- What is an Enrolled Agent?
- What does the term “Enrolled Agent” mean?
- How does one become an Enrolled Agent?
- How do I take the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)?
- What materials should I study to get ready for the SEE?
- How do EAs differ from other tax practitioners?
- What are the advantages to being an Enrolled Agent?
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections and appeals. return to top
“Enrolled” means to be licensed by the Federal Government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in place of the taxpayer before the IRS. The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department. return to top
The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination 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. EAs must complete at least 72 hours of continuing professional education every three years to meet IRS requirements and retain their license.
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. return to top
Previously, the IRS administered the four-part exam nationwide on the same two days for all test sites. Now, an applicant can take the new three-part exam online, and it’s administered by Thomson Prometric, an IRS– contracted company. Applicants must:
apply for the SEE;
achieve passing scores on all parts of the SEE;
apply for enrollment; and
pass a background check to ensure they have not engaged in any conduct that would justify the suspension or disbarment of an attorney, CPA, or Enrolled Agent from practice before the IRS.
For current information about the SEE, see the IRS news article that discusses transition rules to the new SEE, and a brochure recently released by Thomson Prometric (click here then click on “Enrolled Agent Candidate Information Bulletin” near the bottom of the page); this 24 page booklet thoroughly covers: registering and scheduling your exam appointment; preparing for your exam; taking your exam; applying for enrollment; exam topics; and the application form and instructions. return to top
The IRS publishes comprehensive question and answer guides to previous years’ SEE exams, which are invaluable resources for studying. The IRS Enrolled Agent page is a great reference for all the material and subjects that are covered in the SEE. The IRS also provides you with useful links on how to sign up for the exam, where to take the exam, and just about anything else you would ever need to know about the SEE.
You can order the EA Exam Self Study Course , which includes practice exams, from Thomas Tax Seminars; don’t order these materials if you plan to take the VASEA SEE Prep Course because the home study course is provided as part of your registration materials. You also can view the list of organizations that use Thomas materials to teach the preparatory course for the SEE, including VASEA. Details on the VASEA SEE Prep Course can be found on our Tax Seminars page. return to top
EAs are the only practitioners licensed by the federal government as representatives for taxpayers. CPAs and attorneys, who do not necessarily specialize in tax matters, are licensed by the states. The SEE test covers three parts: Part I Individuals; Part II Businesses; and Part III Representation, Practice, and Procedures. Fewer that one-third of the applicants taking the SEE have passed, making rigorous self-study and review essential. return to top
There are several. First, is your increased knowledge that is an added value to your clients. Also, you can handle audits before the IRS without the client present. As an EA, you also can represent your client in proceedings before appeals and collections.