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Rules & Certification Frequently Asked Questions

Certificate renewal

I am applying for my initial certificate. How does the new renewal cycle affect me?

Your initial CPA certificate is valid through the following Dec. 31 of that year, at which time it will expire and you will need to renew. Renew your CPA certificate annually going forward.

What if I miss the Dec. 31 deadline?

Missing this deadline means you are out of compliance with the BOA. It’s as simple as that. Holding yourself out as a CPA when you haven’t properly renewed puts both yourself and your firm at a huge liability risk. At the very least, you will be subject to BOA fines once you do get around to renewing.

What if my last name changes?

Contact the BOA in writing within 30 days of a legal name change.

What is a certificate status?

All CPA certificates, which are issued by the Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA), have a status. Your certificate status is based on the type of certificate you hold. The two most common status types are active and inactive. Which status you choose determines how you can use the credential.

Active: Holding an active certificate requires a CPA to maintain 120 hours of CPE over a rolling three-year period. Active CPAs are allowed to use the credential without restriction. Renew your active CPA certificate annually. 

Inactive: Those holding an inactive certificate do not have a CPE requirement, although they must still renew their certificate annually. Use of the credential must be followed by ‘inactive’ as a modifier. Example: Jane Doe, CPA (inactive) 

Revoked: A certificate is revoked by the BOA after a CPA fails to renew for more than two years.

How do I know what my certificate status is?

CPA certification is public information available on the Minnesota Board of Accountancy’s (BOA) website. Conducting a search will tell you a CPA’s certificate number, status, license date, and when their certificate expires.

Active vs. inactive certificates

How can I change my certificate status?

Inactive to active: 
You can go from an inactive to active certificate at any time during the calendar year, provided you have taken 120 CPE hours over the past three years. You will need to submit a CPE Reporting Form as well as the fees associated with your status change.

Active to inactive: 
A change to the inactive status is effective Jan. 1 following submission of a renewal or status change form to the BOA between early fall and Dec. 31. Your CPE credits must be in compliance as of June 30 of the previous three-year CPE reporting period to be eligible to make the switch.

I work in industry and prepare a few tax returns each year to earn a little extra income. Do I need an active CPA certificate?

You will need an active certificate if you meet any of the situations described in Minnesota Rules 1105.2500 (c) (5). Those situations are:

  • If you are an employee of a firm granted a CPA firm permit under Minnesota Statutes, section 326A.05.
  • If you issue compilation reports other than through a CPA firm.
  • If you use the titles certified public accountant or CPA without “inactive” adjacent to the title.
  • If you are an employee of the Office of the Legislative Auditor or State Auditor.

VIEW DETAILS COMPARING ACTIVE AND INACTIVE CERTIFICATE STATUS.

Why did I not receive a license card for my Minnesota CPA certificate?

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy (BOA) no longer issues paper license cards to CPAs. The reasons for discontinuing the cards are cost savings and public safety. The license card is not proof of licensure. Wallet cards can be lost or stolen and increase the possibility of fraud. In addition, the card carries an assumption that the holder's license status is current as indicated on the card. In reality, the information on the card is only as current as the day it was printed. The certificate holder's license may be suspended, revoked or have other discipline imposed upon it that the paper card does not reflect.

Verification of licensure can be done via the BOA's website.

CPE reporting and record keeping

When do I report my CPE hours to the Board of Accountancy?

Report your CPE hours to the BOA by Dec. 31 for the three-year period ending June 30.
 

How do I report my CPE hours to the Board of Accountancy?

For those with an active CPA certificate, the Minnesota Board of Accountancy requires that you fill out an online form each year listing all CPE credits for the past three years (ending June 30), including ethics credits.

For the CPE year ending June 30, the BOA's CPE online reporting form opens the preceding Jan. 1. For example, for the CPE year ending June 30, 2021, CPAs may begin to enter their CPE credits into the BOA's online form on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

What documentation do I need to retain for CPE courses attended?

If you attend a course from a sponsor on the Minnesota BOA-approved list, you must retain the Certificate of Attendance. The BOA accepts the MNCPA transcript as official documentation. 

If you attend a course from a sponsor NOT on the BOA-approved list, you must retain the following:

Certificate of attendance/completion indicating:

  • Sponsor name and contact information
  • Program title, date and location
  • Description of the program content
  • Type of instructional/delivery method
  • Number of CPE credits earned

Plus:

  • Copy of the detailed, timed agenda
  • Statement written by you describing how the program contributes to your professional knowledge and competence
CPE RECORDS AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION 

Do I need to submit any documentation (i.e. transcripts, certificates of attendance, etc.) when I report my CPE?

No, you only need to submit supporting documentation if you’re selected for an audit.

If the reporting deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, what happens?

If a due date falls on a weekend, the due date is not extended to the next business day.

What happens if I don’t report my CPE by the reporting deadline?

Even if you have the required CPE hours, failure to report is a violation of 1105.3000 (E) and is cause for possible disciplinary action. You will also be required to pay a fee for failure to report. Individuals reporting after the deadline will not be allowed to submit hours online. Submission must come in the form of written notification of CPE compliance (a paper CPE reporting form) to the BOA, along with a check for payment of the appropriate CPE non-compliance fees.

If I hold an inactive certificate, do I need to report CPE?

No, but you do need to renew your inactive CPA certificate through the BOA annually by Dec. 31.

How do I receive my CPE credits and proof of attendance for a webinar?

Webinar CPE credits are issued by the sponsor. Each webinar sponsor has a different method for making earned credits available to attendees. Common methods include emailing a certificate of completion to all attendees or enabling online access to the certificate.

Receiving proof of attendance by webinar sponsor

AICPA
BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS’ NETWORK, INC. (ACPEN) 
CALCPA EDUCATION FOUNDATION 
CPA CROSSINGS, LLC 
K2 ENTERPRISES 
MINNESOTA SOCIETY OF CPAS (MNCPA) 
SURGENT