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 CPE 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’s important that you don’t confuse Special Enrollment Exam prep courses with EA CPE courses. Courses designed to help you pass the SEE are not recognized as enrolled agent CPE.
Currently the best CPE courses are offered by Surgent EA Review.
Surgent has been helping people with their educational needs for over 30 years now. They currently offer over 100 different IRS approved self study courses for Enrolled Agents. Each of these covers a specialized topic so you can focus on lessons that match your work. All lessons can be taken as self study PDFs or on-demand video webcasts. Upon completion of your course your CE credits will be automatically reported to the IRS by Surgent.
Alternatively, you could try out AYPO’s courses. They have a lot of great bundles that make it easy to earn your required CE credits. When signing up you can choose to complete between 1-24 hours of EA lessons. Keep in mind that AYPO tends to focus more on general knowledge in contrast to Surgent’s more specialized lessons.
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 CPE 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.