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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

IRS Updates Enrolled Agent Rules and Procedures

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

The IRS has updated its enrolled agent (EA) news webpage with information about the new EA logo, enrollment renewal, and the revised test specifications for the EA exam.

Any individual enrolled as an agent (EA) under Circular 230 who isn’t currently under suspension or disbarment from practice before IRS can practice before IRS. (Treas Dept Circ No. 230 §10.3(c)) The IRS has detailed rules on who can become an EA (§10.4(a)), how to apply to become an EA (§10.5) and the conditions for renewal of enrollment, including continuing education (CE) requirements. (Treas Dept Circ No. 230 §10.6)

Revised Exam Specifications

One of the things an individual must do to become an EA is to pass the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE). (§10.4(a)) As of July 1, 2019, the SEE has been revised to reflect tax law for calendar year 2018. The revised test specifications include tax law changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Additional Continuing Education Options

The IRS will now allow CE credit for programs covering data security and identity theft topics. Previously, the IRS only allowed CE credit for programs covering federal tax preparation, federal tax updates, ethics, and representation topics.

New Logo Available

EAs may use the EA designation and a special logo indicating that they are an EA on their marketing materials. (§10.30(a)) The new EA logo is available for download at here. With the new logo now available, EAs may not use the obsolete logo in any publications, advertising, websites, business cards, or any communication with clients or prospective clients.

Enrollment Renewal Period

Generally, the EA renewal period begins on November 1 each year. EAs must renew their enrollment every three years, and when they renew depends on the last digit of their Social Security Number. For example, the 2019 renewal period for EAs with SSNs ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 ran from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019. The renewal period for EAs with SSNs ending in 4, 5, or 6 will begin around November 1, 2019.

Form 8554, Enrolled Agent Renewal, may be submitted, and the $30 renewal fee paid, through Pay.gov.

To renew their status EAs generally must (1) have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN); and (2) have completed a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education (CE) per enrollment cycle, with at least 16 hours of CE (including 2 hours of ethics or professional conduct) each enrollment year; and (3) pay the $30 non-refundable renewal fee. The IRS notes it may take up to 90 days to process renewal applications.

Termination of EA Status

The IRS has terminated the EA status of those individuals who failed to renew their EA status twice, i.e., in both 2016 and 2019. The IRS sent out termination letters to these individuals in late July. An individual whose EA status has been terminated must retake the SEE to be eligible for re-enrollment.

EAs who  were required to renew their EA status, but failed to do so before January 31, 2019 (i.e., those with SSNs ending in 0, 1, 2, or 3) had their EA status inactivated by the IRS. EAs in inactive status can still submit a late renewal for approval with proof of CE. EAs with questions about their enrollment status should contact the Office of Enrollment at 855-473-5540.

To continue your research on practicing before the IRS, see FTC 2d/FIN ¶T-10,900.

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