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Becoming an enrolled agent requires some EA exam prep in order to pass 3 parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE). In this article, you will learn everything you need to know to earn your EA designation from the IRS.
An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), enrolled agents are generally free to represent a wide range of taxpayers, handle a variety of tax matters, and represent clients before any IRS office.
To become an EA, follow these steps:
*Some former IRS employees may be exempt from the exam requirement due to their past technical experience.
To get started, review the EA exam prep Candidate Information Bulletin.
Test fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. $203 fee per part must be paid at the time of appointment scheduling.
An overdue tax return that has not been filed or unpaid taxes unless acceptable payment arrangements have been made.
Circular 230, Sections 10.5(d)(1) and 10.51, explain the suitability requirements in detail.
A conviction for a felony under federal tax laws or a conviction for dishonesty or a breach of trust less than ten years old, in general.
For a complete EA exam prep explanation of the suitability requirements, see Circular 230, Sections 10.5(d)(1) and 10.51.
Generally, enrolled agents must obtain a minimum of 72 hours per enrollment cycle (every three years). Enrolled agents are required to complete 16 hours of continuing education per year, of which two must be on ethics. CE providers must be IRS-approved.
There are three parts to the SEE:
There are 100 questions in each part of the SEE.
Each part requires the 100 questions to be answered within 3.5 hours. The actual seat time is 4 hours as there will be a tutorial, a survey, and a scheduled 15-minute break for each part.
When studying for the examination, one may find it helpful to consult Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Department Circular 230, current and previous year IRS publications and forms, instructions, and materials are all good EA exam prep. All of these are available online at IRS.gov.
Additionally, the internet holds a variety of commercially available EA exam preparation courses for taking the SEE. EA Exam Test Bank is a great EA exam prep program to help ensure you pass each exam on the very first attempt.
Visit Prometric’s website for helpful EA exam prep resources to help you obtain the success you desire on your EA exams. These include a computer-based test tutorial, a video explanation of what happens at the test center, regulations and best of all, a ‘Test Drive’ – which is free and provides a full simulation experience that includes scheduling an appointment, going through security checks and taking a 15-minute practice exam.
The simple answer is the tax law used to file your personal or business tax returns. So, any tax law passed by December 31 in the previous year unless otherwise stated. All questions refer to the previous calendar year, unless otherwise stated. Questions containing the term “current year” refer to the previous calendar year. Candidates should not take into account any legislation or court decisions after December 31 of the previous year when answering questions.
Exams can be taken in any order.
The testing window runs from May 1 to the end of February, and each exam part may be taken four times. With the correct EA exam prep you should pass each on the first attempt.
Tests are offered from May 1 to the end of February of the following year. They are not offered during the annual blackout period in March and April when the exams are reviewed and updated.
It is possible to schedule an examination appointment either through Prometric.com/see, by calling 800-306-3926 (toll-free) or 443-751-4193 (toll) on weekdays between 8am and 9pm ET, or by completing Form 2587. Payment for the exam must be made at this time and MasterCard, Visa, and American Express are all accepted. For those using Prometric.com/see to register, you must create a user profile first – refer to the “What’s New” job aid for more information on this step.
Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, a confirmation number will be sent. Make sure to save it, as it will be needed if you ever need to reschedule, cancel or change your appointment. If you booked online, you’ll receive an email with the date, time and location of your exam, as well as the examination name and confirmation number – please check for accuracy. If there is any mistake, contact Prometric on either 800-306-3926 (free) or 443-751-4193 (toll), Monday – Friday between 8 am and 9 pm Eastern Time. There is no need to take each part of the examination on the same day – you can take them in any order at your leisure up to four times within the current test window which runs from May 1st through February 28th. Please note that testing is unavailable during March and April due to maintenance on the examination. The fee for each exam is $203. Most EA exam prep courses include updates if it takes you more than a year to pass all 3 parts.
You must wait 24 hours before scheduling another appointment for the same exam part if you fail it. However, you can schedule another appointment for another exam part without waiting.
It is possible to reschedule your appointment online or by phone. You will need your confirmation number in order to do so. You can contact Prometric online or by calling 800-306-3926 (toll-free) or 443-751-4193 (toll) on weekdays between 8am and 9pm ET.
Generally, cancellations will not be refunded. Rescheduling fees will apply as follows:
You can reschedule an appointment online at Prometric.com/see or by calling 800-306-3926 (toll-free) or 443-751-4193 (toll), Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (ET). If you miss your appointment or arrive 30 minutes or more late, you will forfeit your entire fee.
Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) international testing is available for the dates and locations below. Candidates can schedule their exams online or call 800-306-3926 (toll-free) or +1 443-751-4193 (toll), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. (ET).
In order to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of SEE candidates and Prometric test center staff, all international testing information is subject to change.
|Jan 24 – Feb 3, 2023
|Feb 4 – 11, 2023
|Feb 13 – 14, 2023
|Jun 5 – 16, 2023
|Jun 17 – 23, 2023
New Delhi, India
A passing score can generally be carried over for two years from the date the candidate passed that part of the examination. Due to the global pandemic, the two-year testing period has been extended to three years in order to provide candidates with flexibility in testing while allowing more time for EA exam prep.
Candidates who pass a part of the examination can retain passing scores for up to three years from the date that section was cleared. For instance, if a candidate passed Part 1 on November 15, 2020 and then Part 2 on February 15, 2021, they have until November 15, 2023 to clear the last part or lose credit for Part 1. The same applies for Part 2: if not completed by February 15, 2024, credit cannot be awarded.
There will be paper, pencils, and calculators provided at the test site. Personal items must be stored in a locker and cannot be taken into the testing room. It is a closed book exam and no EA exam prep materials are allowed in during the test. Candidates not scheduled to take the test cannot wait in the test center. We have published a complete list of test center rules for your reference.
You cannot bring in an EA exam prep materials and food and water are also not permitted. There are three reasons for avoiding food and water in the testing room. First, it reduces the chances of cheating. Second, it avoids possible damage to computer equipment from spills. Third, it can distract other test takers. Candidates may take breaks to access the test center’s water fountain and store bottled water and food in their lockers.
If you need to wear glasses, you will be asked to remove them for visual inspection to make sure they don’t include any recording devices. Larger jewelry pieces are not allowed in the testing room due to potential concealed recording devices, other than wedding and engagement rings and small stud earrings. The inspections, which take only a few moments, will occur during check-in and also every time you return from breaks before entering the testing room so as to abide by security protocol. Ties, bow ties, and hair accessories are subject to scrutiny. Please do not bring ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, tie clips, cufflinks or any other type of accessory as you may not be able to wear them into the testing area and will have to store them in your locker.
A pass/fail message will appear on your computer screen. Your test score is confidential and will only be accessible by you and the IRS.
Here are the instructions for printing your score report:
Call 800-306-3926 (toll-free) or 443-751-4193 (toll) Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (ET) if you need assistance finding your confirmation number or printing your score report.
It is also possible to obtain score reports from prior test attempts by entering the required information as explained above.
Following a scoring study, the IRS determined the scoring methodology. The scaled passing score for candidates who meet the minimum qualifications for becoming an Enrolled Agent has been determined by a panel of subject matter experts consisting of Enrolled Agents and IRS representatives. The scaled passing score is 105 out of 150 points or ~73%.
The IRS has set a scaled passing score of 105. You’ll be given a scaled score indicating how close you are to succeeding; anything from 45 to 104 shows how far off you are from the goal. As well, diagnostic information is available to help with future studying.
If you pass, the score report will show a passing designation. It will not show a score. A passing score indicates that a candidate is qualified, not how qualified. Furthermore, you will receive diagnostic information which may indicate areas where you need to continue your education based on your performance.
After passing the third examination part, you must apply for enrollment within one year.
Pay.gov allows you to apply electronically for enrollment and pay the $140 enrollment fee securely.
A completed Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice before the IRS, along with a check for $140, can also be submitted by mail.
If you are a former IRS employee, please allow 90-120 days for processing.
The IRS will conduct a suitability check on your enrollment application, which will include a review of your personal tax compliance and criminal history.
For Form 23 – Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the IRS – it typically takes 60 days for processing (90-120 days for former IRS employees). If you haven’t received a response after 60 days, please contact [email protected] and include your full name and address or call 855-472-5540, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
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