The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination (SEE) that covers all aspects of the Tax Code, or by having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS. All candidates must also have a PTIN prior to the three part exam.
Steps to becoming an enrolled agent:
- Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
- Visit Prometric’s Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) web page to schedule your test appointments, review the SEE Candidate Information Bulletin, sample test questions, and other test preparation resources. Achieve passing scores on all three parts of the SEE* within two years.
- Apply for enrollment and pay enrollment fee electronically at Pay.gov or by downloading Form 23 and mailing the completed form and a check to the IRS.
- 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.
*Certain IRS employees, by virtue of past technical experience, are exempt from the exam requirement.
About the SEE
The exam is broken down into three parts:
- Businesses and Representation
- Practice and Procedures
How to Prep for the SEE
There are numerous resources available to help you succeed when taking the SEE. For a full list click here.
Taking the SEE
The exam is offered every month excluding March and April.
The parts of the exam do not need to be taken all at once, or even in order, but you must take all three parts within two years.
Prometric administers the exam. Information on registering, and the testing experience can be found here.
Virginia SEE Prep Courses
Check with Hampton Roads Chapter.
You passed! Now what?
You must apply for enrollment using Form 23 and undergo an extensive background check.
Enrolled agents must obtain a minimum of 72 hours per enrollment cycle (every three years). Additionally, they must also obtain a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education (including 2 hours of ethics or professional conduct) each enrollment year.
EA members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education each year (six more per year than IRS requires) in the interpretation, application and administration of federal and state tax laws and ethics in order to maintain membership in the organization.