Enrolled Agent (EA) Continuing Education
Enrolled agents are the highest level of credentialed tax professionals and provide their clients with the confidence that their finances will be protected. In order to maintain your enrolled agent credentials you must take continuing education every year.
We offer high quality & convenient online CE classes that are backed up by our world class customer support to help you meet your requirements. We will report your PTIN to the IRS for all courses completed within 5 business days.
24 Hour Enrolled Agent Package
This 24-hour course is a great refresher for enrolled agents, and will satisfy the ethics requirement as you complete one-third of your CE requirements. In this course, we'll cover important topics like the requirements for filing status; what qualifies as gross income and must be included on a tax return; how to make the appropriate income adjustments for clients; specific schedules that client may require; and an updated discussion of the credits available to taxpayers.
We'll conclude the course with an Ethics class specifically for tax preparers. This class will examine the definition of ethics, pivotal terms used in that discussion, and the taxpayer bill of rights.
16 Hour Enrolled Agent Package
This 16-hour course will meet the yearly minimum for enrolled agents to work towards their 72-hour requirement (every three years).
In the course, we will cover essential topics for tax preparers, including:
- What qualifies as gross income;
- Which income items require adjustments
- Which credits are available and which have expired
- Other additions to federal tax returns
- Ethics for tax preparers
These classes will keep you sharp in your practice, and help you make progress toward your continuing education requirement!
Introduction to Ethics for Tax Preparers
This course will satisfy the required 2 hours of Ethics for Tax Preparers and will cover the basic concepts of ethics, the different types of professional ethics, terms that will be used when referencing ethics, ethical duties of tax preparers, unethical tax actions and their consequences, and what a sample code of professional responsibility for tax preparers looks like.
Taxation of Rental Income and Expenses and Retirement Funds
This course will cover the Taxation of Rental Income and Expenses and Retirement Funds for the Internal Revenue Service.
We will go over how taxpayers report rental income, expenses, and retirement funds, as well as income and expenses arising from rental properties, and how to report funds from retirement plans, pensions, annuities, and other similar arrangements.
Standard and Itemized Deductions
This course will cover the Internal Revenue Service's Standard and Itemized Deductions. While most taxpayers claim the standard deduction, some taxpayers will lower their tax bill by claiming itemized deductions. This course teaches you how to make this determination for your client.
Federal Filing Requirements/Federal Filing Dates
This 3-hour course, which covers current tax law, will meet the mandatory Federal Tax Law Update requirement. In this course we cover topics such as:
- Filing Information
- Electronic Filing
- Identity Theft
This course will cover one of the core components of calculating a tax return for a client, the matter of gross income as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, and some of the key definitions and areas of a client's income that will be taxed. This course reflects changes to the tax code under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Federal Filing Status
This course will cover the IRS' Federal Filing Status' which are filing single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, filing as head of household, and filing as a qualifying widow or widower.
Supplemental Gains and Losses
This course will cover the IRS' Supplemental Gains and Losses which include the federal tax laws that apply to small business owners who are sole proprietors and to statutory employees, along with the information necessary to understand business income, expenses, and tax credits which will help tax preparers best serve their clients.
Enrolled Agent Continuing Education Requirements
As an enrolled agent, you hold the highest credential possible from the IRS. It’s an important distinction — and one you want to maintain. You probably already know that means completing the required enrolled agent continuing education courses during your renewal period. But it can be helpful to brush up on the details to make sure you’re taking the enrolled agent continuing professional education (CPE) you need.
To help, we’ve built this brief but thorough guide. Review it to make sure you’re meeting the enrolled agent CPE requirements by the deadlines that apply to you.
First up, let’s go through a quick overview of the EA CPE requirement guidelines and the process for renewing your enrolled agent status.
As you go through this process, it’s important that you take the time to renew your preparer tax identification number (PTIN) each year sometime between the middle of October and the end of the year. You can do this online.
PTIN aside, renewing your enrolled agent status really comes down to completing the EA CPE requirement and submitting your renewal on time.
How many Enrolled Agent continuing education hours do I need?
The IRS dictates that you need 72 hours of enrolled agent continuing education courses per three-year renewal cycle. But that doesn’t mean you can wait until the last minute to knock out your hours. You’re required to take 16 hours of enrolled agent CPE each year, and two of those hours need to focus on ethics.
How do I submit my enrolled agent renewal?
Once you meet the enrolled agent CPE requirements, you just need to submit your renewal to the IRS by the deadline that applies to you. (More on that in the CE completion cycles and deadlines section below.)
You have two options for submitting your renewal. You can either send in Form 8554 online by completing the process at Pay.gov. Or, if you’d prefer to use paper forms, you can complete and mail in the PDF of Form 8554.
CE completion cycles and deadlines
As far as enrolled agent continuing education goes, you need to keep records that you’ve completed your 16 hours each year and your 72 hours per renewal cycle. As you finish courses, your education provider will report that you’ve finished them to the IRS. But you don’t need to submit anything to the IRS until your renewal is due every three years.
Submit your enrolled agent renewal every three years between November 1 and January 31. Where you fall in the three-year renewal cycle depends on the last digit of your social security number (SSN).
If your SSN ends in 7, 8, or 9 or you don’t have one, your renewal is due this year. Make sure you submit your renewal between November and January. If you don’t, your EA status will expire on March 31, 2021.
If your SSN ends in 0, 1, 2, or 3, your renewal window runs from November 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022.
If your SSN ends in 4, 5, or 6, your renewal’s due between November 1, 2022, and January 31, 2023.
This should give you the broad strokes you need to stay on top of maintaining your enrolled agent status, but we went through some FAQs just in case.
Enrolled agent continuing education FAQs
How many CE credits do I need to complete if I enrolled during an enrollment cycle?
This is a pretty tricky question because the IRS adjusts your EA CPE requirement based on the exact month during which you enrolled. Know that, no matter what, you need to complete two hours of ethics training each year, even if you enrolled at the very end of the year.
As a basic rule of thumb, you need to complete two hours of enrolled agent CPE for each month left in your renewal cycle. So if you enroll in September and your renewal would be due at the year’s end, you just need eight hours to meet the enrolled agent CPE requirements.
But if you enroll in September of the first year of the three year renewal cycle, you’ll need 56 hours of enrolled agent continuing education courses by the time your renewal is due (8 hours to finish out the current year, plus 24 hours for each of the two full years of the renewal cycle).
Again, this can get a little complicated. Fortunately, the IRS has a handy table you can use to figure out exactly how many enrolled agent CPE hours you need. Scroll to the bottom of this PDF to find that “CE Requirements for an Enrollee’s First Renewal Cycle” table.
Don’t forget that two of your hours each year need to focus on ethics.
What’s the number of instructor hours someone can earn in a year?
If you’re teaching an IRS-approved CPE course, you can count some of the hours toward your requirements. Specifically, you can count six instructor hours toward your total each year.
I want to make sure I get the credit for the courses I have completed – how would I do that?
To ensure your enrolled agent continuing education courses count toward your EA renewal, you need to take your courses from IRS-approved CPE providers (see the next question for more details).
Then, make sure they have the correct PTIN for you and are spelling your name correctly. You should be able to see your continuing education hours in your online PTIN account once you’ve finished the course and your provider has reported the hours to the IRS.
How can I be sure that I am taking enrolled agent CPE courses from an IRS-approved provider?
Make sure you choose a provider from the list of education providers approved by the IRS. Also, you can ask a potential provider for their Provider Number, which the IRS gives them upon approval. Some approved providers will also have the IRS-Approved Continuing Education Provider logo on their site.
Would excess CE hours in federal tax law updates or ethics count toward the federal tax law requirement?
You can count extra hours in federal tax law updates toward your federal tax law requirement, but those hours can’t be counted toward anything else. Excess hours in ethics don’t count toward the federal tax law requirement.
What recordkeeping requirements are there for employee retirement plan agents and enrolled agents?
As a preparer, the IRS expects you to keep records about your continuing education for four years. You need to maintain records of:
- Your continuing education provider’s organization name and their program location
- The title of courses you take and the teacher’s name, along with the program approval number and a copy of the content, which should include the syllabus, course outlines, and any literature
- Details on your course completion, including the date you attended and how many hours you completed
- Your certificate of completion (or a signed statement from the education provider showing you completed the hours)
Would I receive credit for taking the same training more than once?
Technically, this is discouraged, but the water is a little muddy. The IRS says agents shouldn’t repeat courses within the same enrollment cycle as a general rule, but they “do understand that a preparer may have a reason to take a program again if they feel they need a refresher on the subject matter.” Repeat courses at your own discretion.