A taxpayer learns that the IRS has questions or is even launching an audit. Imagine the fear and confusion. What’s next?
Few people know that there is someone who can help – someone with extensive knowledge of the Internal Revenue Code. That someone is an Enrolled Agent, or EA.
What is an enrolled agent?
EAs are specially certified by the IRS to help American taxpayers who find themselves in a tax dilemma or simply need help devising tax strategies or preparing their annual returns. There are only 50,000 EAs in the United States, and demand is high.
Could you be an EA? The ideal EA has these characteristics:
· Attention to detail
· A drive to keep up with the ever-changing tax code
· Deep understanding of IRS rules and procedures
· Strong people skills
· Deep committment to ethical standards
A career as an EA can be satisfying, fulfilling and financially rewarding. Do you have what it takes?
Who would make a good enrolled agent?
Not just anyone can become an EA. While there are no educational prerequisites, it takes the right experience and character to succeed.
Many accountants might think of earning their CPA as the first step up the career ladder, but it might be better to get the EA first to see if tax work is the right line of work.
The EA credential is recognized across the U.S., and it can even allow the holder to prepare taxes for international clients filing in the U.S. Businesses of all sorts find it advantageous to have enrolled agents on staff to help prepare returns and represent clients before the IRS.
Earning an EA credential also is less expensive than getting a CPA. The exam costs hundreds of dollars less, and there’s no need to pay for any additional educational credits. You also don’t need to study as many hours or pass as many exam sections.
On top of all that, you have two years to pass the exam. You can study at your own pace while you still have time to devote to family, friends and work.
CPAs, CIAs and CMAs
Credentialed accountants are steeped in the ethics and principles of sound financial management. Many specialize in taxes and taxation, providing invaluable support to clients and employers.
The EA is a logical next step for these professionals striving to broaden their horizons. It signals your availability and expertise to anyone looking for specialized tax help. It also adds a skill set that employers seek out as a valuable addition to the workplace.
In short, with the EA, you gain privileges and expertise in preparing and auditing taxes, making it a pathway to promotions and career advancement.
Tax preparers know about the annual tax busy season roller coaster. From January through April, you have a steady stream of clients – and income. The rest of the year, business can dry up.
EAs work year-round because the IRS never sleeps. People who are being audited can need help any time of year. Others need specialized help with tax strategy, preparation and handling. As an EA, you can provide assistance and representation year-round. Your income stabilizes with steady work.
In fact, your income can actually rise due to your increased usefulness. You will be equipped with the ability to help more clients in more areas, and those unlimited representation rights put you in the room wherever your client needs to go. Plus, with the shortage of EAs nationwide, the law of supply and demands means that you can charge more for your services.
Former IRS employees
Not everyone has to take, and pay for, the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) to become an EA. Some former IRS employees can apply for EA status, skipping the test by virtue of their familiarity with IRS policies and procedures.
However, only certain IRS employees can go straight to becoming an EA. As stated in Circular 230, qualified applicants “must have been regularly engaged in applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations relating to income, estate, gift, employment or excise taxes.”
So, what does that mean? In general, applicants are qualified if they have worked at least five years in a taxpayer-facing field position, such as appeals officer, special agent, revenue officer, revenue agent, tax specialist, tax law specialist or settlement officer. Three of those five qualifying years must have been within the last five years before leaving the IRS.
That’s a specific subset of people, so if you’re a former IRS employee who lacks that level of background but are intrigued about becoming an EA, taking the SEE could be a great move for you.
Ready to become an enrolled agent?
The EA certification process is an accessible and affordable pathway to career advancement. Gaining the right to unlimited representation makes you an asset for employers and clients.
Once you’ve decided to go for it, the next critical decision is deciding on a review course. You will be facing a three-part exam of 100 questions each, and a two-year clock is ticking to pass all three. The sooner you pass the test, the sooner you will be on your way to the next level of your career.
Surgent EA Review uses technology to create a personalized experience that gets you there faster, with fewer hours spent studying. Consider these best-in-class features:
· A.S.A.P.® Technology. Surgent’s adaptive technology gauges your baseline knowledge as soon as you start studying. From there, A.S.A.P. Technology recommends only the areas you need to study. You’re not wasting time reading up on things you already know.
· ReadySCORE™. How do you know when you’re ready to take the test? Surgent’s award-winning ReadySCORE can predict, with remarkable accuracy, your score if you were to take the test that day. You won’t take the test too soon or wait too long, because when the time is right, ReadySCORE lets you know.
· MyMCQ™. You don’t get the same bland, simplistic questions in your sample tests. MyMCQ delivers sample multiple-choice questions that stretch your comprehension of the material.
· Personalized dashboard. Everything you need to get started and have a productive study session is at your fingertips.
· Unlimited practice exams. No need to ration your practice. Take as many sample exams as you need to grow comfortable with the format
· A 100% pass guarantee. Never worry about losing your investment. Surgent has a 96% pass rate, so the odds are in your favor, but if you don’t pass, you get your money back.
Try Surgent EA Exam today and start your journey to an exciting career as an enrolled agent!