Introduction - Passing The SEE

The SEE is comprised of three sections:

  • Part 1 – Individuals
  • Part 2 – Businesses
  • Part 3 – Representation, Practice and Procedures

It is generally recommended that you study for and take one exam at a time. Once you pass one exam, then study and sit for the next and so on. The IRS does not require you to take the exams in any particular order; many people find the second exam to be the most challenging and, therefore, take that one last.

Each section has 100 multiple-choice questions and has a 3.5 hour time limit, with 30 extra minutes for a tutorial and survey. Multiple choice questions are formatted as direct questions, incomplete sentences and "all the following except" type questions. Each question is weighted equally with one point; scaled scores are determined by ranking your results against others taking the exam on a scale of 40 to 130. The passing score has been set by the IRS to 105, which represents the minimum level of knowledge that the IRS considers acceptable to practice before the IRS.

Exam results are available immediately after finishing the exam. Only failing candidates are provided a score; they are able to re-take each part of the test up to four times each testing period. All three sections of the test must be passed within a two years. Successful candidates do not receive a score, but will immediately receive notification of passing the exam. All results are automatically shared with the IRS.

Apply for Enrollment
Once you have successfully passed all three sections of the exam, you must submit a completed and signed IRS Form 23 "Application for Enrollment to Practice before the Internal Revenue Service," along with the non-refundable $30 application fee. Form 23 must be filed within one year of the date from passing all sections of the exam. You can visit to file and pay electronically. Instead of filing online, you can also print out the form and send it by regular mail to:

U.S. Treasury/Enrollment
PO Box 301510
Los Angeles, CA 90030-1510

If you want use overnight mail, mail the form to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Box 301510
19220 Normandie Ave. Ste. B
Torrance, CA 90502

The application for enrollment takes about 60 days to process. Your enrollment status is not effective until the application has been approved. In other words, you are not authorized to act as an enrolled agent until enrollment has been granted. After 60 days, you can check the status of your application by calling 1-313-234-1280 or sending an email to

Pass a Tax Compliance Check
The final step in becoming an enrolled agent is to pass a Federal tax compliance check and suitability check. The tax compliance check is conducted to make sure you have filed all required tax returns and that you have paid, in full, any tax liabilities. The suitability check is conducted to determine if you have engaged in any disreputable conduct. These checks will be conducted on your behalf after your submit Form 23.

Exam Topic Breakdown
Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Tax Efficient Strategies for Mutual Funds

    Before you sell mutual fund shares, consider these tax strategies first.
  2. Professionals

    Dodging the Dangers of Self-Directed IRAs

    Self-directed IRAs are an attractive option for investors looking to build nest eggs. But they should exercise caution in avoiding prohibited transactions.
  3. Professionals

    Top Strategies for Tax-Free Roth IRA Conversions

    Finding a way to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is a tricky process. Here's when it makes sense to do so.
  4. Professionals

    Using Tax-Loss Harvesting to Keep Your Gains

    Harvesting tax losses is a key skill that investors can use to keep more of their money in their pockets the next time they file taxes.
  5. Fundamental Analysis

    7 Ways to Create a Tax-Efficient Portfolio

    Taxes may be a necessary evil, but that doesn't mean they can't be reduced. Here's a host of smart moves today's investors can make.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    Hire Your Kids at Your Small Business – Here's Why

    And how to make sure you do it the right way, following IRS guidelines.
  7. Taxes

    Countries With The Highest & Lowest Corporate Tax Rates

    The United States is No. 2 in the world for its high corporate tax rate. There are ways around paying it, and many nations with lower rates are worse off.
  8. Investing

    How Does Depreciation Reduce My Tax Bill?

    How the depreciation tax rule can assist real estate investors.
  9. Investing

    The Best Strategies to Manage Your Stock Options

    We look at strategies to help manage taxes and the exercise of incentive and non-qualified stock options.
  10. Taxes

    Payroll Taxes: Picking Apart Your Paycheck

    Here's what gets deducted from your pay, what your employer pays and where your payroll taxes actually end up.
  1. Structured Transaction

    A series of transactions that could have been treated as a single ...
  2. Tax Deductible Interest

    A borrowing expense that a taxpayer can claim on a federal or ...
  3. Working Tax Credit (WTC)

    A tax credit offered to low-income individuals working in the ...
  4. Proof of Charitable Contributions

    Substantiation required by the Internal Revenue Service for a ...
  5. Quid Pro Quo Contribution

    A charitable donation for which the donor receives something ...
  6. Readvanceable Mortgage

    A mortgage feature that allows the borrower to re-borrow the ...
  1. Why is the Cayman Islands considered a tax haven?

    The Cayman Islands is one of the most well-known tax havens in the world. Unlike most countries, the Cayman Islands does ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why is Andorra considered a tax haven?

    Andorra is one of many locations around the globe considered a tax haven because of its relatively lenient tax laws. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the best free online calculators for calculating my taxable income?

    Free online calculators for determining your taxable income are located at, and Determining ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. In what instances does overhead qualify for certain tax allowances?

    Businesses are just as keen as anyone else to keep their tax burdens low by any means possible. Overhead expenses often qualify ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is there a situation in which wash trading is legal?

    Wash trading, the intentional practice of manipulating a stock's activity level to deceive other investors, is not a legal ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How are write-offs recorded on my tax return?

    The way your write-offs are recorded on your tax return varies depending on whether you are filing a personal or business ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  2. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  3. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  4. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  5. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
  6. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's costs of production by assessing the input costs of each step ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!