How to Prepare for an Enrolled Agent Exam

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An Enrolled Agent (EA) is certified to prepare income taxes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Enrolled Agents, like attorneys and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), are unrestricted as to which taxpayers they can represent and what tax issues they can handle. To become an EA, you must pass the Special Enrollment Exam or meet certain experience requirements as an IRS employee. The exam is administered in three parts by a Prometric center.

  • Learn the basics to taxes. A good foundation is needed to pass the exam. You can learn the basics through experience or education. Courses in taxation are often offered at local colleges or by some of the larger tax preparing companies like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax.

  • Take a special Enrolled Agent review course. These courses will not only help you learn more but can also help you know where to focus your studies. Under the bullet list, the Prometric website (www.prometric.com/IRS/default) has a link to a list of test prep providers. If you choose not to pay for a review course, the IRS has made Enrollment Exam Study Kit Materials (http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/agents/article/0,,id=109302,00.html).

  • Take past years' exams. Old exams are an indication of what is on the current exam and how the questions are worded. Review the exams until you feel comfortable with the questions and format. Old exams can be found at http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/agents/article/0,,id=137267,00.html.

  • Register for the exam. Visit the Prometric website (www.prometric.com) and click "Start" in the "Register for Test" box. You will then be guided through a process of registration and be able to select which test portion(s) you would like to take.

  • On test day be prepared physically and emotionally. This means get plenty of sleep the night before. Eat a well-balanced meal but nothing too heavy. Arrive early so you have enough time to to sign in and relax before the test.

References

  • Photo Credit tax forms image by Chad McDermott from Fotolia.com
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