What You Need To Know Before Taking the Enrolled Agent Exam

Published by Partnered Content, Date: January 31, 2022
What You Need To Know Before Taking the Enrolled Agent Exam

Tax time is coming, and that means lots of questions. These questions about things like deductions, filing dates, and tax shelters will keep tax experts extra busy.

If you’re studying to become a tax agent, though, the questions will be different. Most likely, you’ll be prepping for the enrolled agent exam to become a qualified tax agent. But what goes into it? Here’s what you need to know before taking the enrolled agent exam.

Get the Right Review Course

One of the most common mistakes many would-be tax agents make is skipping some material because they already have an accounting background.

Don’t do it. Tax accounting is a different specialty with different rules, and you need to know what the ins and outs of those rules are. Study everything thoroughly and don’t take any chances. There are many online resources you can use to give you the study material you need to prepare for the exam.

Study the Updates

When your phone or computer sends you an update, you ignore it at your own peril, right? The same thing applies to the tax laws—lawmakers always tweak and update them. Therefore, gaps in your knowledge base can cost you a good score on the exam. Ensure you study the updates before taking the exam.

Know the Basics

While it’s important to keep up with the updates and changes, don’t ignore the fundamentals. It’s tempting to dabble in end-around if you already have experience with tax matters, but the exam is about the basics. Make sure you gear your studying toward mastering them.

Know the Formulas

Trying to memorize all the tax rules is hard, but the basic math behind the tax curtain doesn’t change. Know the formulas for things like adjusted gross income and basic corporate deductions, and you’ll save yourself a ton of time on the exam and likely improve your score in the process.

Know the Site Rules

One of the gnarly little surprises that comes with taking the enrolled agent exam is how intense the actual test day can be.

When it comes to what you need to know before taking the enrolled agent exam, be aware that your day will include fingerprinting and ID scans, and there are other prep procedures as well. The more you know about how your day will unfold, the more relaxed you’ll be when you take the test.

Budget Your Time

You’ll have three and a half hours to take the test, and one of your goals should be to at least see every question.

After that, develop a strategy for the ones you plan on skipping, and remember that most of the test focuses on fundamentals, so leave out the arcane questions if necessary.


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