If you are looking forward to advancing in your career as a tax advisor, an Enrolled Agent (EA) certification can be helpful. Regardless of your educational background and expertise, learning how to apply for your EA certification can improve your odds of success. Here’s all you need to know-
Step 1: Join a Chartered Tax Professional Certificate Program-
Individuals who wish to become an enrolled agent are required to first earn a chartered tax professional certification. To get the Enrolled Agent Certification, you need to complete five necessary courses that are designed to take you to every step of preparation of tax. These five courses usually take 18 months or less to complete. Apart from teaching the basics of tax preparation, the certificate program assists in training for the enrolled agent exam as these two tests include questions from similar topics. The courses included in the Chartered Tax professional program include –
- Comprehensive tax course
- Advanced I tax course
- Advanced II tax course
- The small business I tax course
- Small business II tax course
Step 2: Get your PTIN
PTIN, short for Preparer tax identification number ( PTIN), is a number required by professionals who assist clients in completing taxes. To apply for a PTIN, you need to set up an online account on the IRS website. Thereafter, you will be required to complete your online application and provide some necessary details such as business and personal information, previous year’s tax returns, etc. After completing the application and paying the fee, the IRS will issue you a PTIN online.
Step 3: Study for SEE
To certify as an EA, you are required to pass the Special Enrolled Examination (SEE). the exam contains 250 questions which are split into three sections, namely-
- Part 1: Individuals
- Part 2: Businesses
- Part 3: Representation, practices, and procedures
You are allowed to take these three parts in any order. The only requirement is that you need to attempt them in a time period of two years. The time period enables you to focus on each part individually and ensure you gain enough knowledge to pass the exam.
Step 4: Register for SEE Online
To attempt the exam, you need to register for it online. You will receive a Candidate Information Bulletin which provides you with all the essential information required for the entire Enrolled Agent certification process. Although the registration is done online, candidates are allowed to take the exam on any test site available throughout the country and internationally. The SEE exam takes place between May and February every year.
Step 5: Take the SEE Exam
After you register and prepare for the exam, you can start taking any of the three parts of the SEE. As the results are announced immediately after the exam, candidates who passed are notified by only being told they passed, while the failing candidates are informed through their exact score along with information to help them prepare for reexamination.
Note: You are only allowed four attempts in the period between May and February when the Special Enrollment Examination takes place every year.
Step 6: Register With IRS
If you successfully pass all three parts of SEE within the time period of 2 years, you can apply to become an enrolled agent. All you need to do is complete your application, pass the suitability check and pay the fees. IRS usually provides the enrolled agent certification within 90 days from the date of registration.
Step 7: Maintain your EA Credential
After you receive your EA certification, you will be required to complete at least 72 hours of education courses every year and at least 16 hours each year. Moreover, two of these hours of education should be related to the ethical aspects of your job.
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