How To Become An IRS Enrolled Agent

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How to become an IRS enrolled agent

For many looking to add to their accounting credentials, becoming an IRS enrolled agent could allow for more career opportunities. By becoming an EA, individuals are federally-authorized tax practitioners. 

If you’re interested in becoming one yourself, here’s important information you need to know about becoming an IRS enrolled agent. 

What is an enrolled agent? 

An enrolled agent is a person who has obtained the right to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and CPAs, are typically unlimited in who they may represent, what sorts of tax cases they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.

According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, there are more than 50,000 practicing EAs in the United States.

Fun fact: The position of enrolled agents were created to combat fraud following the Civil War. 

What are the steps to become an enrolled agent?

  1. Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number;
  2. Apply to take the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE);
  3. Achieve passing scores on all 3 parts of the SEE;
  4. Apply for enrollment; and
  5. Pass a suitability check, which will include tax compliance to ensure that you have filed all necessary tax returns and there are no outstanding tax liabilities; and criminal background

How to get your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

The IRS Tax Professional PTIN System is available at http://www.irs.gov/ptin. Once online, you will need to: 

• Create Your Account — Provide your name, email address, and security question information. The system will then email you a temporary password, which you will change when you go back to enter your information in the PTIN application. 

• Apply for Your PTIN — Complete the online application by providing personal information, information about your previous year’s tax return, professional credentials, and more. 

• Get Your PTIN —Your PTIN will be provided online. 

It takes about 15 minutes to sign up online and receive your PTIN. If you opt to use the paper application, Form W-12 IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) Application, it will take 4-6 weeks to process. 

PTIN renewal PTINs must be renewed annually by December 31 for the following year. Renewal Open Season usually begins each year in mid-October.

What is the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE)?

Individuals who want to work for the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Agent must take and pass the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). The SEE is a three-part comprehensive test. The tests comprise of three parts: Individuals; Businesses; and Representation, Practices, and Procedures). Each part of the exam may be taken in any sequence by candidates. To apply for enrollment, prospective Enrolled Agents must pass all three exam components within a two-year period. The steps are as follows.

There is a $203 fee per part paid at the time of appointment scheduling. The test fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. Each part of the SEE contains 100 questions, and they take 3.5 hours to complete.

What type of continuing education do enrolled agents need to follow? 

Generally, enrolled agents must obtain a minimum of 72 hours per enrollment cycle (every three years). A minimum of 16 hours must be earned per year, two of which must be on ethics. Enrolled agents must use an IRS-approved continuing education provider. 

Once you become an EA, your tax filing opportunities may begin. At Taxfyle, we have a team of EAs and CPAs across the country who help individuals, small businesses, and accounting firms manage their tax needs. Signing up is simple and once you become one of our Pros, you’re open to year-round opportunities to find jobs and earn more money. 

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