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How To Become An Enrolled Agent

Learn everything you need to know to become an Enrolled Agent in less time and for a lot less money! The guide below will explain all the steps to become an EA and provide you with a detailed study plan to pass the EA exam on your first attempt, guaranteed!

How to Become An Enrolled Agent
How to Become An Enrolled Agent


Learn the full process for how to become an Enrolled Agent (EA) – the federally authorized tax specialists licensed by the IRS to advise on tax preparation, audits, appeals, and more. This article details the EA exam, experience, continuing education, and other requirements needed to earn the highest and only credential awarded by the IRS.

What is an enrolled agent?

To grasp the path to becoming an Enrolled Agent, it’s essential to first comprehend what the role entails. An Enrolled Agent is a tax expert authorized at the federal level, having successfully cleared a stringent three-part test overseen by the IRS. Not only must EAs consistently update their tax code knowledge through ongoing education, but they also adhere to the utmost ethical guidelines.

What can an enrolled agent do?

Enrolled Agents possess a diverse set of skills to assist individuals with their tax needs. Their services include:

  • Crafting tax returns
  • Acting as representatives during tax audits
  • Managing tax appeals
  • Delivering strategic tax advice
  • Assisting with tax-related debts
  • Educating and advising on tax matters.
Requirements to become an enrolled agent

Education: No formal educational prerequisites. EAs can have varied backgrounds; the IRS values ability over academic history.

Experience: Prior work in accounting or taxes isn’t needed. It’s about mastering tax law and regulations, proven by passing the EA exam. Some opt for relevant experience before the exam, but it’s optional.

Examination: Candidates must clear the IRS Special Enrollment Examination (SEE). This test covers federal tax law and IRS practices over 3 segments: Individuals, Businesses, and Representation & Procedures. All 3 parts must be passed within 2-3 years at designated testing centers.

Suitability: EAs undergo a background check, ensuring no disqualifying past conduct. They need an annually renewed IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and must pursue continuous education to uphold their status.

What is the process for becoming an enrolled agent?

To become an EA, follow these steps:

  • Get a Preparer Tax Identification Number;
  • Purchase an EA exam prep course from EA Exam Test Bank;
  • Pass all 3 parts of the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE);*
  • Enroll; and
  • A suitability check will include tax compliance to ensure you have filed all necessary tax returns and there are no outstanding tax liabilities, as well as a criminal background check.

*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.

You can also read more on our blog, How To Become An Enrolled Agent.

What are the benefits of becoming an enrolled agent?

Earning Potential as an Enrolled Agent:

  • Enrolled agents, due to their specialized certification, generally earn more than average tax preparers. Salaries often exceed $60,000 annually and can reach above $100,000 with experience.

Career Flexibility:

  • The EA title provides career versatility. Many choose self-employment, some work seasonally, while others join CPA or tax firms that value their unique expertise.

Impact & Satisfaction:

  • EAs primarily assist clients in tax-related decisions, aiding them in securing deductions and handling IRS complexities. This role offers personal satisfaction as EAs offer clients relief and clarity.

Make a Difference:

  • EAs play a crucial role in optimizing tax situations, potentially saving clients significant amounts. They are especially vital for various groups like low-income families, seniors, and small businesses.

Study Plan to Pass the EA Exam on the First Attempt

Becoming an enrolled agent (EA) and earning the right to practice before the IRS involves passing a comprehensive exam covering all aspects of taxation. This section provides a step-by-step guide on how to become an enrolled agent and the most effective study plan to pass the EA exam on your first attempt. 

Step 1: Choose Your Strengths First

Begin by selecting the exam part where you’re most knowledgeable, whether it’s Individuals or Businesses. This initial confidence boost and experience gained will create momentum going into the next two parts. Do NOT try to take all 3 parts at the same time. Focus on one at a time.

Step 2: Skim the Study Guide
  1. Skim through the EA Exam Test Bank Study Guide. Instead of reading it cover-to-cover, understand its structure and familiarize yourself with its layout and the subjects covered on the part of the exam you are studying.
  2. Remember, while the guide is beneficial, the primary focus should be on practicing questions from the Test Bank. EA Exam Test Bank questions are real past exam questions or they mirror real exam scenarios.
  3. As you attempt Test Bank questions, full explanations and references to relevant Study Guide sections will be easily accessible. Utilize them to understand the context better for questions you answered incorrectly.
Step 3: Hands-On Practice with Test Bank Questions
  1. Start answering practice questions as soon as possible. Given that many of these originate from real past exams, they are invaluable for exam preparation.
  2. The more questions you attempt, the better your proficiency will become. The system’s AI tracking mechanism will help identify your strengths and weaknesses, streamlining your study process in future sessions.
Step 4: Your Custom Study Guide

Post diagnosis, access the Study Guide section of the EA Exam Test Bank. Here, a tailored study guide will be available, curated based on your performance in the subject covered on the part of the exam. This ensures maximum productivity in your study hours by providing content with the greatest opportunity to increase your real exam performance.

Step 5: Power Notes for Reinforcement

For topics that you’re struggling with, go through Power Notes. They will offer concise yet comprehensive explanations and content, strengthening your understanding of subjects with the most room for improvement and the highest probability of raising your actual exam score.

Step 6: Utilize Test Bank on Weakest Subject Areas

Use the vast repository of questions in the Test Bank to intensively practice on areas you’re weak in using the Subject Performance drop-down. Given that EA Exam Test Bank offers 3-5 times more questions than other providers, you’re bound to master your weak points.

Step 7: Assistance from the AI Tutor

Whenever you find yourself stuck or in need of further clarification, turn to the AI tutor. This feature will provide in-depth explanations, enhancing your comprehension. Ask the AI to provide in-depth explanations, calculations, and more.

Step 8: Mock Examinations
  1. Once you feel prepared, attempt EA Exam Test Bank Practice Exams. These practice exams are identical to the real exams you will take at a Prometric testing center. Take either a full or mini practice exam.
  2. Aim for an 80% or higher score on the EA Exam Test Bank Practice Exam. Consistently scoring in this bracket is a solid indicator that you’re well-prepared to pass the real thing.
  • Employ this approach for all three parts of the exam.
  • Remember, consistency and regular practice are your allies in this journey. Keep faith in your abilities, and success will be yours. Good luck!

Becoming An Enrolled Agent: EA Exam FAQs

How much does the Special Enrollment Examination cost?

Test fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. $203 fee per part must be paid at the time of appointment scheduling.

What is covered on the SEE?

There are three parts to the SEE:

What is the number of questions in each part of the examination?

There are 100 questions in each part of the SEE.

How much time is allowed for each part of the examination?

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.

What tax law are the EA examinations based on?

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.

Does each part of the examination have to be taken in order (Part 1 first; then Part 2; then Part 3)?

Exams can be taken in any order.

What is the maximum number of times you can take each part within a testing window?

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.

Does the examination take place all year round?

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.

How can I schedule an appointment to take the examination?

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.

What are the cancellation and rescheduling policies?

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:

  • If you reschedule at least 30 calendar days before your appointment, there is no fee
  • $35 fee if you reschedule 5 to 29 calendar days before your appointment date
  • You will be required to pay another full examination fee if you reschedule less than five calendar days before your appointment date
If I live overseas, how can I get more information or schedule an appointment by phone?

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).

How long can I carry over scores from previous exams?

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.

Is the examination open book or resource assisted?

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.

Can we have food or water in the testing room?

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.

How can I obtain my SEE results?

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.

What is the passing score for a test?

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%.

After passing all three parts of the SEE, how do I become an enrolled agent?

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.


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EA Exam Test Bank FAQs To Become An EA

Do you have a pass guarantee?

Yes, we have money back, pass, and unlimited update guarantees.

What are your pass rates?

Our pass rate is currently measured at 98% based on customer survey data.

Do you have a money back guarantee?

Yes, we have money back, pass, and unlimited update guarantees.

How does the AI work?

Our ChatGPT AI EA exam tutor is available 24/7/365 to provide instant, genius level assistance. Our Pass Bot consistently scores 100% on practice exams.

Simply say, “Can you explain the correct answer?” Or, ask in any format you desire. Ask the Pass Bot to explain in more detail, show detailed calculations, or any other question you can imagine.

The Pass Bot can understand your request without confusion and minimal input, unlike most automated systems you may have experienced.

Next, it knows the context of the materials you are studying. It knows the question you’re on, the related tax code, and more.

Finally, it also knows the conversation so you can ask follow questions.

Is the AI too good to be true?

It is not. It uses cutting ChatGPT technology that has been fine tuned for the EA exam and the content within our systems. Your magic moment with our product is the first question and response you receive from our AI.

Why do you have way more questions than everyone else?

If you want to prepare for something effectively, you need to do that exact thing. You will be faced with multiple choice questions. Taking as many new practice questions as you can is the most efficient way to pass these exams.

Allowing you to constantly access new questions gives us more accurate data about your performance.

Other programs run out of questions, repeat questions, or limit the number of practice exams you can take. With such a large pool of questions we don’t experience that issue. 

Like other programs we have all of the past exam questions published by the IRS along with carefully crafted new questions to provide you with the highest quality experience by always allowing you to access fresh content to study.

Do you provide a study plan?

Yes, we give you a dynamic study plan that tracks your progress while being designed to produce maximum results in the least amount of time spent.

Do you have an EA exam study guide?

Yes, we offer a comprehensive study guide and bundle that is perfect for students embarking on their study journey from scratch.

Additionally, we provide a Test Bank and Practice Exam package for those seeking to supplement their studies from another course.

Will I have unlimited access?

Yes, all products are unlimited use so you can study how you want.

Can I use the products over multiple testing seasons?

Yes, we have money back, pass, and unlimited update guarantees.

How is your customer service?

Customer service and your satisfaction are extremely important to us. Please feel free to contact us anytime with any questions or comments and we will respond ASAP!

How can I reach you with questions?

Simply come to eaexam.co anytime and click on Contact Us. We also allow you to contact us for any issues or feedback during study sessions without leaving those sessions.

What is included with FREE access?

You can access tons of free questions in the Test Bank, Power Notes, analytics, reporting, and even ask the AI up to 10 questions.

How long will I have free access?

Free access does not expire.

Questions On How To Become An Enrolled Agent?

Send a text message to (407) 917-0818 or click the chat icon in the lower right corner of the page.

Customer service and your satisfaction are extremely important to us. Please feel free to contact us anytime with any questions or comments and we will respond ASAP!

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Comprehensive Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide 2022-23 (Parts 1-3)

EA Exam Study Guide

Get ready to pass the IRS SEE with the 'Comprehensive Enrolled Agent Exam Study Guide (Parts 1-3).' This complete guide is carefully made for students who want to become an Enrolled Agent (EA) on their first attempt.

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