4 Steps to Become An Enrolled Agent (EA)

4 Steps to Become An Enrolled Agent (EA)

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So you want to become an Enrolled Agent (EA). An EA is a tax practitioner with extensive technical expertise in the field of taxation. According to the IRS, Enrolled Agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.

Excellent choice! A career as an EA can give you the kind of flexibility, respect and rewards that few other jobs and professions can offer – yet you don’t even need a college degree!

Here’s what you need to do in order to start preparing other people’s tax returns for compensation and to help them resolve their tax problems with the IRS and their state!

Step 1: Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

Every paid tax preparer must have their own unique identifier, a PTIN. Administered by the IRS, it is what you use to sign or efile a tax return but before then, it is how you are tracked by the Prometric system as you prepare for and take the exam.

Getting your PTIN is pretty straightforward, you’ll need to create an account with the irs.gov website and answer a few questions as well as pay a small fee. You can get more information by following this quick guide on the PTIN and the EA

Step 2: Pass the IRS Special Enrollment Examination (SEE)

Now that you’ve got your PTIN you can turn your attention to passing the SEE (Special Enrollment Examination) or as it’s commonly known – the EA Exam. This is by far the most significant step in the process and will require substantial study on your part in order to pass.

We have written a number of popular articles on the EA Exam such as:

This website exists in order to help prepare people to pass the exam. Passing the exam is not easy, but we know, from many years of experience, that if you attend every lecture and do your homework you, too, can pass first time.

This course provides such a wealth of information, that it’s even helpful to people who have been running a tax practice for decades. They are delighted to learn new facts, tips, procedures and tools to help them do a better job for their clients – and to earn more than ever before. The tips and education provided in the course help participants save very much money and increases their revenue by at least 5 times the cost of the course.

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Step 3: Apply for Enrollment to Practice Before the IRS

Once you have passed all three exams – you need to send in your application to become an EA!

This is the easiest step. Simply fill out Form 23 and send them a check for $30.
Or use the Pay.Gov system to apply online without a single piece of paper.
You can find out more about enrollment on the IRS website here.

Or, to learn even more

Step 4: Pass a tax compliance check

At last, the final step in the process! Now that you’ve passed the exam it’s time to pass the background check! Yes – thankfully the IRS has a series of checks and balances to ensure that not just anyone can become an EA. Before you are accepted the IRS will run a background check – just to ensure you haven’t been engaging in any unsavory practices that would make you ineligible.

Once the government has determined that you’re of sound character they will take a look at your own tax filing and payment history. This makes sense. How can you have someone preparing tax returns for other people if they, themselves, can’t take care of their own affairs.

The tax compliance check takes place after you have submitted your form 23.

This step is sometimes completed in under 30 days – if you filed and paid your current year taxes by April 15th. Otherwise, expect it to take about 60 days.

Pass All 4 Steps?

  • Got your PTIN? Check!
  • Passed the Exam? Check!
  • Sent in application? Check!
  • Up to date with your taxes? Check!

Congratulations – you are now an enrolled agent and ready and able to start preparing other people’s taxes.

Don’t forget to use your membership at TaxMama.com where you can join thousands of other tax professionals asking questions and sharing answers for free!

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Image Credit: Uncle Sam I want you No Words by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

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