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CPA Designation Guidelines

The MACPA receives questions regarding the CPA credential and the difference between having a license in "Registered Only" status and "Active" status. See below for general guidelines.

Registered Only vs. Active License

What is "Registered Only" status?

A CPA is considered to be in "Registered Only" status in the State of Michigan if the individual still holds a CPA certificate, but does not maintain an active license by completing the yearly continuing education requirement as mandated by Michigan law.

Can I use my CPA designation even though I'm "Registered Only?"

It is okay for an individual to use the CPA designation while in "Registered Only" status, as long as they do not perform or offer to perform services that could be perceived by the public as the "practice of public accounting."  For example, while in "Registered Only" status, you may:

  • Use the CPA credential on your business card or letterhead,
  • Prepare and sign a tax return, without using the CPA designation.

As a CPA in "Registered Only" status, you cannot provide public attestation (including auditing) opinions on financial statements.

What steps must I take to return to "Active" status from "Registered Only?"

In order to regain "active" status, you must:

  • Earn 40 hours of CPE within the 12 months prior to reentry (including eight hours of accounting/auditing and two hours of ethics). When the next CPE reporting period occurs, additional CPE hours (of the 80 required) are prorated.
  • Carefully document the hours, as they are scrutinized by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
  • Then, follow the Department's paperwork process to apply for re-licensure.

How do I switch to "Registered Only" status?

You must must contact the State Board of Accountancy to have your license placed in "Registered Only" status. Simply allowing your license to lapse does NOT automatically default to "Registered Only" status. If your license lapses without maintaining a registered only status, the process of re-licensure is more difficult.

What's involved with re-licensure if I let my license lapse?

Like reentry from "Registered Only" to "Active," you must earn the same 40 hours within 12 months of re-licensure. Those hours, also like with reentry, are carefully audited. Then, when the next CPE reporting period occurs, 80 additional hours of CPE must be completed (there is no proration for re-licensure).

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