IRS Delays EA Exam Changes, Extending Deadline to Test on 2017 Tax Law

If you’re considering becoming an Enrolled Agent, now is the time. That’s because the IRS announced on March 1, 2019 that the annual revisions to the Special Enrollment Examination, also known as the Enrolled Agent Exam or EA Exam, will be delayed due to the recent government shutdown. This means that the exam that will be administered starting on May 1, 2019 will reflect tax law for the calendar year 2017. The revised EA Exam, which will reflect tax law for calendar year 2018, will begin testing on July 1, 2019. You can read more about this delay and how tax law changes will affect the EA Exam here.

The EA Exam and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

As you probably know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was the most complex tax reform legislation in decades, and many of its provisions went into effect in 2018. At Surgent, we highly recommend that Enrolled Agent (EA) candidates sit for the EA Exam before July 1, after which the TCJA-related changes will be reflected on the exam, adding a significant amount of additional content to your study plan.

Retroactive Measures You DO Need to Know Prior to July 1

There are three issues in the tax law that were retroactive, which means they pertain to the 2017 tax year and are testable in the May 2018 through June 2019 testing window. These retroactive measures are as follows:

  • Everyone can deduct qualified medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of AGI. The previous law allowed everyone to deduct qualified medical expenses exceeding 10% of AGI; only returns where either spouse was 65 or older were allowed to deduct qualified medical expenses over 7.5% of AGI.
  • The new home mortgage limitation applies to mortgages incurred between December 16, 2017 and December 31st Although the limitation only applies to the last 16 days of 2017, it may still be seen on the exam. The acquisition limit decreased from $1,000,000 to $750,000. The $1,000,000 limitation applies through December 15th 2017, so both limitations may be tested.
  • After September 27th 2017, the bonus depreciation increased from 50% to 100% of the adjusted basis for qualified property. Between January 1st 2017 and September 27th, 2017, bonus depreciation was 50%. Both bonus depreciation percentages are in addition to the Section 179 deduction. Again, both measures may be tested on the exam since they both applied to 2017.

How Surgent EA Review Can Help You Prepare in Time

Thanks to its adaptive A.S.A.P. Technology™, Surgent EA Review is able to help students pass the EA Exam far more quickly than other exam prep courses by focusing each student on personalized study plans that target his or her knowledge gaps. That means candidates can easily start studying now and pass all three parts before July 1, 2019.

In addition, all Surgent EA Review courses include access to study materials for both the May 1st and July 1st versions of the EA Exam, making it easy for EA candidates to study, regardless of when they choose to sit. And, since Surgent’s EA Review Premier Pass includes unlimited access to the course until you pass and 25+ helpful, engaging video lectures, you’ll also get the added flexibility and learning support you need to succeed.

Final Thoughts

To recap, all 2017 tax laws will be tested on the Enrolled Agent Exam before July 1, 2019. The good news is, while these tax law changes will affect the EA Exam, many of the core concepts tested in the exam will be the same. If you won’t be able to test within the current year testing window, don’t worry. Just make sure you get updated testing materials to encompass the new changes, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an EA.

If you’re ready to start studying, study smarter with the adaptive course that can have you pass the exam before July!

Sign up today to see the Surgent difference for yourself!