LPA stands for licensed public accountant.
It’s a rare designation that is currently only issued in 3 states: Iowa, Delaware and Minnesota. Some other states previously had an LPA designation but have since stopped issuing it.
(UPDATE 11/3/15: See the comment below from Jason Jones. The LPA is a rare designation, but the designation or some equivalent of it, is available in several other states besides Delaware, Iowa and Minnesota. See his comment for more info.)
In Iowa, one becomes an LPA by passing the 2-part Accredited Business Accountant exam. Iowa allows LPAs to practice as a public accountant and LPAs can do all of the things a CPA can do, except for audits of financial statements.
For tax purposes, the Iowa LPA designation is not recognized by the IRS (even though Part 2 of the ABA exam is devoted 100% to taxes).
LPAs are a rare breed. At the time I got my LPA designation in 2013, I was told informally that I was the 126th active LPA in the state.
For more tax and accounting terms, visit the Glossary page.
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Actually, several other states also currently offer the LPA designation: Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina (under the Accounting Practitioner, or AP designation). Montana recently closed the LPA designation to new applicants on October 1. The difference between these states and the ones you mentioned (Delaware, Iowa, and Minnesota) is that while the latter states require passage of the Accredited Business Accountant examination for licensure, the former states require passage of either two (SC) or three (OK, OR) of the four parts of the CPA examination.
Also, it is only in very few states that the LPA designation is not recognized by the IRS (Delaware and Iowa being the most notable), while the vast majority of the remaining states that have PAs (there are about 30 states, most of which are dying class states as far as PAs are concerned) are recognized by the IRS as CPAs.
Hope this helps.
Jason – thanks for the clarification. I’ve added some new text to this post.