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IRS Test Requirements for Becoming a Paid Tax Professional

NOTE: Feb 11, 2014 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court in the case of Loving vs. IRS, finding insufficient statutory support for the IRS’ regulation of federal tax return preparers. The IRS continues to believe that it’s critical for the taxpayers to be able to rely on quality work from tax preparers and is assessing the court's decision.

Please continue to check this site for additional information as it becomes available. Read the full IRS statement.

Certified Public Accountants and Attorneys may prepare federal individual income tax returns and represent clients before the IRS without passing an IRS test. (But they must obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number and renew it annually.)




Representation Rights


Test Topics

Number of Questions

Length of Test


Enrolled Agents Unlimited* Special Enrollment Exam


- Individual Taxation
- Business Taxation
- Representation
- Ethics


3 parts, 100 questions for each part 3 parts: 3.5 hours per part  $105 for each part

*Former IRS employees who become Enrolled Agents without taking the Special Enrollment Examination may be granted limited or unlimited representation rights.

Learn about becoming an Enrolled Actuary or Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent.

Return to the Return Preparer Requirements Homepage

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 19-Mar-2014