Frequently Asked Questions | Enrolled Agent & EA Exam Information

Questions and Answers About the EA Exam

What is an enrolled agent? What does it mean to be an enrolled agent?

An enrolled agent is a person who has earned the privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service by either passing the IRS’ comprehensive three-part Special Enrollment Examination (the SEE’s), commonly referred to as the enrolled agent exam or EA exam, covering individual and business tax returns, or through experience as a former IRS employee. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential awarded by the IRS. Individuals who obtain this elite status must adhere to ethical standards and complete 72 hours of continuing education courses every three years. An enrolled agent, like an attorney or certified public accountant (CPA), has unlimited practice rights.

What are the steps to become an enrolled agent?

If you are interested in how to become an enrolled agent, follow these steps listed below. Please note that each step below may contain additional steps or take a varied amount of time investment to complete.

  1. Obtain a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number).
  2. Schedule an enrolled agent exam appointment.
  3. Study for the SEE’s with Tax Preparer’s Learning Systems’ complete study system of enrolled agent exam prep.
  4. Take all three parts of your SEE’s.
  5. Receive your scores and pass your enrolled agent exam.
  6. Apply for enrollment.
  7. Pass the IRS enrolled agent suitability test.

Once I am an enrolled agent, do I need to renew my status?

Yes! Once you receive your EA certification and you are an IRS enrolled agent, renewal is based on where you fall within the three-year renewal cycles (new enrollees may need to renew before three years have passed). Renew your PTIN and obtain necessary continuing education hours annually.

How many parts are there to the SEE’s/enrolled agent exam?

There are three parts to the SEE’s/enrolled agent exam. Part 1: Individuals; Part 2: Businesses; Part 3: and Representation, Practices, and Procedures.

How many questions are on the SEE’s?

There are 100 questions for each part of the enrolled agent exam.

What is the passing score?

There is no set percentage of correct answers that determine a passing score. Instead, the IRS uses a “scaled score” system. Scaled scores are determined by calculating the number of questions answered correctly and converting it to a scale that ranges from 40 to 130. The IRS has set the scaled passing score for the SEE’s at 105. Failing candidates are provided a scaled score value so that they may see how close they are to being successful.

How much time is there to take the enrolled agent exam parts?

Each part of the enrolled agent exam is 3.5 hours long. The actual seat time is 4 hours to allow for a tutorial and survey.

What tax period is the enrolled agent exam based on?

All references on the examination are to the Internal Revenue Code, forms and publications, as amended through December 31, 2020. Also, unless otherwise stated, all questions relate to the calendar year 2020. Questions that contain the term ‘current year’ refer to calendar year 2020 In answering questions, candidates should not take into account any legislation or court decisions in effect after December 31, 2020.

Future IRS Enrolled Agent Taking the Enrolled Agent Exam

How should a candidate prepare for the enrolled agent exam?

When studying for the examination, you may wish to refer to the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Department Circular 230, IRS publications, and IRS tax forms and their accompanying instructions. Circular 230, current and prior year versions of IRS publications, forms and instructions are accessible online at You can also use commercially available materials and preparation courses, such as Tax Preparer Learning Systems enrolled agent exam prep and enrolled agent study guide materials, in preparing to take the SEE’s.

Is the enrolled agent exam offered year-round?

The test is offered almost year-round, from May 1 to the end of February of the following year. The test is not offered during the annual blackout period in March and April. During this time the test is updated with the most recent tax law.

How do I get more information about the enrolled agent exam procedures?

Refer to the Candidate Information Bulletin.

How much does it cost to take the enrolled agent exam?

There are two costs to consider. First, there is an official testing charge paid to Prometric. Prometric is the testing service the IRS works with to administer the enrolled agent exam. This testing fee is $185 for each part of the SEE’s. This fee is paid at the time you schedule your examination. This fee applies for each EA exam attempt. Second, there is a cost to purchase enrolled agent study guide materials, such as those we offer. There is no requirement that you purchase enrolled agent study guide material, but many students do so to help them pass the EA exam. We charge $149.99 for an all-inclusive study package that covers all three parts of the SEE’s..

To become an enrolled agent, how many parts of the enrolled agent exam do I need to pass?

You need to pass all three parts of the EA exam.

What is the Basis of the Study Material?

To help ensure reliability, much of our study material is based on IRS published tax information. This includes study guides, online questions, video lessons, and online flashcards. You can count on our material to help you prepare to pass the exam.

Questions and Answers About Our Enrolled Agent Study Guide Material

Can I print the online questions?

After every online quiz and practice exam, you will be given a completion report. This report can be printed.

What is included in a study package?

The packages include online quizzes and practice exams, video lessons, and online flashcards. The material has been designed to cover the IRS test specifications for the Enrolled Agent Exam.

Does the enrolled agent study guide material have books that will be mailed to me?

No, all of our material is delivered online and is received immediately upon purchase. Nothing is sent to you through the mail.

What test period does your study material cover?

Our study material covers the testing period between May 1, 2021 through February 28, 2022. Purchasers are also entitled to a free update upon request for the subsequent testing periods if they have not yet passed the exam.

Can the enrolled agent study guide material be used on mobile devices?

Yes, our study material can all be used on mobile devices. The material is useable on personal computers, tablets, and phones.

Does your study material come in a Spanish-language version?

We are sorry, but our material only comes in an English-language version.

What is the basis of the study material?

To help ensure reliability, much of our study material is based on IRS published tax information. This includes online questions, video lessons, and online flashcards. You can count on our material to help you prepare to pass the exam.