What is an Enrolled Agent?

Becoming an enrolled agent can transform your tax prep career

The world of federal taxes is complex. When individual and business taxpayers need to navigate this rocky turf, it helps to have someone on their side who knows the territory. 

Enter the enrolled agent (EA). The EA is the highest credential awarded by the IRS. EAs can represent taxpayers before the IRS, whether or not they prepared that person’s tax filing. The credential is valid in every state, and it has no educational or professional prerequisites, making it an obtainable credential for anyone with a knack for tax preparation. 

With their unique skills, EAs are indispensable employees in a range of businesses, including accounting firms, or they can work for themselves.  

If you’re interested in becoming an EA, Surgent can help you prepare for and pass the EA exam for a career boost with the satisfaction of helping clients manage their tax challenges. 

What is an enrolled agent? 

Enrolled agents are tax professionals federally authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS at all levels. With unlimited practice rights, enrolled agents have the versatility to advise and represent individuals, corporations, trusts and any other persons or entity required to file federal taxes. 

An EA can prepare their clients’ tax returns and answer any tax-related questions. When someone is dealing with the IRS on an audit or other matter, the EA can provide expertise and be a knowledgeable guide through complicated codes and rules. That helps clients get the best possible outcome from the experience. 

In business settings, EAs can have a seat at the management table in discussions of tax matters and can recommend strategies to minimize tax liabilities. 

How do you become an enrolled agent?

Enrolled agents don’t have to be CPAs, just experience and knowledge of tax codes, which Surgent’s exam review will give you. 

One way to become an EA is to work for the IRS in applying and interpreting IRS codes and regulations for at least five years. With the right experience, these agents are exempt from taking the exam needed to earn the credential. 

For everyone else, the pathway to EA status is taking and passing all three parts of the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE), also referred to as the EA Exam. The steps to follow to become an EA include: 

  • Obtain a Personal Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Create an IRS account and then apply for the PTIN. 
  • Study for the SEE. The exam consists of Part 1: Individuals; Part 2: Businesses; and Part 3: Representation, Practices and Procedures. While the IRS posts information about the exam, the material can be dense and difficult to interpret. A study course such as Surgent EA Review uses technology to help candidates sort through their options and hone their study skills. 
  • Register for and take the SEE. You can take the parts in any order. All three parts must be passed within two years. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and lasts three and a half hours. 
  • Apply for enrollment. Naturally, since this is the IRS, there’s a form to fill out after you pass the SEE – Form 23. Application fee is $30.  
  • Pass a suitability check. Applicants must pass tax compliance and background checks. 

To maintain their status, EAs must complete 72 hours of continuing education every three years. 

What does an enrolled agent do?

So you’ve passed the exam and been accepted. Congratulations! Doors now open to you because EAs have unlimited practice rights. You can sit with and represent any individual, business or organization doing business with the IRS. You also are a highly qualified tax professional fully equipped to advise, serve and prepare tax returns for individuals, corporations, partnerships and businesses.  

With their focus on taxation and the IRS Code, EAs can be especially helpful for taxpayers who can’t pay their taxes or are trying to avoid or recover penalties. EAs are the trusted and federally authorized defender of their rights before the IRS.  

What jobs can you get with an enrolled agent credential? 

Being an enrolled agent boosts your career potential by demonstrating your tax skills and giving you access to dealings with the IRS. The EA offers a huge advantage in the workplace, with hundreds of options available.  

Earn the versatile EA, and you could qualify for jobs in:  

  • Public accounting firms, where the benefits are robust and the variety of work is interesting.  
  • Tax preparation-focused firms, where EAs can take on a range of responsibilities. 
  • Banking, because banks are regulated by the Federal Reserve and need inhouse expertise to remain compliant. 
  • Law firms, where tax issues are often at the heart of clients’ dealings. 
  • Investment firms, to help minimize clients’ tax obligations.  
  • Department of Revenue or IRS, for a satisfying career in public service.  

As an EA, you could even climb the career ladder to the C-Suite or establish your own business 

Partner with Surgent to earn your EA credential 

The IRS might be brilliant at processing tax returns and collections, but it’s not an expert on helping people prepare for exams. That’s the job of Surgent EA Review. With Surgent, EA candidates learn their material faster while studying less.  

Consider these innovative factors that make Surgent a leader in preparing for and passing the SEE: 

  • A.S.A.P.® Technology. What do you already know? Surgent’s adaptive learning platform called A.S.A.P. Technology digs deep to assess your level of knowledge and comprehension. Armed with that information, Surgent customizes your course of study, directing you only to the areas you need to learn.  
  • ReadySCORE™. One of the most nerve-wracking parts of earning a credential is knowing when you’re ready to sit for the test. Surgent’s award-winning ReadySCORE predicts with remarkable accuracy what your score would be if you sat down that day for the exam. The peace of mind is priceless! 
  • Personalized dashboard. Track your progress daily and easily find the units you should be studying. 
  • MyMCQ™. Your sample tests are personalized to your skill levels, pushing you to build your proficiency. 
  • Unlimited practice exams. Build your comfort level by taking practice exams as often as you wish.  
  • A 100% pass guarantee. Here’s an additional helping of peace of mind – the knowledge that you get your money back on the Surgent EA Review if you don’t pass. Surgent has a 96% pass rate, so failure is unlikely, but it’s nice to know that you’re not risking your investment.  

Start on your path to becoming an EA today

The EA is valid in all 50 states. It’s a requirement or desirable credential in countless job openings. Candidates don’t need prior experience or education, and it can even equip you to start your own business. Why wait? The time is now to start studying and ramp up your career prospects.  

Surgent EA Review is the market leader in guiding EA candidates to success, quickly and efficiently. Personalized guidance lets you learn your way, on your timeline. The smartest way to prepare for the SEE and earn your EA credential is through Surgent. Learn more today!