While preparing for a well-deserved retirement, many CPAs near the end of their career question what steps should be taken to keep their State Board-issued certificate in good standing. Inactive status is a great choice for retired CPAs and is outlined within regulations under Nebraska Administrative Code (NAC) Title 288 Chapter 7 listed below:
7.003 Inactive List. Any certificate holder who has not lost his or her right to issuance or renewal of a permit and who is not actively engaged in the practice of public accountancy in this state, shall make a written application to the Board to be classified as inactive or inactive-retired, or may surrender his or her certificate to the Board. A person classified as inactive shall not be issued a permit to engage in public accountancy, nor be deemed the holder of a “live permit” as defined in Section 1-151 of the Act, but shall be issued an inactive registration for the current licensing period upon the payment of the applicable fee. Inactive registrations will be issued for each licensing period and will expire on June 30 of each period. Once inactive-retired status is approved by the Board it will remain in effect until the certificate holder makes application for change.
003.01 Inactive Registrant; Use of Disclaimer. Whenever using “Certified Public Accountant” or “CPA” with his or her name, an inactive registrant shall use the disclaimer “Inactive Registrant” in parentheses immediately after the title or abbreviation; provided, however, that a certified public accountant exercising the practice privilege pursuant to the Act and the rules of the Board shall not be required to use the disclaimer.
Our office fields many questions for those nearing retirement and understands the concerns you may have. Below are some thoughts from State Board staff:
- If you plan on retiring from your CPA firm, but plan on working part time to provide professional services and still want to hold out as a CPA, you should continue to keep your permit to practice active. To do this, you still need to complete the required Continuing Professional Education (CPE) by completing 80 hours of CPE within your two-year reporting period. Simply stay the course and keep your permit up-to-date as you have before.
- Another area of concern for Board staff is when a CPA owner of a firm decides to retire and go to an Inactive Registration status or Inactive Retired status. Small CPA firms need to be aware that if a CPA owner retires, the firm must continue to have at least two active CPAs as owners to keep the firm in compliance.
- However, if you plan on a traditional retirement on the golf course or the beach, you can choose to place your Certificate in an Inactive Retired status. You must be 60 years of age and not provide professional services. You can continue to use the CPA designation as long as you disclose that you are Inactive Retired. Your Board knows you have worked hard to get to this status and chose not to charge any fees for this status. The good news is if, while in this status, you choose to go back to work and call yourself a CPA, you can complete 120 hours of CPE within the last three years and reinstate to an Active status as a CPA. You can also choose to surrender your Certificate.
- We are often asked by those in Inactive Retired status, what kind of services they can provide. Basically, to remain in “safe harbor,” you cannot provide professional services while holding out as a CPA. It is best to explain to those who want you to join volunteer boards and/or other organizations that you are in Inactive Retired CPA status and cannot hold out as a CPA while providing services to the organization. Of course, it is still important you volunteer and provide assistance!
I wanted to touch on this subject as many of you are nearing retirement and understand you may have many questions and/or concerns. Please take care and stay safe, and do not hesitate to contact the Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy office with any questions regarding your status as a CPA.