Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Program Changes


Effective February 12, 2016, the IRS no longer offers the ERPA Special Enrollment Examination (ERPA SEE) to become an ERPA. Any current ERPAs will continue to hold the ERPA designation, allowing them to practice before the IRS. Anyone who had passed both parts of the SEE could have become an ERPA if they filed the Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service PDF. The application for enrollment had to be filed within one year of passing both parts of the test.

Final testing window

The final ERPA SEE testing window was January 5 through February 12, 2016. Candidates were able to take each part of the test only one time during that testing window. This testing window was the last opportunity for employee benefits professionals to become an ERPA. Candidates who had passed only one part of the exam by February 12, 2016, will not have any further opportunities to take the exam.

Renewal for current ERPAs

The program remains unchanged for current ERPAs. The renewal period for ERPAs will remain as defined in Circular 230, section 10.6. Continuing Education (CE) is still required under Circular 230 and the requisite number of hours of CE must be obtained from an IRS approved CE provider.


1. Why did the IRS decide to discontinue offering the ERPA-Special Enrollment Examination (ERPA-SEE)?

Due to a steady decline in the volume of ERPA-SEE test takers, the cost to administer the examination no longer warrants us offering the test.

2. When did the IRS stop offering the ERPA-SEE?

Test candidates had an opportunity to take the examination from January 5, through February 12, 2016. After February 12, 2016, the test is no longer offered. Candidates could take each part of the test only one time during the January 5 – February 12, 2016, testing window.

3. If I have passed only one part of the test by February 12, 2016 will there be another opportunity to pass the remaining part?

No. The final opportunity to pass either part of the test was during the January 5, 2016 to February 12, 2016 testing window.

4. Will this change impact those individuals who currently hold the ERPA designation?

No, there's no impact to those who are currently ERPAs. Those with the ERPA designation will continue to have the same rights to practice before the IRS, be subject to Circular 230 requirements for continuing education and renewal of enrollment, and be able to hold themselves out as ERPAs.

5. How long did those who had passed both parts of the ERPA-SEE have to submit an application for enrollment?

Candidates had to file Form 23-EP, Application for Enrollment to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA), within one year after passing both parts of the ERPA-SEE, and the candidate had to pass a tax compliance check.

6. With the ERPA-SEE no longer being offered after February 12, 2016, will there be any changes with respect to continuing education or renewal of enrollment? (updated August 4, 2023)

No, there are no changes to continuing education or renewal of enrollment requirements for existing ERPAs.

7. I am a former IRS Employee Plans agent. Will I still be able to apply to become an ERPA after ERPA-SEE testing ended on February 12, 2016? (updated August 4, 2023)

No. Former IRS Employee Plan Agents aren't eligible to apply for enrollment as an ERPA after February 12, 2016. You may, however apply for enrollment as an enrolled agent based on your technical experience. The IRS may limit your enrollment to employee plan matters.

8. If I am an ERPA what is the benefit of maintaining this designation after February 12, 2016?

ERPAs can represent their clients before the IRS with respect to issues involving the following programs: Employee Plans Determination Letter program; Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System; and Employee Plans Master and Prototype and Volume Submitter program. In addition, ERPAs are generally permitted to represent taxpayers with respect to IRS forms under the 5500 series and can practice before Appeals, Collection, Counsel and other IRS offices with respect to the above listed matters.

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