January 31 Credential Renewal Deadline for Some Enrolled Agents

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS)

January 31 is Credential Renewal Deadline for Some Enrolled Agents

January 31 Credential Renewal Deadline for Some Enrolled Agents

Enrolled agents (EAs) with Social Security Numbers (SSNs) ending in 4, 5 or 6 are required to renew their enrollment by January 31st or their EA status will expire on March 31, 2020.

Background—EAs. Section 10.4(a) of Circular 230 authorizes the IRS to grant EA status to individuals who demonstrate special competence in tax matters by passing

  1. A written examination (Special Enrollment Examination) and
  2. A background check that shows they have not engaged in any conduct that would justify suspension or disbarment under Circular 230.

EAs are eligible to practice before the IRS and are subject to the rules in Circular 230.

Once an individual becomes eligible for EA status by passing the written exam and background check, the individual must file an application for enrollment with the IRS and pay a nonrefundable user fee. (31 CFR 10.5)

To maintain active status and ability to practice before the IRS, every three years EAs must complete continuing education requirements, file an application to renew their enrollment and pay a nonrefundable user fee. The renewal periods are staggered based on the last digit of the EA's SSN. (31 CFR 10.6(d))

2020 enrollment renewal application period. The 2020 enrollment renewal application period opened November 1, 2019 and continues through January 31, 2020. EAs with SSNs ending in 4, 5, or 6 must renew during this period or their current enrollment will expire on March 31, 2020.

EAs may submit their renewal application and user fee payment online through Pay.gov (search for EA renewal or Form 8554). To renew, an EA must:

  1. Have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN);
  2. Have completed a minimum of 72 hours of continuing education (CE), with a minimum of 16 hours of CE (including 2 hours of ethics or professional conduct) for each year of their three year enrollment period. (Different rules apply for first time EA renewal); and
  3. Pay the $67 nonrefundable renewal fee.

EAs should remember to fill in the CE table in Part 1 completely and to sign and date the renewal application in Part 3.