In case my regular readers wonder where I have been for the last few months, I have been studying for passing the enrolled agent exams (well, that and teaching basic income tax preparation to new students). For those of you who haven’t heard the term before, 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. Another big difference is that enrolled agents have to constantly stay current with tax law. This isn’t to say that attorneys or CPAs aren’t current, it just means that enrolled agents are held to a slightly higher standard.
The standard is for good reason since inside the Internal Revenue, their employees take the same series of tests to become an enrolled agent. Enrolled agents tend to know more about tax law than some attorneys or CPAs. That makes sense when you think about it since some attorneys are criminal attorneys and their speciality may be dealing with representing clients in cases regarding theft or manslaughter. Even though people may feel like killing people when it come to tax time, there usually is more sanity when it comes to dealing with income tax clients (though it does come pretty close to being as nervewracking for some as a criminal trial).
The three tests are not easy and require the study of dozens of different IRS documents, forms and pamphlets. It also helps that I have been doing taxes for at least eight years and have had experience with different types of tax returns. When I passed different parts of the exams I was literally weeping – not for joy or sorrow – but out of shock because I didn’t get some of the questions and their possible choices for answers. My only thought is that in previous exams before the system became automated and administered by Prometric, there were questions that were test questions and maybe some of them were test questions and weighted accordingly. Who knows. When you take the Enrolled Agent exams, you only get your actual score back if you fail otherwise you get notified if you pass and that is it.
I am now waiting for results from the IRS for the background check and originally the IRS website said 60 days till I get the results. That was around Oct 9th. When I checked the IRS website recently, the message posted was that the waiting period before calling them is 90 days. Ah, well, with Congress meeting to finalize tax changes for the year and with a lot of other people probably racing to pass the exams before the mandatory Federal testing for regular tax preparers kicks in I can see that they will be busy.
Stay happy and healthy gang.
Kim Isaac Greenblatt
Nov 06 2010
Enrolled Agent Exam-Passed All the Parts