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About The EA Exam

The Special Enrollment Examination consists of three examinations, each lasting 3.5 hours, containing 100 multiple-choice questions. Out of the 100 questions, 85 are scored (and weighted equally), while 15 are experimental questions that do not count towards scoring.

Part 1

Individuals

Duration

3.5 Hours

Exam Question Count

100 Multiple Choice

Sections

1. Preliminary Work, Taxpayer Data (17)
2. Income and Assets (21)
3. Deductions and Credits (21)
4. Taxation and Advice (14)
5. Specialized Individual Returns (12)


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Part 2

Businesses

Duration

3.5 Hours

Exam Question Count

100 Multiple Choice

Sections

1. Business Entities (28)
2. Business Financial Information (39)
3. Specialized Returns and Taxpayers (18)


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Part 3

Representation, Practices and Procedures

Duration

3.5 Hours

Exam Question Count

100 Multiple Choice

Sections

1. Practices and Procedures (25)
2. Representation before the IRS (24)
3. Specific Types of Representation (19)
4. Completion of the Filing Process (17)


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Requirements to Become an Enrolled Agent

Unlike the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential and most other professional designations, you can become an Enrolled Agent (EA) without earning a college degree. Plus, once you become an EA, your credential is valid in all 50 states.

Whether you have decades of experience in tax or recently decided to make a career change from something completely unrelated, you are eligible to take the Enrolled Agent Examination (referred to as the Special Enrollment Examination, or SEE, by the Internal Revenue Service). A background in taxation helps make the process easier, but there have been students with zero tax experience who studied and passed the Enrolled Agent Exam – on their FIRST attempt! Here’s are the requirements to become an EA:

You must be at least 18 years old

You must have an active Personal Tax Identification Number (PTIN) from the IRS

You must pass all three parts of the Enrolled Agent Exam

You must be in compliance with U.S. Tax laws

Candidates who have five years of previous IRS work experience may be exempt from the exam altogether.

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What Experience Do I Need to Sit for the Exam, and How Do I Get Started?

A background and/or experience in taxation definitely helps but it is not required. The exam covers topics including individual taxation, business taxation, and practice and procedures. Below are the steps required to become an EA:

Obtain a Personal Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

Any person that prepares taxes for a profit is required to have an active PTIN. If you do not currently have one, you can visit IRS.gov/tax-professionals to obtain one.

Study for the Enrolled Agent Exam.

The exam is broken into three separate parts and can cover all aspects of Federal taxation. Each exam is 100 questions with 3.5 hours allotted for each exam section. The parts include:

  1. Individuals
  2. Businesses
  3. Representation, Practices, and Procedures.

Register for the Enrolled Agent Exam.

You can register by visiting prometric.com/see. You will need your active PTIN to register for the exam. The exam is offered from May 1 through the end of February of the following year. There are no exams in March and April as the exams are being updated for tax law changes.

Take the exam!

You can take the three parts in any order you wish.

Apply for enrollment and pass a tax compliance check!

Once you’ve passed all three Enrolled Agent Exam parts, you will need to complete IRS Form 23 and submit it via mail along with your payment of $30. The Tax Compliance check is just to ensure that you personally are compliant with the tax laws of the United States.

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How Do I Study for the Exam?

Surgent EA Review is the fastest and most effective way of preparing for the Enrolled Agent Exam. With A.S.A.P. Technology™, you’ll spend your time focusing on those content areas that matter most – those that are more heavily tested, and where your performance is weaker—and much less time in areas where you’re already proficient.

And thanks to our award-winning ReadySCORE™ feature, you’ll be able to see how you’re performing at each step of your studies and when you’re ready to pass.

With as few as 30 hours of study, you can be ready to take your first exam section in as little as two weeks! In short, Surgent EA Review will get you exam-ready, much faster.

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