IRS Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) Study Guide

By Jean Folger AAA

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 http://www.pay.gov/ 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 epp@irs.gov.

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
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