The South Carolina Board of Accountancy voted its approval to raise annual license fees starting for 2021 during a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

The vote came after the Board listened to a presentation by LLR Director Emily Farr and LLR Director of Finance and Procurement Abhijit Deshpande concerning the results of a comprehensive fee structure analysis for all 42 LLR Boards. The BOA’s budget has a current surplus of around $663,000 yet due to negative cash flow could have an estimated 2022 balance of $5,000 and run a deficit after that.

An individual application fee would rise from $50 to $75. An individual CPA license and annual renewal fee would rise from $80 to $120. In-state and out-of-state firm registration fees would rise from $50 to $75. The reinstatement fee of a certificate or license would remain at $500.

The date of the last fee increase is not known, but the BOA staff estimates the current levels have been in place at least 20 to 30 years.

Tuesday’s vote will not affect 2020 revenue, and any change is licensure fees must be approved by the General Assembly. The earliest a fee increase could go into effect is for fiscal year 2021.

The report’s data covered previous LLR expenditures for the past three to five years to support CPA license administration, investigations, IT infrastructure, and agency-wide costs. It then factored in falling rates of license renewals to project a declining cash flow.

Farr stated an intent that these projections be revisited every few years to calibrate the analysis to determine a need in further fee adjustments. A rise or decrease of future complaint investigations could also affect expenditures. The BOA agreed on the necessity to take action before there is a budget deficit and not after.

SCACPA is monitoring this situation, and we are interested in your thoughts. You can email your comments to communications@scacpa.org or call SCACPA CEO Chris Jenkins at 803.791.4181. You can also contact your local legislators to talk about possible upcoming voting on the increase.