How to Become a Registered Tax Agent

by Drew Nelson; Updated September 26, 2017

To be able to represent clients before the IRS, a person must be either an attorney, a CPA or an enrolled agent. An enrolled agent is a person who has completed the requirements to practice (represent taxpayers) before the Internal Revenue Service. There are two tracks to becoming an enrolled agent.

Written Examination

Step 1

Make application to take the special enrollment examination. Candidates can demonstrate their competence in tax matters by taking and passing the examination. Form 2587, the application for special enrollment examination, is available through Prometric's website. Prometric administers the test for the IRS.

Step 2

Achieve a passing score on all parts of the special enrollment examination. The examination uses a standardized scaled score. The scale ranges from 40 to 130, with passing set at 105. Candidates who pass the exam do not get their scores; they are simply informed that they passed. Candidates who fail are given their scores so that they will know how close they were to passing. They are also given diagnostics so they can tell how they did on each art of the exam and plan their study time accordingly. The examination has three parts: Part 1 is Individuals, part 2 is businesses and part 2 is preparation, practices and procedures.

Step 3

Make application for enrollment using IRS form 23. Applicants must undergo and pass a background check before enrollment. This includes a review of the applicant’s tax transcript. Failure to file or pay taxes in a timely manner can be considered grounds to deny enrollment.

Step 4

Pass a background check designed to ensure that you have not been guilty of any conduct that would justify your suspension or disbarment from practice before the IRS. Failure to file or pay your taxes on time can result in denial of enrollment.

IRS Work Experience

Step 1

Obtain the number of years of experience required. To qualify, the individual must have five continuous years of work experience with the IRS in applying and interpreting the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations relating to income, estate, gift, employment or excise taxes.

Step 2

Apply for enrollment using form 23, but also include a standard position description for the position(s) held when employed by the IRS.

Step 3

Pass the background check described in step 4 above. This background check is standard for all applicants.

About the Author

Drew Nelson is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years experience. As a professional he has written dozens of reports, presentations and manuals. His articles appear on various websites, covering finance, economics, politics and health topics.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article