If you are willing to specialize in the tax domain, an Enrolled Agent (EA) certification is a significantly rewarding professional credential to build up your career. Being an EA, you will have tremendous opportunities to boost your career and earning potential. Once you have taken the decision to pursue the EA course, you might want to know the steps to complete your EA sojourn. Here, we are going to discuss the 10-step guide to help you learn the entire procedure to become an EA.
Understanding the EA Certification
An EA is a licensed tax professional Under the US federal government who is endorsed to represent the taxpayers in all tax related matters in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They are, thus, privileged technical experts to handle matters related to collections, examination, audits, appeals, etc. which come under the purview of the IRS.
The clientele of EAs covers individuals, corporations, estates, partnerships, trusts, NGOs, and many more. The U.S. Department of Treasury grants EAs unlimited representative rights before all administrative levels of the IRS. Therefore, the EA credential carries significance. Of course, this privilege comes after you meet the EA requirements and pass the EA exam. Furthermore, being the holder of a federal license, EAs can work across the states as well.
Benefits of being an EA
In a clear distinction, EAs possess unlimited representation rights before the IRS than a non-EA tax preparer at the national level. When people want an accredited tax professional, EAs are the ultimate option to serve the purpose at the multi-state level.
EAs in Comparison to Other Certifications
The nearest neighbour certification of EA is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) having more opportunities and potential. But CPA has more stringent requirements to sit for the 4-part relatively tough CPA exam. Besides that, to get a CPA license, mere passing the exam is not enough, one must take a separate exam for the licensure process. EA, on the other, is a simpler single-window process of passing the exam and obtaining the license at the same time.
Cost, Duration, and Pass Rate
All 3 above parameters are much better and affordable in comparison to other international finance/accounting courses.
Obtaining a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
This is the first procedural step to becoming an EA. This can be generated through online application in specific format furnishing required information at the IRS website. The approximate time to get the PTIN is about 6 weeks and after obtaining it, the PTIN has to be renewed on annual basis.
The EA Exam (SEE)
The EA exam known as Special Enrolment Exam (SEE) has the following 3 parts which can be taken in any order.
- Representation, Practices, and Procedures.
Each part of the EA exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). However, the IRS does not score all these questions. Instead, they only score 85 of the 100 MCQs. The other 15 MCQs are considered experimental and not counted in your score. You will have 3.5 hours to take each exam part. As you think about when and how you will prepare for the exam, you should also know about the defined testing window. You can only take the EA exam between May 1 and February 28 of the following year.
Selection of a Review Course/Study Partner with a Study Plan
EA exam preparation is most proficiently done with the help of good study material with an add-on mentoring system. Mind it, it is critical passing the EA exam on the first attempt. For example, the Uplift-Gleim EA package having Gleim EA review supported with live online classes by seasoned EA faculties can be a good economic option.
Scheduling the EA Exam.
Once you got confidence in your preparation, you go for booking your exam slot at your nearest Prometric Centre. For this, first, you must register yourself at Prometric ( https://www.prometric.com/test-takers/search/irs) and create your account. Next, you can log in to your account to schedule your exam (date, time, etc.) completed by paying the exam fees. You will receive the confirmation mail in your registered Email ID.
Enrolment after Exam
Upon passing the EA exam, the next step is to apply for enrolment to the IRS within 1 year of passing the 3 exam parts and you will be notified within 60 days. An important part of this process is the background check. With no dues left in your tax returns.
Maintaining the EA Status-Ethical Standards and CE Requirements
Once you got your EA status, you must complete 72 hours of Continuing Education (CE) every 3 years. It means you need to fulfill 16 hours of CE each year, in which at least 2 of the 16 annual hours must focus on an ethics-related topic.
Additional Tips (IRS)
How can I check on the status of my Enrolled Agent application? (Updated 3/1/22)
Form 23 – Application for enrolment to Practice Before the IRS – generally takes 60 days for processing (90-120 days for former IRS employees). If you have not received a response after 60 days, send an email to email@example.com and include your full name and address or call 855-472-5540, Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
The EA credential can verify your credibility, open doors to new careers, and attract work opportunities. Tax preparers, accountants, and those wanting to move into tax preparation can gain confidence with an EA license.
For Further Information/Assistance, Contact: www.upliftprofessionals.in/Enrolled_Agents