Do I Need A Degree To Be An Enrolled Agent?

June 11, 2021

What Is An Enrolled Agent (EA)?

According to the IRS, an enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing a three-part comprehensive IRS test covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years.

Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), have unlimited practice rights. This means they are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can represent clients before. Learn more about enrolled agents in Treasury Department Circular 230.

What Are The Steps To Becoming An Enrolled Agent:

-Obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

-Visit Prometric’s Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) web page to schedule your test appointments, review the SEE Candidate Information Bulletin PDF, sample test questions, and other test preparation resources. Achieve passing scores on all three parts of the SEE* within three years.

-Apply for enrollment and pay enrollment fee electronically using Form 23 or by downloading Form 23, PDF Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service (PDF) and mailing the completed form and a check to the IRS.

-Pass a suitability check, which will include tax compliance to ensure that you have filed all necessary tax returns and there are no outstanding tax liabilities; and criminal background.

Are There Classes To Become An Enrolled Agent?

While there are many different resources available to help you study and prepare for your licensing exam, none of these courses are required. You can study independently or work with a tutoring program to learn the information required.

You will need to pass all three parts of the Special Enrollment Examination in order to be licensed as an Enrolled Agent. However, you can take each part individually because you are given two years from passing the first exam to pass all three parts! This makes studying and passing the SEE exam manageable even for those with busy schedules.

Do I Need A Degree To Be An Enrolled Agent?

You do not need a college degree to become an Enrolled Agent. However, if you have a degree a career as an Enrolled Agent still might be a great option for you. This career appeals to a wide range of individuals including college graduates, high school graduates, and retired workers.

You can use your industry relevant knowledge from your previous career to target specific groups of individuals for your tax practice. Having insider information about the expenses associated with a specific industry can give you an upper hand when working with professionals currently still active in that field.

For instance, if you previously worked in oil and gas, you may find that it is easier for you to attract clients in this industry. You will have a common background, understand specific expenses associated with the job, and be able to provide helpful insight for their tax filing.

Why Should I Become An Enrolled Agent?

Enrolled agents are tax professionals that are able to help individuals and businesses handle the most complex issues. These professionals are experts when it comes to tax code, federal tax guidelines, tax preparation, and tax law.

Now is an excellent time to become an Enrolled Agent because we are currently experiencing a shortage of these important tax experts. There is a demand for professionals who can handle complex tax returns and represent their clients before the IRS.

Whenever you become an Enrolled Agent, your earning potential is much greater than that of a seasonal tax preparer. This is because you will have a higher level of tax knowledge and are an unrestricted, meaning you are able to do more things for your clients. You can work year-round assisting clients with tax preparation and a wide range of other different tax issues.


How Do I Maintain My Status As An Enrolled Agent?

Individuals who obtain the Enrolled Agent status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education (CE) courses every three years. A minimum of 16 hours must be earned per year, two of which must be focused around ethics. Enrolled agents must use an IRS approved CE provider for these credits to be counted.

Becoming a member of TxSEA comes with many benefits. You will be able to network with other tax professionals in your state and local area, you will have a group to discuss new tax laws and policies with, and we help EAs stay on track with their CE credits.

We have online and in-person webinars that are designed to help you improve your business and stay up to date with your licensing. We work with the National Association of Enrolled Agents to help spread information and promote opportunities they provide for all EAs.


Upcoming TxSEA Events

Annual Convention June 21st – June 25th

This is an online webinar or in-person event where Houston and DFW attendees can share the experience with each other and different featured speakers.

Part I: IRS approved Continuing Education – 3 days

TxSEA’s mission has always included quality education. Here are this year’s great speakers and topics.

Mon June 21 – 9AM to 1PM

LG Brooks, EA, CTRS will be live at North Richland Hills location and talk about “Know where you stand on Appeals & Audits with a FOIA”.

Hear LG’s tips on dealing with the current situation of information you submitted that is lost, mislaid, and/or not picked up by RO/RA on day(s) he/she is allowed into office. LG will continue with “Ethics 2021” to include contingency fees.

2 hrs Tax CE & 2 hrs Ethics CE 4Z48U-T-00182-21-O & 4Z48U-T-00183-21-I, 4Z48U-E-00186-21-I & 4Z48U-E-00187-21-O


Tues June 22 – 9AM to 1PM

John DiLucci, EA, CTRS, Lance Stodghill, Atty, & Ruben Valdes, EA, USTCP, join forces as the “Representation Panel of Experts” to respond to your collections, appeals, and tax court questions from this past year.

A follow-up handout will be provided with the Q&A discussion. John is live at the North Richland Hills location and Lance & Ruben will be at the Houston location.

2 hrs Tax CE 4Z48U-T-00188-21-O

John DiLucci, EA, CTRS remains at North Richland Hills location to extend the 1-hour “Bankruptcy Strategies to for Tax Resolution” talk he gave DFW group to 2 hours to cover in more detail the strategies before and during bankruptcy for maximum tax forgiveness.

2 hrs Tax CE 4Z48U-T-00184-21-I (in-person) 4Z48U-T-00185-21-O (online)


Wed June 23 – 9 AM to 2 PM

Larry Pon, EA, USTCP discusses via webinar format only “Tax Planning from College to Retirement to Estate” as well as “Tax Planning: Real Estate Case Study” including a 1031 exchange.

Both topics include the latest tax law changes and will touch on potential tax law changes.  Lunch provided at Houston location courtesy of Maple Financial Svc.

5 hrs of Tax CE 4Z48U-T-00181-21-O


Part 2: Improve your Business – 2 days 

TxSEA members can receive continuing education (CE) credit for practice management seminars on Thursday and Friday

For a number of years TxSEA has wanted to implement a program to help you in your business. For the first time the Convention is doing just that. Learn ways to grow your business and how to protect your company and your employees.

Don’t want to expand or have employees? What about your business clients? Attend and learn ways to add value for those clients at an increase fee rate.

Thurs June 24 – 9AM to 11:15AM

Sandi King, EA, live from the North Richland Hills location, will cover “Finding New Business” & “EA Awareness”. Both topics will show you ways to increase your business. In addition, EA Awareness, especially when TxSEA members join forces, can develop a pipeline of people entering the business as students, then employees, advancing to EA status and becoming a member of TxSEA. A few hours of your time each month can bring amazing results.

TxSEA Board of Directors meeting will follow from 11:30 to 1:30. All members are invited.


Fri June 25 – 9AM to 1PM

Susan Looney, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is in-person at the North Richland Hills location to present “Human Resources…What you Don’t Know CAN Hurt You”.  Businesses today have so many things to keep track of it is hard to know it all, especially the constantly changing employment arena.  Do you know what it takes to protect your company and your employees? This session will help you to understand some of the basic employment laws and HR practices that will help decrease your liability in your business.  This session will cover areas such as policies and procedures, compensation issues, hiring, employment records and more.



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