An Enrolled Agent is a person who has earned the privilege of preparing US tax returns and also representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns.
Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. This means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before.
Follow these steps to become an EA:
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 tax compliance check to ensure that you have filed all necessary tax returns and there are no outstanding tax liabilities.
Part 1 – Individual
1. Preliminary work to prepare tax returns
2. Income and Assets
3. Deductions and Credits
4. Taxation and Advice
5. Specialized Returns for Individuals Estate (Tax and Gift Tax)
Part 2 – Business
1. Businesses (Types of Business entities and their filing requirements)
4. S Corporations
5. Business Income, Business expenses, Business Assets
6. Specialized Returns and Taxpayers (Trust, Estate, Exempt organizations, etc.)
Part 3 – Representation, Practice and Procedures
1. Practice before the IRS
2. Requirements for Enrolled Agents
3. Representation Before the IRS
4. Record Maintenance
5. Electronic Filing
Each part of the SEE contains 100 multiple choice questions of which 85 questions are graded. 15 questions are experimental questions and are not scored. Each part is 3.5 hours long.
Examinations are administered at Prometric test centers located all over the world.
You may take each part of the examination at your convenience. Parts do not have to be taken on the same day or on consecutive days. You may take examination parts up to four times each during each test window. The current test window is May 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015.
Testing is not available in the months of March and April each year while the system is updated.
You will receive a printed score report after you have completed the test. Scaled scores are determined by calculating the number of questions answered correctly from the total number of questions in the examination and converting to a scale that ranges from 40 to 130. The IRS has set the scaled passing score at 105, which corresponds to a minimum level of knowledge deemed acceptable by those persons who will be practicing before the IRS as an enrolled agent.
If you pass, the score report will show a passing designation. It will not show a score. When you pass all three parts of the examination, you may apply for enrollment.
If you fail, your score report will show a scaled score between 40 and 104.