CPA Exam Fees: Careful Scheduling Reduces Risk of Forfeiting

Uniform CPA Examination fees will probably cost around $1,000 for your application and for the four section tests, but keep in mind that is a ballpark figure and the total may vary depending on your state.

The CPA exam initial application fee typically costs between $100 and $200 depending on the state, but the first-time application fee may start as low as $30.

Many State Accountancy Boards use the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) fee schedule, which currently totals $729.08 for all four sections, but some states charge more. States may charge examination fees ranging between $175 and $250 per section.

Current NASBA costs for each section are:

  • AUD $192.03
  • FAR $192.03
  • REG $172.51
  • BEC $172.51

Make sure to base your CPA exam budget on your own state’s fees. You can check out your state here on NASBA’s website at State Services and Fees.

Statistics Suggest Budgeting a Retake

Recognizing that pass rate levels historically average about 45 percent to 50 percent per section, you may want your EPA Exam fees budget to include the cost of retaking one or two sections. When you apply to retake a section, you will have to pay a registration fee that will probably be lower than your initial application fee. You will pay the regular section exam fee again.

You’ll want to avoid forfeiting CPA exam fees, so pay attention to scheduling deadlines. Most states gives you 90 days to decide which sections you want to sit for after you receive your Authorization to Test from your State Board. You forfeit your application if you don’t pay exam fees within this 90-day period.

Next up on your calendar is the Notices to Schedule (NTS) validation period. Most states give you six months to schedule and take examination sections, but eight states do not. Those states are California, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

NASBA advises applying for a section of the examination only if you plan to take it within the six-month window. NASBA does not refund fees if you withdraw from the examination, and you will forfeit fees for any tests you do not take. Under extreme circumstances, you may use the Exception to Policy Form to ask for an NTS extension or partial refund of examination fees.

Choices May Hold Down Fees

Many CPA candidates find they pay less in exam fees if they initially schedule and pay for two sections and then reapply for the next two sections later instead of paying for all four sections during that first NTS period.

You are allowed to reschedule exams. You will pay no penalty if you reschedule 30 days or more before your test date. If you wait until five to 30 days in advance, you will pay a $35 rescheduling fee. Rescheduling one to five days in advance means you will incur the full exam price. You may not reschedule if you decide to change your exam date less than 24 hours in advance. At that point, you will have to reapply.

You should plan on two additional costs that are not strictly CPA exam fees. Most states require you to pass a separate ethics exam after passing the CPA exam, and most use the AICPA exam that costs about $132. The final cost in securing your CPA designation will be your state’s CPA licensing fee. The price will range between $50 and $300.

Pages 19 and 20 of NASBA’s The Candidate Bulletin outline CPA exam fees in more detail.