Becoming an Enrolled Agent

We get so many questions about becoming an Enrolled Agent, we decided to put together a little FAQ on the topic!

What is an Enrolled Agent?

An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of practicing, that is, representing taxpayers, before the Internal Revenue Service. Enrolled agents, like attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs), are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent, what types of tax matters they can handle, and which IRS offices they can practice before.

Why become an Enrolled Agent?

To survive in this competitive field and command higher fees, enhanced professional credentials are a must. Every paid preparer must now pass the Registered Tax Return Preparer test. Becoming an Enrolled Agent makes you stand out above the crowd. It says that you have done more than meet the minumum standards for your profession.

How do I become an Enrolled Agent?

There are two ways to become an enrolled agent:

  • Computerized examination. You can become an enrolled agent by demonstrating special competence in tax matters through taking and passing the computer based IRS Special Enrollment Examination. After passing the exam you must apply for enrollment (Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service). Applicants must undergo a background check prior to enrollment. This includes a review of the applicants tax transcript. Failure to timely file or pay taxes can be grounds for denial of enrollment. The IRS generally process applications within 90 days.
  • IRS experience. You can become an enrolled agent by virtue of past service and technical experience with the IRS that qualifies you for enrollment.
How do I take the IRS Special Enrollment Exam (SEE)?

Thomson Prometric has been selected by the Internal Revenue Service to develop and administer the computer based Special Enrollment Examination. The examination is administered at one of over 900 Thomson testing centers through the U.S. The application form to take the examination as well as information about the examination can be found on their website at

What is covered on the SEE?

The exam consists of three parts. Part 1 covers individual taxes including estate and gift tax. Part 2 covers taxes pertaining to businesses including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, fiduciaries, and tax-exempt organizations. Part 3 covers representation before the IRS and practice and procedures of an enrolled agent.

What is the price of the Special Enrollment Exam?

Each part of the examination costs $109 ($327 for all three parts).

When can I take the Special Enrollment Exam?

The 2014 special enrollment examination period starts on May 1, 2014 and runs through February 28, 2015. You can schedule your test online and take the test at any Thompson Prometric Testing Center between those dates.

Do I have to take all three parts of the SEE at the same time?

The three parts DO NOT have to be taken at once. You can take one part at a time. Once you have taken and passed one part, you have two years from the date of passing that part to take and pass the other two parts.

How many questions are on each part of the SEE?

There are 100 questions on each part of the SEE.

How much time do I have to take each part of the SEE?

Each exam is 3.5 hours long. The actual seat time is 4 hours to allow for a tutorial and survey.

Are some questions worth more points than others?

No. Each question is weighted equally.

What is the passing score for each part of the SEE?

There is no exact passing percentage for the exam. The examination is graded on a scale from 40 – 130. The passing score for each part is 105.

When will I know if I passed?

Instantaneously. You will be given your score right after you complete that part of the exam.

Does The Phoenix Tax Group have an Enrolled Agent Exam Review Course?

Yes! The Phoenix Tax Group has published an Enrolled Agent Exam Study Course for over 20 years. Click here to learn more.