September 2023 - Regulatory Update

New Texas CPA Exam Rules Taking Shape

By Kenneth Besserman
Director of Government Affairs and Special Counsel

September 14, 2023

AUSTIN - This session, TXCPA successfully worked and lobbied to pass legislation allowing candidates to begin to take the CPA Exam after completing 120 semester hours. Senate Bill 159 became effective on September 1, 2023. Texas CPA candidates now have the ability to begin taking the CPA Exam earlier in their accounting education career and Texas candidates now have the same opportunity to test earlier as in 48 other states.

In July 2023, the State Board adopted emergency rules, effective for September 1, 2023, to allow students to begin taking the CPA Exam after completing 120 semester hours and 21 hours of upper-level accounting coursework. The emergency rules will be in effect for 120 days until the state board adopts permanent rules. TXCPA is actively engaged in the Board rules process to make sure that the rules adequately address students’ abilities and desire to begin testing after 120 hours.

TXCPA has been working very closely with educators, members, Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) board members and staff on the new rules to implement SB 159 and other initiatives to aid student candidates. TXCPA’s main goal is to give students a clear understanding of the path to begin the CPA Exam and TXCPA has submitted comments to the State Board relating to the new legislation.

As a result of TXCPA’s comments, and comments from others, the State Board Rules Committee has decided to pause the adoption of rules. The Qualifications Committee will take a close look at comments and develop some new language to address concerns. You can see TXCPA’s comment letter here.

If you have an interest in listening to the Qualifications Committee and learning more about the proposed rules to allow students to begin testing at 120 semester hours, we encourage you to listen to the hearing. The hearing is scheduled for September 22 at 1 p.m. (CT)

To further address the pipeline, the State Board has passed a rule that will extend examination credits from 18 months to 30 months. TXCPA was influential with NASBA and AICPA in advocating for an extension of time to enable more students to complete their testing. The State Board has adopted the rule, which will be become effective in October.

In addition, the Qualifications Committee has adopted (the full board will adopt at a later date) a program designed to restore examination credit to those candidates who had to drop out of testing during the pandemic (for those who lost credit between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 1, 2024).

The program, the Applicant Reassessment Program, will allow those candidates (over 1,900 according to the State Board) to apply for an additional 18 months of credit if they were impacted by the pandemic. The proposed program and rules can be found here.




Your TXCPA membership has not been renewed for 2024 -2025. Renew now.