Skip to Content

General Laws

Section 87B. The board shall grant or renew licenses to practice public accountancy to persons who make application and demonstrate their qualifications therefor in accordance with the following paragraphs:—

(a) Licenses shall be initially issued, and renewed, for periods of two years. Each such license shall expire on the last day of June of the next year following the year of issuance of renewal. Applications for such licenses shall be made in such form, and in the case of applications for renewal between such dates, as the board shall by rule specify; and the board shall grant or deny any such application no later than ninety days after the application is filed in proper form. In any case where the applicant seeks the opportunity to show that issuance of a renewal of a license was mistakenly denied, or where the board is not able to determine whether it should be granted or denied, the board may issue to the applicant a provisional license, which shall expire ninety days after its issuance or when the board determines whether or not to issue or renew the license for which application was made, whichever shall first occur.

(b) An applicant for initial issuance of a license under this section shall show that he holds a valid certificate.

(c) If an applicant has received a license which has not been renewed for at least two renewal periods the applicant will be required to complete at least one hundred and sixty hours of qualified continuing professional education within twenty-four months prior to issue, of which at least eighty hours must be in the attest function. On the subsequent renewal of the biennial license, said applicant will be given no credit for the prior said one hundred and sixty hours.

(d) The board shall issue a license to a holder of a certificate issued by another state upon a showing that:—

(1) The applicant passed the examination required for issuance of his certificate with grades that would have been passing grades at the time in the commonwealth;

(2) The applicant

(A) meets all current requirements in the commonwealth for issuance of a certificate at the time application is made; or

(B) at the time of the issuance of the applicant’s certificate in the other state, met all such requirements then applicable in the commonwealth; or

(C) had five years of experience in the practice of public accountancy or equivalent, meeting requirements prescribed by the board by rule, after passing the examination upon which his certificate was based and within the ten years immediately preceding his application; and

(3) The applicant meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of (d),

(e) An applicant for renewal of a license under this section shall show that he has fulfilled requirements of continuing professional education since the license was last renewed, or, if never renewed, first issued, of such general kinds and in such subjects and number of hours as shall have been specified by the board by rule. The board may provide by rule that fulfillment of continuing professional education requirements of other states will be accepted in lieu of the foregoing requirements. The board may also provide by rule for pro-rated continuing professional education requirements to be met by applicants whose initial licenses were issued substantially less than two years prior to the renewal date; and it may prescribe by rule special lesser requirements to be met by applicants for license renewal whose prior license lapsed substantially prior to their applications for renewal, and as to whom it would in consequence be inequitable to require a full compliance with all requirements of continuing professional education that would otherwise have been applicable to the period of lapse.

(f) The board shall, after payment of a fee, issue an initial license or renewal.

(g) Applicants for initial issuance or renewal of license under this section shall in their applications list all states and foreign countries in which they have applied for or hold certificates, licenses or foreign licenses; and each holder of or applicant for a license under this section shall notify the board in writing, within thirty days after its occurrence, of any issuance, denial, revocation or suspension of a certificate, license, or foreign license, by another state or country.

(h)(1) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a person shall not engage in the practice of certified public accountancy pursuant to paragraph (2) unless such person holds a valid license as a certified public accountant from a state that permits a certified public accountant licensed by the commonwealth to qualify for substantial equivalency and to engage in the practice of certified public accountancy in that state and have all the privileges of a certified public accountant in that state without the need to obtain a certificate or license from that state.

(2) A person whose principal place of business is outside the commonwealth shall be deemed to have qualifications substantially equivalent to the commonwealth’s requirements for the practice of public accountancy and shall be authorized to engage in the practice of certified public accountancy in the commonwealth, including offering and rendering professional services, whether in person or by mail, telephone or electronic means, if such person holds: (i) a valid license as a certified public accountant issued by any state which the National Qualification Appraisal Service of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, hereinafter referred to as the NASBA, has verified to be in substantial equivalence with the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the Uniform Accountancy Act published jointly by the NASBA and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, hereinafter referred to as the AICPA, if such state has adopted and implemented a 150 hour educational requirement as a qualification for initial licensure as a certified public accountant; or (ii) a valid license as a certified public accountant issued by any state which the National Qualification Appraisal Service of the NASBA has not verified to be in substantial equivalence with the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act, if such person has obtained, from the National Qualification Appraisal Service of the NASBA, verification that such person’s certified public accountant qualifications are substantially equivalent to the certified public accountant licensure requirements of the AICPA/NASBA Uniform Accountancy Act; provided, however, that any person who has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and holds a valid certified public accountant certificate issued by any other state prior to January 1, 2012 shall be deemed exempt from the education requirements in subsection (e) of section 87A1/2. Any person who qualifies for the practice privilege pursuant to this subsection may exercise such privilege in the commonwealth, without limitation on the period of time within which such person may so practice in the commonwealth as long as such person remains qualified pursuant to this subsection, and shall not be required to obtain a certificate or license pursuant to this section, except as provided in this subsection, submit any other notice to the board or obtain a temporary practice permit from, or pay any fee to the board.

(3) Any person holding a certified public accountant certificate from another state and engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy pursuant to this subsection, and the firm, which employs such person is acting in the commonwealth as an agent of such firm, shall be deemed to have consented to (i) the disciplinary authority of the board, and to the personal and subject matter jurisdiction of any duly authorized court of the commonwealth; (ii) compliance with this chapter and any regulation adopted by the board pursuant hereto; (iii) agree to cease offering or rendering professional services in the commonwealth personally and as an agent of a firm, if the certificate from the state of the person’s principal place of business is no longer valid, or if the certificate or license from the state of the firm’s principal place of business is no longer valid; and (iv) the appointment of the state board that issued the person’s or firm’s certificate as the person’s or firm’s agent upon which process may be served in any action or proceeding by the board.

(4) A person and a firm issued a license to practice public accountancy by the board shall be subject to disciplinary action by the board for acts or omissions related to the practice of public accountancy committed in any other state. The board may investigate any complaint concerning a Massachusetts licensee filed with the board of accountancy of any other state and shall enforce any disciplinary action taken by the board of accountancy of any other state.

(5) An individual licensee or a person engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy pursuant to paragraph (2) who is responsible for supervising, attesting to or compiling services and who signs, or authorizes another to sign, an accountant’s report on the financial statements on behalf of a firm shall meet the competency requirements set out in the professional standards for such services.

(6) A licensee or a person engaged in the practice of certified public accountancy pursuant to paragraph (2) who signs, or authorizes another to sign, an accountant’s report on financial statements on behalf of a firm shall meet the competency requirements set out in the professional standards adopted by the board of professional licensure for such services.

Error