Enrolled agents use Form 8554 to renew on a staggered schedule, based on the last digit of the enrolled agent’s social security number. The renewal period is November 1 through January 31 (do not renew early). To be eligible for renewal, enrolled agents must complete 72 continuing education (CE) credit hours for the three year cycle, with a minimum of 16 CE per year and two CE credit hours per year in Ethics. New enrolled agents have a pro-rated CE requirement for the first renewal, and must earn 2 hours of qualifying CE per month in addition to 2 hours of Ethics per year.
Enrolled agents are required by Circular 230 to have a valid personal tax identification number (PTIN). Enrolled agents should keep documentation of CE classes for four years. Full details on IRS requirements to renew the EA license can be found on the IRS website.
To qualify for continuing education credit, a course of learning must be offered by an approved IRS CE sponsor and have a valid program number. The class must be designed to enhance an enrolled agent's professional proficiency in federal taxation or federal tax related matters. This would include accounting courses, tax preparation software and/or ethics courses.
The field(s) of study should include subjects dealing with federal tax compliance and tax planning. Compliance covers tax return preparation and review and IRS examinations, ruling requests and protests. Tax planning focuses on applying federal tax rules to prospective transactions and understanding the tax implication of unusual or complex transactions.
Members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents are required to earn 30 CE hours in each calendar year, including two hours of Ethics. Members report their hours for the prior calendar year as they renew for the upcoming membership year.