IRS CPE Courses
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Are you an enrolled agent trying to improve your efficiency in everything related to taxes, ethics, and representation? Do you want to attract more work opportunities and strengthen your position in the industry as a tax practitioner?
If you say “Yes” to any of these, focusing on your IRS CPE is the thing you need to do. Since IRS CPE is significantly different than CPE for CPAs, new tax practitioners often find it difficult to properly plan and meet IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements.
However, this page is aimed at providing both new and experienced enrolled agents with all the information related to IRS CPE. Here, we’ll discuss every important thing, from meeting IRS EA CPE requirements to finding the right IRS-approved CPE providers.
Professional tax preparers and tax advisors heavily benefit from earning the enrolled agent credential. The IRS provides enrolled agents with tools that tax preparers without this credential cannot access. In fact, enrolled agents can deal with almost any situation that a taxpayer may have to face.
In the context of tax preparation, enrolled agents can do a lot of things for their clients. They represent their clients before the IRS, discuss audits with the IRS, argue tax laws, make appeals, and more.
To do all these things efficiently and maintain your enrolled agent credential, you must renew your certification with the IRS. And this can only be done by pursuing IRS CPE.
Although meeting IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements is relatively easier than fulfilling CPA CPE requirements, there are several important things that you need to keep in mind.
A huge number of tax preparers aren’t enrolled agents, meaning they don’t essentially need to pursue IRS CPE. Since these professionals don’t complete any continuing tax education, they often fail to keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations related to taxation.
On the contrary, by meeting their IRS EA CPE requirements on time, not only can enrolled agents maintain their credentials but they also enjoy a plethora of benefits. Here’re the top ones among them.
· It boosts your credibility
Enrolled agent is the highest credential one can receive from the IRS. When you’re equipped with this credential, taxpayers understand that you’re a reliable, qualified tax preparer and that you can provide them with the best services. It automatically boosts your credibility in the field.
· It helps you win more clients
Credentials stand for your skills and accomplishments. When you add the enrolled agent title to your name, it tells people that you stay up-to-date with the latest tax rules and regulations and can conveniently meet IRS standards for them.
Since taxation is a complex field, taxpayers keep on searching for reliable and knowledgeable tax preparers who can guide them in the right direction and help them save money on taxes while adhering to the applicable rules and regulations.
When you maintain your EA credential by meeting your IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements on time, it helps you acquire more clients than other tax preparers who fail to maintain the credential.
· It helps improve your job stability
Since virtually everybody in the country needs to pay some types of taxes, efficient tax preparers enjoy steady work from many different entities. From individuals and small businesses to large corporations, accounting firms, law firms, tax-prep firms, and more, enrolled agents cater to the tax-related needs of everyone.
· It helps boost your earning potential
As mentioned earlier, enrolled agents carry out many different duties for their clients. Since not every tax preparer provides these services, enrolled agents always stay in high demand and experience high earning potential.
· It helps you work anywhere in the country
As the EA credential isn’t a state-specific designation, it’s valid throughout the country. This means you can choose to work from any state or jurisdiction in the U.S. as long as you maintain the credential by pursuing IRS CPE on time.
Before we delve deeper into the IRS EA CPE requirements, it’s important to understand a fundamental thing. Unlike the state-specific CPA credential, the EA credential is awarded by the IRS and is a federal designation.
Since you can work anywhere in the U.S. with your EA credential, you aren’t required to meet any state-specific requirements. Instead, you must meet the IRS CPE requirements for enrolled agents.
Here’re the things you must remember when start planning your IRS CPE.
· You must earn 72 IRS CPE credits every three years. You’re required to earn at least 16 IRS CPE credits each year.
· Among these 16 credits, two have to be on ethics.
· To meet your IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements successfully, you must earn your IRS CPE credits from IRS-approved CPE providers.
· If you apply during an enrollment cycle, you’re required to earn 2 CPE credits each month, together with 2 credits on professional conduct or ethics each year. Once your new enrollment cycle starts, you’ll need to earn all 72 IRS CPE credits to meet your IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements.
· If you cannot earn the minimum number of IRS CPE credits during an enrollment cycle because of extenuating situations, you should check Section 10.6(j) of Circular 230 of the Treasury Department. This is to see if you’re eligible for requesting a waiver of IRS EA CPE requirements.
· If you earn excess IRS CPE credits in ethics or federal tax law, those can only be counted toward meeting your CPE requirements in those categories. This means excess credits in ethics cannot be used toward meeting your federal tax law requirements.
· You can earn IRS CPE credits for the federal tax law category by completing data security or identity theft programs. However, these programs need to focus on improving your awareness of safeguarding client data, including a review of Publications 4524 and/or 4557 safeguards.
· You cannot earn more than six instructor hours each year.
· If you instruct a part of a program and attend another part as a student, you may be able to earn IRS CPE credits both as an instructor and a student. However, if you’re the only instructor for the program, you may only earn credits as an instructor.
· If you want your online PTIN account to display that you’ve met IRS PTIN CPE requirements, remember to share your PTIN with your IRS-approved CPE providers. This is also an excellent way to ensure that you’ve actually credits for the IRS CPE courses you completed.
· As a rule of thumb, you, as an enrolled agent, shouldn’t repeat an IRS CPE course within one enrollment cycle. However, if you need a refresher on the topic, you may do it.
Now that you have a clear comprehension of IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements, it’s time to take note of some important things related to the recordkeeping of your IRS CPE.
You must keep the following records for at least four years:
· The name of your IRS CPE providers
· The titles of your IRS CPE courses
· Copies of the content of the courses
· The number of IRS CPE credits you’ve earned by completing the courses
· The location of the courses
· The duration of your IRS CPE courses with dates
· The certificates of completion of the courses and/or signed statement of the IRS CPE hours received from the IRS CPE provider
It’s important to note that you aren’t required to send the certificates of completion of your IRS CPE courses to the IRS. As long as you take the courses from IRS-approved CPE providers, they’ll need to report your IRS CPE credits to the IRS.
However, you can check your online PTIN account to see the credits you’ve earned.
If you search online using a key phrase like “IRS CPE providers,” you’ll get many names. However, some of them may not be IRS-approved CPE providers. But as we’ve already mentioned, to have your IRS CPE credits counted toward meeting your tax preparer CPE requirements, it’s a must to take your courses from a CPE sponsor approved by the IRS.
Here’re the things you can do to ensure that you’re going to join such a provider.
· Check the public listing of IRS-approved CPE providers. However, it’s important to note that some providers choose not to be included in the public listing, and hence, this isn’t a complete list.
· Visit the provider’s website to see if it displays the logo mentioning “IRS Approved Continuing Education Provider.”
· The IRS issues a provider number to every provider. IRS-approved providers usually display this number on their websites.
Once you’ve completed a course, you’ll receive a completion certificate from your provider. Your certificate of completion should also appear with a program number. As this number has to be mentioned on every certificate of completion, it helps you ensure that you’ve taken the course from an IRS CPE provider.
Needless to say, enrolled agents experience maximum work pressure during the tax season. This often makes it very difficult to pursue IRS CPE during this time.
Here’re some tips to optimize your workflow during the tax season and free up time to meet IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements.
· Skip in-person meetings
This isn’t essential to have in-person meetings with all of your clients. In fact, many clients, particularly the younger ones, prefer to send their documents to tax preparers virtually. If required, you can always have online meetings with your clients to discuss important things.
This’ll essentially help you have more time to meet your IRS CPE requirements even during a busy tax season while optimizing your workflow.
· Go paperless whenever you can
These days, paper-based workflows are considered to be time-consuming and inefficient, which reduces your productivity. A paperless document management system not only makes it easier and faster to file, optimize, and ensure client security but also provides you with more time to pursue IRS CPE.
With the help of cloud-based software, your clients can send all their important documents to you securely and virtually.
· Automate necessary yet simple tasks
The tax season typically comes with several necessary and time-consuming tasks such as scheduling important meetings and managing payments. There are various business process automation services and software available that you can use to automate these tasks.
If you aren’t using them already, test them during the off-season and see how they can help you save time to meet your IRS tax preparer CPE requirements.
· Simplify the process of client follow up
For any enrolled agent, following up with former clients plays a vital role in increasing the number of returning clients and maximizing earning potential during tax season. However, it’s also a very time-consuming task to send reminders to all of your clients manually.
Fortunately, you can software to maintain a client database and send automated email reminders to your former clients.
· Optimize your business website
These days, many enrolled agents have their own business websites that help them attract more clients and make their lives relatively easier during the tax season. If you have one as well, you can optimize it to have some free time to meet your IRS EA CPE requirements.
For instance, you can use a chatbot to answer common questions of your potential clients. You can also embed the scheduling software into your website to help your clients schedule appointments automatically.
As you can see, pursuing IRS CPE diligently and meeting your IRS enrolled agent CPE requirements on time can easily bring a lot of exciting opportunities your way. While IRS EA CPE requirements aren’t as rigorous as CPE requirements for CPAs, you must focus on meeting them to maintain your credential and enhance your skills and knowledge.
We hope that this page has successfully answered all your questions related to IRS CPE and IRS CPE credits. If you have any other questions or want to learn more about our IRS CPE courses, feel free to give us a call today.
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