Enrolled Agent Syllabus | A Complete Guide

Introduction

An enrolled agent is an authorized Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax practitioner, having 100% representation rights in all states without any geographical or other restrictions. As an EA exclusively deals in tax and taxation laws, they must undergo a rigorous examination that includes various subjects pertaining to different types of taxation laws practiced throughout the nation. 
While limited to taxation laws, the Enrolled Agent syllabus is still very detailed and comprehensive, requiring the students to develop a keen understanding of the subject, which goes beyond theoretical knowledge and leans more towards the practical aspect of the job.

Structure and syllabus

The Enrolled Agent syllabus only includes subjects relating to taxation laws, ranging from individual taxation to laws related to business tax and practices, procedures, and representation before the IRS. It is because an EA is an IRS-authorized tax practitioner; therefore, it is crucial to prepare the students in all areas of taxation and tax practices. For this reason, the US EA examination is divided into the following three levels:
 

Level One: Individual Level

The first level of the EA exam covers the Enrolled Agent syllabus related to taxation laws applicable to individuals, i.e., the nation's citizens. In the past few decades, the law related to individual taxation has grown significantly. With individuals venturing into varied financial decisions, like investing, saving, and even developing more than one income source, individual taxation has complicated a lot, creating great professional opportunities for the EAs. 
However, this expansion of scope has also called for an extensive Enrolled Agent syllabus about individual taxation. Considering this factor, the Enrolled Agent syllabus now has various subjects on the topic, namely:
  • Income and assets
  • Deductions and credits
  • Taxation and advice
  • Preliminary Work with Taxpayer Data
  • Specialized Returns for Individuals
 

Level Two: Business Level

Level two of the EA exam can be said to have the most extensive part of the entire Enrolled Agent syllabus. This is because the second level of the course is about tax and taxation laws for businesses and business entities. The laws related to businesses and business entities have been complex throughout history. However, the laws have become more extensive with the increase in service-based business models and more individuals gravitating towards small businesses and start-ups. 
Taxation laws related to businesses and business entities have also started to overlap with individual taxation laws, as several individuals now opt for more than one source of income. Usually, one is from a job and the other from a small business or a start-up, further complicating the tax preparation for businesses and individuals. To prepare students to be able to navigate such difficulties, the Enrolled Agent syllabus has considered several comprehensive subjects for the second level of the EA exam: 
  • Business Entities
  • Income and Assets
  • Specialized Returns and Taxpayers
  • Taxation and advice
  • Specialized Returns for Individuals
 

Level Three: Representation, Practices, and Procedures

The third and final level of the EA examination has the most unique Enrolled Agent syllabus. As this level aims to train the students about the various rules and regulations of practicing and representing in front of the IRS, the syllabus here is more practical than theoretical. It is common knowledge that a professional can never be made just by reading books; practical exposure is necessary to build a true professional. This sentiment can be seen in this part of the Enrolled Agent syllabus, as the entire third level aims to create a true professional with subjects like:
  • Practices and procedures
  • Representation before the IRS
  • Specific Types of Representation
  • Filing Process
 

Enrolled Agent Preparation Tips

While having quality study material is crucial for clearing the EA exams, focusing on other factors impacting your performance is also very important. Here are some useful Enrolled Agent preparation tips that will help you improve your performance significantly:
 

Understand the Exam Format and Content

The first thing to do while preparing for any examination, including EA, is to understand the format and content. Once you are well versed in the exam format, you can format a plan to prepare accordingly. EA is a 100% objective examination, so its preparation will be much different than a subjective examination.
 

Obtain up-to-Date study materials.

The quality of the material you study while preparing for an examination greatly impacts your results. Thus, ensure that the material you pick for exam preparation covers each and every part of the EA syllabus. The study materials must help you get a grasp of each topic, making you confident enough to clear the exam in the initial attempt.
 

Create a structured study plan.

As the EA examination is divided into three parts, each dealing with a different segment of the taxation law, you need to make a plan accordingly. While making a study plan, you must also factor in the time available to clear the examination. A robust study plan will keep you on track and ensure you pass the exam without any difficulties.
 

Practice with sample questions and exams.

Regularly testing yourself and evaluating your progress based on how well you do is a great way to keep track of your progress while promptly shedding light on the pain points. You can discover your plus and minus points by practicing with sample questions and working on them before the actual examination.
 

Stay updated on changes to tax laws.

While basic concepts of law seldom change, intermediate alterations to the law are made regularly to update them as per the current situation. Such changes may include fees, penalties, rates, etc. So, staying informed about such changes is crucial if you are preparing for EA.
 

Review and refine your understanding regularly.

Once you have completed the entire Enrolled Agent syllabus, make it a point to revise it continuously. Without continuous revision, your memory will become foggy, resulting in panic before the exams, as you cannot remember everything quickly.
 

Simulate exam conditions before the test day.

One of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for facing the examination and to reduce any anxiety is to simulate exam conditions before the test day. It is somewhat similar to solving sample question papers, but with more extensive steps to stimulate the exact conditions of the real examination.
 

Stay calm and confident during the exam.

Once in the examination hall, you must stay calm and confident. Don't panic, and focus on the examination. If you see any part that confuses you, skip it and attempt the parts you are confident in. This way, you can boost your confidence and not waste time on things you might not know.

FAQs

Q1. What are the subjects in EA?

  1. The EA syllabus has subjects ranging from individual taxation to laws related to business tax and practices, procedures, and representation before the IRS, preparing the students in all areas of taxation and tax practices.

Q2. Who is eligible for the EA course?

  1. The EA eligibility criteria are not very strict and only require the students to be in 12th grade.

Q3. What is the hardest part of the Enrolled Agent Exam?

  1. All of the enrolled agent subjects are structured to educate the students comprehensively. While all the EA subjects are different, they are almost of the same importance and difficulty level.

Q4. How many exams are there in EA?

  1. There are three exams you need to clear to become an enrolled agent.

Conclusion

The EA exam is not difficult to qualify for if the students study from quality Enrolled Agent study materials and follow the Enrolled Agent preparation tips while studying for the exams. Divided into three parts, the exam aims to comprehensively evaluate the students in the different aspects of tax and taxation laws, including preparation and representation in front of the IRS.
So, if you are an aspiring student working on becoming an EA, you must enroll in an institution that provides you with not only quality material and professional lecturers but also counseling and mentoring. NorthStar Academy does that for its students by providing premium Enrolled Agent study materials like Gleim Books, with an astonishing 90% passing percentage.

 

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