Did you know that throughout your career as an EA you will have to fulfill Enrolled Agent continuing education requirements? Continuing professional education is required by the IRS in order to maintain your EA certification.
Not sure what you need to do to fulfill these obligations? We’ve outlined the requirements for you in this article.
Enrolled Agent CPE Requirements
Being an enrolled agent means staying up-to-date on any changes in the tax-laws and remain familiar with all publications. To make sure you remain current, you will need to a obtain credit hours during your three-year enrollment cycles.
CPE Credit Hours
Enrolled Agents must complete a certain number of credit hours that are approved by the IRS to maintain their designation.
You will be required to complete a total of 72 hours of IRS-approved enrolled agent CPEs, including 6 hours of EA ethics, during every 3-year enrollment cycle.
In other words, during each enrollment year, you should be completing about 16 hours of CPE. Two of these hours must be dedicated to enrolled agent ethics each year. The 16 hour-requirement is the minimum for each enrollment year; you can of course complete more credits each year if you like.
The inclusion of at least 2 hours of ethics training per year is important because agents are required to abide by the Departments of Treasury’s Circular 230. These regulations govern the practices of all EAs. As a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), you are bound by a Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct, so it is important to review the code regularly in order to ensure ethical behavior.
The enrolled agent enrollment cycle lasts 3 years. Your specific 3-year period is based on the last digit of your tax identification number (TIN) or your social security number (SSN).
To prove you have completed your enrolled agent continuing education requirements, you must complete Form 8554 and file it with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). This form must be submitted between November 1 and January 31 of your assigned year, and if you have met all requirements, your designation renewal will become effective as of the following April 1.
Enrolled Agent continuing education can be fulfilled by enrolling in various courses and classes. You may complete traditional live courses or choose the self-study option. The most important factor in choosing to study the material on your own is to make sure you do the work and cover the necessary material.
In addition, your CPE course of choice must include the following subjects:
- Federal Taxation
- Federal Tax Related Matters (this includes Accounting or Tax Preparation Software)
It is important that you do not confuse Special Enrollment Exam prep courses with EA CPE courses. Courses designed to help you pass the SEE are not recognized as enrolled agent continuing CPE.
Although Gleim has a long track record of helping candidates prepare for the SEE exam, they have also entered into an agreement with the Office of Professional Responsibility and the IRS to help students meet their CPE requirements once they are enrolled agents. Gleim now also offers an Ethics course that was designed to meet the IRS requirements.
You may find other courses, such as APlusCPE, to be a more efficient means of completing your CPE requirements. Many courses are designed to include all necessary material in one program, as opposed to the two separate courses offered by Gleim.
You should also note the following: it is not possible to roll over CE hours from one enrollment cycle to the next. If you complete excess EA Ethics hours, these will be credited as general CPE hours within the same enrollment cycle.
You are also not allowed to repeat the same CPE courses within the 3-year enrollment cycle.
Final Exam Requirements
To maintain a valid EA designation, you are required to pass an exam. The passing grade for enrolled agent CPE courses is 70% or higher. If you do not pass your exam on the first try, you can retake the exam an unlimited number of times.
These final exams do not require a proctor or exam monitor during your testing period. Self-study exams are typically open-book, so you can refer to the course material as needed during your exam.
Maintaining your EA designation is important, so be sure to give yourself adequate time to prepare for each exam.
What are Enrolled Agent Continuing Education Requirements?
|Enrolled Agent||Continuing Education Requirment|
|CPE Credit Hours||72 Hours|
|Enrollment Cycles||3 Years Based on your TIN|
You may complete traditional live courses or choose the self-study option.