Enrolled Agents are America’s Tax Experts. They are federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in tax preparation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled Agents, like Attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), are generally 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 Enrolled Agent?
- Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)
- Visit the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) web page to apply to take the test and review the SEE Candidate Information Bulletin and other useful information;
- Review old SEE questions and answers
- Achieve passing scores on all 3 parts of the SEE.*
- Apply for enrollment and pay enrollment fee electronically at pay.gov or by downloading Form 23 and mailing the completed form and a check to the IRS.
- Pass a tax compliance check to ensure that you have filed all necessary tax returns and there are no outstanding tax liabilities. This check is conducted on your behalf after submission of Form 23.
*Certain IRS employees, by virtue of past technical experience, are exempt from the exam requirement.
Your Career As an Enrolled Agent click to view PowerPoint presentation.
About the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE Exam)
The SEE exam is a comprehensive three-part exam provided at hundreds of locations both nationally and internationally from May each year through February of the following year. The Test is administered by Prometric Inc. Prospective EAs may schedule the three parts (individual tax; business tax; and representation practices and procedures) in any order but must pass all three parts to apply for enrollment.
How much does it cost to take the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE Exam)?
There is a $109 fee per part paid at the time of appointment scheduling. The test fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. Please refer to the Candidate Information Bulletin to read the policy on rescheduling appointments.
How do I prepare for the examination? Are there any study materials?
In studying for the examination, you may wish to refer to the Internal Revenue Code, Circular 230, IRS publications, as well as IRS tax forms and accompanying instructions. Circular 230, IRS publications, as well as tax forms and accompanying instructions are online at www.irs.gov. IRS Tax Map may also be useful when studying for the exam. Tax Map gathers IRS forms, instructions, publications, and web pages by topic and organizes links to these sources on a single topic page. Content on Tax Map is tax year specific, and you can research from TY 2015 back to TY 2012.
Visit Prometric.com/see for other helpful information including:
- Candidate Information Bulletin
- SEE tutorial
- “What to Expect on Test Day” video
- “Test Drive Your Examination” allows you to schedule and sit for a practice examination free of charge
- Frequently Asked Questions – https://www.irs.gov/Tax-Professionals/Enrolled-Agents/Enrolled-Agents-Frequently-Asked-Questions
Click here to see CSEA Chapters who are offering the IRS Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) review courses. For more detailed information on when and where the courses are offered and the cost, please contact the Chapter or visit their website. The CSEA Education Foundation has scholarships available for those doing the SEE review courses. Click here to get more detailed information regarding available scholarships.
Gleim – CSEA partners with Gleim to offer CSEA Members a 10% discount on Gleim’s EA, CPA, CMA or CIA review Systems (per part and/or full sets) and our continuing education (CE) packages (20, 40, 80 or 100 hours). Click here to view Gleim’s products.
May I join CSEA before I become an Enrolled Agent?
Yes it’s a great idea. Non-enrolled preparers may join as a Professional Associate Student Associate or Professional Affiliate. Click here to see which category of membership you belong in. These memberships offer the same benefits and discounts with the exception of being listed as an Enrolled Agent. Associates and Affiliates cannot hold office or vote. Joining now provides you access to your local Chapter for networking with other Enrolled Agents and tax professionals along with access to the information which can help you achieve your goals and help build your career! As a CSEA member you will also receive discounts on Enrolled Agent Review Courses and Material. See above “How do I prepare for the examination.”
What are the employment opportunities for an Enrolled Agent?
A large number of Enrolled Agents are self-employed with practices that offer year-round services to their clients (and often will include bookkeeping payroll and other services). EAs also are employed by other firms of Enrolled Agents by CPA firms by attorneys specializing in areas of taxation by large commercial tax preparation firms by banks and investment companies and by private firms needing in-house tax expertise. Building a year-round tax practice takes time and experience so some will start their tax career on a part-time basis while still employed in another occupation with the intent of developing the tax practice into a self-supporting and profitable business. The California Society of Enrolled Agents offers Federal Representation workshops and the California State Tax Agencies Representation (CSTAR) workshop that will greatly help new or experienced Enrolled Agents.
Once you become an Enrolled Agent you must:
- Renew your status as an enrolled agent every three years
- Obtain continuing education
- Renew your PTIN annually
Updated April 2016