A total of 140 unlicensed accounting firms applied for licenses under the state's temporary amnesty last year, the State Board of Accountancy said.
The state offered a one-time, six-month amnesty from July through December, allowing firms without licenses to apply for them without facing fines or penalties. Some firms simply were unaware of the licensing requirement, Katie True, commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, said in announcing the amnesty. The bureau is the division of the Department of State that oversees the accountancy board.
"The 140 applications represent 8.9 percent of the 1,578 accounting firms licensed in Pennsylvania," State Department spokesman Ronald Ruman said in an email.
All accounting firms that are not in solo practice must have licenses. Without the amnesty, they face a $500 penalty. A separate professional licensing system applies to individual certified public accountants.
The amnesty was offered only to firms that had never been licensed, Ruman said.