2018 is a license renewal year for Illinois CPAs, CPA firms, and professional service corporations. 
The license renewal notification process has significantly changed. 

Learn more here



Licenses are renewed on a three-year cycle set by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the licensing body for CPAs in Illinois. The current renewal cycle ends Sept. 30, 2018.

In 2006, it became law that in order for anyone to hold themselves out as a CPA to the public in Illinois, they must have an active license or registration with the IDFPR. 

Anyone not having applied for a registration before June 30, 2012 or obtaining the CPA credential after June 30, 2012 is required to obtain a full CPA license, as the Registered CPA category is no longer available for new applicants.

CPA Certification and Licensure Brochure (PDF)

Licensed CPAs


  1. May use the "CPA" designation
  2. Can perform accountancy activities
  3. Must complete 120 hours of CPE every three years (including 4 hours of ethics taken from an approved sponsor)
  4. Are exempt from the requirement to take an Annual Federal Tax Refresher course to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.

An individual license and a license for all firms are required. An individual license is all that is required for a sole practitioner, unless the firm name suggests the firm consists of more than one person (such as "and associates" or "and company").

For further information on the use of the CPA (Inactive), Licensed CPA or Registered CPA titles see the Illinois Public Accounting Act FAQs 2013 (PDF).

Registered CPA Designation

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation stopped accepting new applications for the "Registered CPA" category on June 30, 2012. All active registrations as of that date will be grandfathered and renewable for life.

Registered CPAs have to renew every 3 years with IDFPR in order to stay in compliance. The last renewal cycle ended Sept. 30, 2015, and the next renewal cycle will end Sept. 30, 2018.

Actively Registered CPAs

  1. May use the "CPA" designation
  2. Can perform accountancy activities except for attestation services (audits and reviews)
  3. Do not have a CPE requirement
  4. Are not exempt from the requirement to take an Annual Federal Tax Refresher course to participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program. IRS Letter regarding Registered CPAs.


The purpose of the "CPA(inactive)" title is to allow CPAs who do not perform accountancy activities but wish to continue using the CPA title to continue to do so provided they use "CPA(inactive)." It may be used for CPAs to continue volunteer services with charities and nonprofit organizations. It will allow for service on a volunteer board providing 1) the term CPA(inactive) is used, 2) appropriate disclosures to the board and respective committees are made regarding the CPA(inactive) designation, and 3) the service is not as an Audit Committee Financial Expert as defined in Section 407 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

A licensed or registered CPA whose license is active and unencumbered must notify IDFPR in writing to request that their license or registration be placed on an inactive status, thus allowing the use of CPA(inactive). CPA(inactive)s are excused from payment of renewal fees. The license or registration can always be restored from the inactive status by completing the proper restoration applications with IDFPR along with payment of applicable fees and completion of CPE for licensed CPAs.


Questions, comments, feedback

Jill Loeser
Manager, Government Relations | 312.517.7671