February 22, 2021

2021 is a license renewal year for Illinois CPAs and CPA firms. Every three years, CPAs and CPA firms must renew their licenses and registrations with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the state licensing and regulatory agency for CPAs and other professions.  The license renewal notification process has significantly changed and is outlined throughout this document.  Licensees will no longer receive yellow post card renewal notices or a secondary paper renewal.  All renewal notices and information will be sent electronically.    

Licensed and Registered CPA Renewals—All Illinois CPA licenses and registrations expire September 30, 2021.  Licensed and registered CPAs will receive a renewal email from [email protected] from IDFPR 60 to 90 days before September 30th. It is important that IDFPR has your updated email address to receive this electronic renewal notice.  You can update your email address with IDFPR here.     

  • Emails are sent to the individual licensee’s email address. If they have entered their employer’s email address as their individual email, an email will go to the employer. Someone who registers for a license using their employer’s email address and then uses their own email when they pay for a renewal should have at least two email addresses and would receive a renewal notice at both email addresses.
  • Licensees who have previously renewed online and provided their current email address should get a renewal notice email. License and PIN are included in the email.
  • If a licensee is unable to change their email address online, they may notify the Division Call Center at 1.800.560.6420 of their updated email address and the call center will manually update their record.
  • Anyone who asks their employer to pay for an e-batch renewal needs to provide their PIN to the employer. If they did not get an email, they can do a renewal reprint which will have their PIN. If the licensees click on the “Professions in Renewal” section of the Renewal page on the website, they will see the options for their renewal.

Fees & CPE Requirements--Licensed CPAs will pay a renewal fee of $120 and must have completed 120 hours of continuing education. As in previous renewals, there is a maximum cap of 80 interactive hours and a minimum requirement of 40 live hours. Four hours must be taken in ethics with an additional one hour in prevention of sexual harassment training. Licensed CPAs renewing for the first time must renew and pay fees but are exempt from CPE requirements. Registered CPAs will pay a renewal fee of $90 and are exempt from CPE requirements for every renewal. See ICPAS CPE Guide.

Peer Review Requirements—CPA firms and sole practitioners who perform audits, and/or reviews of historical finance statements and/or examinations of prospective financial statements must undergo a peer review prior to renewal every three years as a condition for license renewal.  For more info, visit the ICPAS Peer Review webpage. 

CPA Firm Renewals—Firm licenses expire on November 30, 2021. It is uncertain at this time if firm renewals will be by paper or electronic. The firm’s license renewal is tied to each partner’s individual CPA license. It is necessary for all the partners’ licenses to be renewed before the firm’s license can be renewed.   Critical Legal Warning:  The firm license will not be renewed by IDFPR until all the “members” of the firm’s licenses are renewed and in good standing. A member of the firm performing accountancy activities in Illinois includes a “partner, shareholder in a corporation, member of a limited liability company and any other person who or which is the owner of an interest in a firm.”   The firm managing partner should closely monitor individual partner renewals at an early stage to ensure that all are in good standing before the firm application is submitted. 

The cost to renew a firm’s license is $120 for three-year period. If applicable, the firm will also need to complete the peer review requirement as outlined above. 

Seamless Renewal Process 

The Illinois CPA Society is working closely with IDFPR to ensure a seamless license renewal process. In the coming weeks, ICPAS will continue to send regulatory reminders and information on the license renewal process.  You may also wish to access our licensing section of our website for more information. 

ICPAS Takeaways

  1. Ensure all information on file with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is accurate.
  2. Ensure all continuing education requirements are completed.
  3. Renew early and on time.
  4. Late renewals are not retroactively corrected.
  5. For a CPA firm renewal, each “member” of the firm must timely renew and be in good standing before a firm license renewal is completed.
  6. CPA firms and sole practitioners must complete a peer review prior to renewal if applicable.