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IRS Enrolled Agent Training Made Easy

Updated on July 8, 2015
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Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog with 30 years experience in the tax field. He is the tax adviser of Mr. Money Mustache.

An unlicensed tax preparer can increase his income significantly by becoming an Enrolled Agent. Enrolled Agent training doesn’t need to be a concern if you follow a few simple steps. In this article, we will discuss the process to become an Enrolled Agent, from the best Enrolled Agent course study material to taking the exam and passing the first try. You can attain your goal of passing the Enrolled Agent Exam in one summer. Clients love knowing their tax professional IS a professional. An IRS Enrolled Agent provides the secuirty clients expect from their tax pro.

Follow the two simple steps in this article and next tax season you can represent your clients as an Enrolled Agent with the increase in income that comes with being an Enrolled Agent.

Step 1

Planning is important. Without a plan, you will take longer than one year to reach your goal. Enrolled Agent training is a process that starts with tax season. Hands on experience will make the EA exam easier.

Now that you are ready for the next step, you need to decide on a study program. There are three types of study programs, each with their pros and cons.

  1. Online Enrolled Agent training: Online courses provide the most comprehensive and low cost study material.The main benefit is workiing the Enrolled Agent training material on your schedule. You can also go back and review problem areas. The biggest drawback is lack of interaction with an experienced instructor.
  2. Webinars: Webinars provide a unique Enrolled Agent training experience. Some webinars are interactive, others are streaming video that can be viewed at your convenience. Some people learn better by seeing over reading. Webinars provide the visual learning aspect. You can review material from a webinar, but it may take extra time to find the points you are seeking to review. Webinars with manuals allow for easy review of selected topics.
  3. Live seminars: Learning in a classroom environment has obvious advantages. Questions can be answered by the instructor and interaction with other students increase the learning curve. Classroom study is the most costly.

Whether you choose online Enrolled Agent training, webinars, live seminars, or an old fasioned printed manual, your studies must include sample testing. You need to get the feel for the kind of questions you will face and the way questions are worded. You are encouraged to take the last several EA Exams on your own to see how the previous year's exams were worded. Many questions are updated for new tax law only. Each EA Exam has the same flavor.

Step 2

You need to file Form 2587 and choose the date and location you wish to take the Special Enrollment Examination. You can download copies of prior year's exams at www.irs.gov. In the search box type Enrolled Agent Exam for all the information you will need. The IRS provides massive amount of information needed to pass the Special Enrollment Exam. It is highly recommended that you take a study course outside the material the IRS provides.

Study. Then study some more. Only 30% of people taking the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE) pass the first time. You can be in that 30% if you do the homework. Download the prior year's exams and take them. The IRS provides the answers so you can grade yourself.

The SEE is comprised of four parts and the exam takes two days. You must pass each part to get your Enrolled Agent card. Sometimes only 60% is a passing grade, still, only 30% make it.

You can do this. Your Enrolled Agent training efforts can put you into the league of tax professionals. You get the higher income, too. Well worth the effort.

Take it from an Enrolled Agent that passed the exam the first time with a score of over 90% in each SEE part. Study. Be the best. An EA card can bring prestige and higher income. Serving clients at the highest level possible comes from knowing the tax code like the back of your hand.

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