Yellow Book

Additional Yellow Book requirements

The GAO has posted on its website additional guidance related to the Yellow Book's CPE requirements. Under generally accepted government auditing standards, auditors must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education every two years. In the past, professionals were allowed to include tax courses in fulfilling the 80-hour requirement. The new Yellow Book, however, requires that all courses must directly enhance the CPA's ability to do audit and attest work. Most, if not all, tax courses will be excluded. Many practitioners may find they need to substantially expand the number of hours they spend on CPE each year to meet this requirement. For firms with only a few Yellow Book audit or attest engagements, this may dramatically effect the firm’s cost of providing this service.

CPE programs on tax and other subjects historically counted toward meeting the 80 hour CPE requirement may no longer do so because they do not “directly” enhance the CPA’s ability to perform audit and attest services. There are a few exceptions to this rule (for example potentially not-for-profit taxation courses) but they are few and practitioners should closely read the guidance and make a professional judgment. To view the guidance go to and under "What's New" you will find Continuing Education and Training Requirements.

If you have additional questions or need further guidance, you may email the GAO at or call 202-512-9535.

As a reminder, the Society offers courses which qualify for Yellow Book credit. Click here for a complete list of classes.