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September 29, 2023

If Someone In Your Family Dies, Can You Get a CPA Exam Extension?

Yes, I know you should be studying for the CPA exam and not reading Going Concern but if you're taking a quick Internet break and need some advice, knowledge and/or distractions, hit me up and I will do my best not to ruin your entire career with questionable advice. No promises, kiddo.
Hi Adrienne,
Sadly my mother passed away recently, after a few weeks in the hospital. Among everything else, this has really damaged my CPA test plan. I need to get 2 more tests done by January.
Although I highly doubt they would make an exception, have you ever heard of them granting another month or anything? 2 weeks out of 18 months isn't much and I'm sure plenty face tragedy while trying to pass the CPA exam but I wasn't sure if it was worth reaching out to my states board.
Sorry to hear about your loss, OP, I lost mine two years ago myself so I know a little about what you're going through. So I apologize in advance for anything I might be about to say that could be taken as being less than kind toward your situation, just trying to be realistic here.
There are a handful of reasons the state board might have mercy on your soul and losing a parent might be one of them. If we were talking about your 3rd cousin Earl, you'd be SOL and stuck sending a fruit basket to the funeral home in between practice MCQ but you might just get a bit of room to grieve in your particular case.
That said, it's worth noting that people die all the time (shock, I know). That's life. When you're a real CPA, you might lose clients, colleagues, neighbors and relatives and will not be given a month to cry into your pillow and eat all that food people always bring over when someone dies. Trip on this: I was actually at work when I found out my grandpa died (by text message at that). Did I get to go home? Nope, I had to finish out my time and couldn't even make it home for a funeral. Like I said, that's life. It may seem a little heartless but if you think about it from the state board's perspective, do they really have time to collect death certificates from every candidate with a sob story?
Forgive me for being skeptical here – I have no doubt you're telling the truth but you have to look at it from where they are standing. In my CPA review days, I cannot begin to tell you how many candidates I spoke to who complained that their course expired while they were grieving their mom/dad/sister/dog. Never mind that they had 9 months to start the course and didn't bother to open a book until two weeks remained, many of them expected me to be a nice person and basically give them a new course because they screwed off most of their time and may or may not have actually lost someone in the family in the last month. So, in that same spirit, I'm sure the state board has heard it all.
Still, what do you have to lose? Call them and ask. I have heard of NASBA granting extensions to candidates due to extenuating circumstances but it is usually a small amount of time and only applies to your NTS, not your rolling 18 month window to pass. But the worst the state board can tell you is no, in which case you'll have your mother's memory to push you to get your last two parts done way before your January deadline. Isn't that what she'd want you to do?
Has anyone out there gotten extra time from the state board due to a death in the family? Let us know.

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