Enrolled Agent Requirements
Anyone who prepares or assists in preparing federal tax returns for compensation and all enrolled agents must have a valid preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
A PTIN may be obtained online at IRS.gov, click Tax Pros. Starting November 1, 2015, the application fee for a new PTIN is $50.00. The PTIN are renewed annually, and the cost for renewal is $50.00.
PTINs are issued for a specific calendar year and a PTIN is renewed from October 16 – December 31 each year at www.irs.gov/ptin.
Required Continuing Professional Education Hours
Enrolled Agents are required to take 72 hours of CPE during the 3 year enrollment cycle.
An EA must complete 16 hours of CPE during each enrollment year (calendar year). At least 2 hours of enrolled agent ethics or professional conduct education must be taken as part of the 16-hour minimum each enrollment year (for a total of 6 EA ethics hours during the 3-year enrollment cycle).
Enrollment Cycle (License Term)
The Enrolled Agent enrollment cycle is every 3 years based on the last digit of EA's tax identification number (TIN) or Social Security Number (SSN).
Renewals must be filed with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) between November 1st of the prior and January 31st of the year the next enrollment cycle begins, the renewal is effective on April 1st of that year.
If the EA's TIN or SS# ends in:
- 0, 1, 2, or 3 – Their enrollment cycle ends March 31, 2016.
- 4, 5, or 6 – Their enrollment cycle ends March 31, 2017.
- 7, 8, 9, or no SSN – Their enrollment cycle ends March 31, 2018.
Enrollment Year (CPE Reporting Period)
An enrollment year is defined as the period of January 1st through December 31st each year of an enrollment cycle.
Agents Enrolled during an Enrollment Cycle CPE
Enrolled Agents who applied during an enrollment cycle are required to complete 2 hours of CPE per month enrolled, including 2 hours of Ethics per year.
- For example, If an agent is enrolled in year 2 of an enrollment cycle in May, they are required to complete 2 hours of qualifying education credits for each month (May (2), June (2), July (2), August (2)…etc. until the end of the enrollment year(s); in addition to completing 2 hours of ethics or professional conduct credits for each year. Your result would be, 40 hours of CE credits with 4 hours of ethics credits for the enrollment cycle.
Please refer to the attached CPE credit chart for additional information about calculating required CPE hours.
Enrolled Agents who have re-taken and passed the Special Enrollment Examination since their last renewal are only required to take 16 hours of CPE, including 2 hours of ethics, during the last year of their enrollment cycle.
CPE Subject Requirements
- Category Restrictions:
- CPE courses must cover:
- Federal taxation,
- Federal tax related matters or
- At least 2-hours of ethics is required each year.
- Courses designed to help applicants prepare for the Special Enrollment Examination do not qualify for CPE.
- Course Presentation: Enrolled Agents may take self-study or classroom courses.
- Study Requirements: Students should read the course material prior to taking a final exam.
Final Exam Requirements
- Passing Score: 70 percent or greater
- Exam Retakes: If not passed on the first try, an unlimited number of retakes are allowed.
- Exam Rules:
- The final exam does not require a proctor.
- Self-study final exams are open-book.
- You may refer to the course material as often as needed to complete the final exam.
CPE Carryover Allowance
Enrolled Agents may not carryover CE hours into a new enrollment cycle (3 year period).
Course Repetition Rules
Enrolled Agents should not repeat the same course within the 3 year enrollment cycle.
CPE Completion Reporting
APlusCPE reports course completions by PTIN holder to the IRS every business day.
Please note: CPE programs may take up to 72 hours to post once reported and none of the 2012 completions will show. Agents will also be required to report their CPE hours earned at the time of renewal.
Certificate of Completion
APlusCPE provides online printable Certificates of Completion. Certificates of completion will be available to print online immediately after the final exam is passed. Agents should maintain written evidence of completion for a period of 4 years following the completion of each reporting activity, for auditing purposes.
EA License Renewal Process
To maintain active enrollment status, Enrolled Agents are required to renew their enrollment with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) every 3 years.
The renewal dates are determined by the last digit of the EA's social security number or tax identification number (TIN).
Applications for renewal of enrollment must be submitted between November 1st and January 31st prior to April 1st of the year that the EA's next enrollment cycle begins.
If your TIN or SS# ends in:
- 4, 5, or 6 – Your next enrollment cycle begins April 1, 2017. (72 hours of CPE must be completed by Dec. 31, 2016)
- 7, 8, or 9 – Your next enrollment cycle begins April 1, 2018. (72 hours of CPE must be completed by Dec. 31, 2017)
- 0, 1, 2, or 3 – Your next enrollment cycle begins April 1, 2016. (72 hours of CPE must be completed by Dec. 31, 2015)
Currently, the renewal fee is $30.00.
EAs must login to their online PTIN account here.
On the Main Menu, next to “PTIN Renewal”, click on “Select” and then follow the prompts to complete the renewal online.
Online PTIN account, can be created one by clicking “New User” on the PTIN system login page.
In order to link the new online account to an EAs existing PTIN, they will need an activation code. These codes are generally sent out automatically during open season or they can contact the PTIN helpline to obtain one; the primary PTIN toll-free number is 877-613-PTIN (7846).
The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) may grant a waiver for CE requirements for the following reasons:
- Health issues or other medical disability
- Extended active military duty
- Absence from the United States for an extended period of time due to employment or other reasons, with the understanding that the individual cannot practice before the Internal Revenue Service during such absence
- Any other compelling reasons, which will be considered by the OPR on a case-by-case basis
- Inactive retirement status (individuals who no longer practice before the IRS)
Agents should contact the OPR directly for more information. Waiver requests must be submitted no later than the last day of the renewal application period.
Primary Toll-Free: 877-613-PTIN (7846)
Toll Number for International Callers: +1 915-342-5655
Internal Revenue Service
Office of Professional Responsibility
SE:OPR, Room 7238/IR
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224
Phone: (202) 927-3397
Fax: (202) 622-2207
APlusCPE®, a service of WebCE® provides information as a courtesy to individuals who are subject to continuing professional education (CPE). Although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate and current, neither APlusCPE nor its employees warrant or represent that this information is accurate and current. Since regulations are constantly changing, we suggest you contact the PTIN hotline to answer any questions or confirm any information.
Last updated on 3/18/2016