 367-2762.
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