What it takes to become an Enrolled Agent

An Enrolled Agent is the highest credential you can receive as a tax professional.  Enrolled Agents 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. Enrolled Agents make more money because of the knowledge they have and because they can earn additional money representing taxpayers before the IRS.

Becoming an enrolled agent is something that all tax professionals should aspire to do but getting ready to become one can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve outlined some steps to help you along your path to Enrolled Agent no matter where you are in your tax career.

Just starting out?

If you are just starting out as a tax preparer, you will need to gain a basic knowledge of the tax code and then build upon that knowledge by learning to prepare more complicated tax returns through continuing education.

The Income Tax School (ITS) offers courses online for people who want to learn at their own pace. We provide you with material that is easy to understand and include real world examples. All materials can be accessed online 24/7 and we even include instructor support.

There are two ways to get started as a tax professional through ITS:

  1. Our Comprehensive Tax Course – which covers the basics of preparing most business (Schedule C/Sole Proprietorships) and non-business individual tax returns.
  2. Our Chartered Tax Professional Certificate Program – which is the perfect pathway to obtaining your IRS Enrolled Agent status. This program is a series of 5 federal tax courses in individual and small business income tax preparation (including the Comprehensive Tax Course). Upon completion of the program, you should be able to take an EA review course and then sit for the EA exam.

Once you’ve gained the basic knowledge to prepare returns for the general public, you’ll want to register for your PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). You can find out more about PTINs here.

Preparing for the EA Exam

The EA exam (which is called the Special Enrollment Examination or the SEE exam) is a three-part comprehensive IRS test that covers all aspects of federal taxation. Once you have undergone the proper training and/or education to prepare all aspects of federal tax returns, it is time to start preparing for the test.

There are three parts to this exam:

  • Part 1 – Individuals
  • Part 2 – Businesses
  • Part 3 – Representation, Practices and Procedures

The IRS website posts questions and answers to old SEE exams and can be found here. This is a great starting point to gauge how much you need to study and in which areas you need to focus.

Signing up for the exam

The EA Exam is administered through Prometric. You must go through their website to locate a test center, register for the test and schedule a time to take it.

Additional EA Exam Information

National Association of Enrolled Agents

Register for and Schedule the exam

IRS Steps to Become an EA

Enrolled Agents – Frequently Asked Questions

Wherever you are in your tax career, The Income Tax School can help you gain more knowledge to help you further your career and make more money. Feel free to browse our website and use our live chat feature to ask questions.