If you have recently obtained your Enrolled Agent certification, you may not be aware that you will be required to fulfill 72 hours of approved CPE hours within three years of earning your EA certification. In addition, you are also required to earn 2 hours of ethics credit hours each year, for a total of 6 credit hours of enrolled agent ethics cpe training within the three year period. It is important that you are not only aware of the continuing education requirements, but also that you make sure you are earning your credit hours and not waiting till the last minute.
Enrolled Agent Continuing Professional Education Hours
Like a number of professional fields that require continuing education hours, the purpose of the CPE credit hours for enrolled agents, is to make sure you keep up with developments in the field and changes to the tax laws. It is important to be aware of the requirements and also to use an approved IRS provider, once you enroll in a course, the provider notifies the IRS of your completion of the course. Keep in mind that you are required to complete 16 credit hours each year and two credit hours of enrolled agent ethics cpe.
The great thing about CPE credit hours, is there are a number of providers offering enrolled agent continuing education classes online, so you can take the roughly 1-2 hour long classes at your own pace, without having to take time out of your day or worry about getting to a physical class. Of course, there are also accounting seminars and other programs available, you can also take, so be sure to keep a lookout for any Enrolled Agent CPE credit hours if you are going to a tax seminar or accounting seminar. Keep in mind that in order for the credits to be counted, the classes MUST be approved by the IRS.
One thing to keep in mind and be aware of is that there are cycles to the enrolled agent period, that correspond to the last digit of your tax identification number or Social security number. If you get your certification midpoint in an enrollment cycle, you are required to obtain 2 hours of CPE credit per month, and also fulfill the two hours of ethics requirements per year. After the cycle renews you will be back to the yearly 16 credit hours and 2 ethics hours per year.
As mentioned previously there are a number of traditional classroom or CPE offerings, you will want to check with your local community college or university accounting departments for EA recognized courses. Additionally Gleim as well as Fast Forward Academy also offer a full range of online enrolled agent CPE approved credit hours you can take. For the most part, unless a conference is offering approved enrolled agent CPE credit hours, the vast majority of enrolled agent elect to take the online courses, since it’s straightforward, extremely affordable and they can knock out the courses whenever they have free time.
What If You Cannot Complete Your CPE Requirements?
One of the most common questions enrolled agents have is; what they should do if they cannot complete the CPE requirements or forgot about the requirements. The answer is, that you should try not to fall into that category, not only can your certification be revoked, but with online classes these day’s, there is really no excuse not to complete your CPE requirements. In extreme circumstances, medical emergencies, extended active military duty or if you are out of the US for an extended period of time, you maybe able to qualify for a waiver of your continuing education requirements. You should refer to section Section 10.6(j) of Treasury Department Circular 230 to see if you meet the requirements.
Refer to Section 10.6(j) of Treasury Department Circular 230 to determine if you meet the qualifications to request a waiver of continuing education requirements. Bear in mind waivers are not granted automatically and they are used in most serious of circumstances. Don’t think you will be able to claim you “were out of the country on business for two months” and get out of the CPE requirements, because you neglected to fulfill the requirements.
Special Requirements For National Association of Enrolled Agents
If you are a member of the national association of enrolled agents, you are required to complete 30 hours of CE or continuing education credits each year. In order to renew your membership in the NAEA you are required to document your previous years CE hours.
In order to successfully gain credit for your CE or CPE hours, you are required to pass an exam at the end of the 1-2 hour long course with at least a 70% or higher score. If you pay attention and take notes you should have no problems passing the exam. Unlike the Enrolled Agent (SEE) exam, you don’t have to use a proctor or have someone administer the test to you. And unlike the SEE exam, the CPE exams are open book and you can retake them as many times as needed to pass.