If you’ve always enjoyed solving puzzles and you have a keen eye for detail, becoming an IRS Enrolled Agent might be the perfect path for you. Becoming an IRS enrolled agent won’t just mean you’re more adept at filing taxes; it will also open doors for you to potentially expand your career opportunities and enable you to earn additional income. If you want to know how to become an IRS enrolled agent, this blog is for you.
What is an IRS enrolled agent?
An IRS enrolled agent is a tax practitioner authorized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled agents have unlimited practice rights, which means they can provide tax-related services to individuals, businesses, trusts, and estates in all 50 states and territories. They play a vital role in ensuring compliance with tax laws and helping clients resolve tax-related issues.
Steps to Becoming an IRS enrolled agent
- Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN): To begin your journey, you need to obtain a PTIN from the IRS. This unique identifier is required for anyone who prepares federal tax returns for compensation. You can apply for a PTIN online through the IRS website.
- Pass the EA Exam: You need to pass all three parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) within three years to become an enrolled agent. Preparing for the SEE requires dedication and a well-structured study plan. Consider the following steps to help you prepare for the exam:
- Identify the Exam Content: Familiarize yourself with the exam topics and understand the level of knowledge expected. The IRS provides a detailed examination content outline that serves as a roadmap for your studies.
- Utilize Study Materials: Invest in comprehensive study materials such as IRS-approved enrolled agent review courses, textbooks, and online resources. These materials provide in-depth coverage of the exam content and often include practice questions to help you assess your understanding.
- Practice with Sample Exams: Take advantage of sample exams and practice questions to gauge your progress and identify areas that require additional focus. Review your answers carefully, understanding the rationale behind correct and incorrect choices.
- Join Study Groups or Online Communities: Engage with fellow aspiring EAs in study groups or online communities. Collaborating with others can provide valuable insights, explanations, and support throughout your exam preparation journey.
- Apply for Enrollment: Once you have passed the SEE, it's time to apply for enrollment as an EA. Complete IRS Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, and submit it to the IRS Office of Enrollment, along with any necessary supporting documents. Be prepared for a thorough background check to ensure you meet the ethical and professional standards required of EAs.
Maintaining Your Credential
To maintain your credential, you must fulfill certain obligations:
- Continuing Professional Education (CPE): Stay updated with tax laws and regulations by completing 72 hours of CPE every three years, including 16 hours dedicated to taxation. These educational requirements ensure that EAs are knowledgeable about recent tax law changes and updates. Seek out reputable CPE providers that offer courses tailored to enrolled agents' needs.
- PTIN Renewal: Renew your PTIN annually to retain your authorization to prepare federal tax returns for compensation. Ensure that you meet the renewal deadlines and keep your contact information up to date.
- Ethical Standards: As an enrolled agent, you are bound by Treasury Department Circular 230, which outlines ethical guidelines and professional conduct expectations. Adhere to these standards to maintain your credibility and integrity as a tax professional.
Benefits of Becoming an IRS enrolled agent
Becoming an IRS enrolled agent offers a multitude of advantages that can enhance your career and professional standing in the tax industry. Here are some key benefits:
- Expanded Career Opportunities: Obtaining the enrolled agent credential opens doors to a wide range of career opportunities. With this designation, you can work as a tax consultant, tax advisor, or even establish your own tax practice. The enrolled agent credential enhances your marketability and sets you apart from other tax professionals, allowing you to serve clients with tax planning, preparation, and representation needs.
- IRS Representation: As an enrolled agent, you have the authority to represent clients before the IRS. This means you can advocate for them during audits, appeals, and collection proceedings. Your ability to communicate effectively with the IRS on behalf of your clients is a highly valued skill that can alleviate their stress and ensure fair treatment throughout the resolution process.
- Professional Credibility: The enrolled agent credential signifies your expertise and commitment to the tax profession. It instills trust and confidence in clients, as well as other professionals in the industry. By meeting the rigorous standards set by the IRS, you establish yourself as a credible and knowledgeable tax professional, enhancing your reputation and attracting a broader client base.
- Specialized Knowledge: Through the process of becoming an enrolled agent, you acquire specialized knowledge in tax laws, regulations, and procedures. This expertise allows you to provide valuable insights to clients, assisting them in minimizing tax liabilities, maximizing deductions, and ensuring compliance with ever-changing tax laws.
Becoming an IRS enrolled agent is an excellent career choice for individuals passionate about taxation and providing valuable services to taxpayers. By following the detailed steps outlined in this article, investing in your education, and staying committed to professional development, you can embark on a rewarding journey as an enrolled agent. So, take the first step, prepare diligently, and let your expertise in tax matters shine as an IRS enrolled agent.
How can Taxfyle help?
Do you want to increase your potential income? Taxfyle can help. By joining our network of Tax Pros, you can access tax filing jobs that you can pick up, file, and earn money on your desired schedule. Joining the gig economy as a credentialed IRS enrolled agent, allows you to increase your income, whether it’s as a side hustle or a full-time gig. So that way, you can pay off any loans, or save up for a vacation, or treat yourself to something you’ve wanted to buy.