31 CFR 10.6 - Term and renewal of status as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer.

§ 10.6 Term and renewal of status as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer.
(a) Term. Each individual authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer will be accorded active enrollment or registration status subject to renewal of enrollment or registration as provided in this part.
(b) Enrollment or registration card or certificate. The Internal Revenue Service will issue an enrollment or registration card or certificate to each individual whose application to practice before the Internal Revenue Service is approved. Each card or certificate will be valid for the period stated on the card or certificate. An enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer may not practice before the Internal Revenue Service if the card or certificate is not current or otherwise valid. The card or certificate is in addition to any notification that may be provided to each individual who obtains a preparer tax identification number.
(c) Change of address. An enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer must send notification of any change of address to the address specified by the Internal Revenue Service within 60 days of the change of address. This notification must include the enrolled agent's, enrolled retirement plan agent's, or registered tax return preparer's name, prior address, new address, tax identification number(s) (including preparer tax identification number), and the date the change of address is effective. Unless this notification is sent, the address for purposes of any correspondence from the appropriate Internal Revenue Service office responsible for administering this part shall be the address reflected on the practitioner's most recent application for enrollment or registration, or application for renewal of enrollment or registration. A practitioner's change of address notification under this part will not constitute a change of the practitioner's last known address for purposes of section 6212 of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations thereunder.
(d) Renewal—
(1) In general. Enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, and registered tax return preparers must renew their status with the Internal Revenue Service to maintain eligibility to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. Failure to receive notification from the Internal Revenue Service of the renewal requirement will not be justification for the individual's failure to satisfy this requirement.
(2) Renewal period for enrolled agents.
(i) All enrolled agents must renew their preparer tax identification number as prescribed by forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance.
(ii) Enrolled agents who have a Social Security number or tax identification number that ends with the numbers 0, 1, 2, or 3, except for those individuals who received their initial enrollment after November 1, 2003, must apply for renewal between November 1, 2003, and January 31, 2004. The renewal will be effective April 1, 2004.
(iii) Enrolled agents who have a social security number or tax identification number that ends with the numbers 4, 5, or 6, except for those individuals who received their initial enrollment after November 1, 2004, must apply for renewal between November 1, 2004, and January 31, 2005. The renewal will be effective April 1, 2005.
(iv) Enrolled agents who have a social security number or tax identification number that ends with the numbers 7, 8, or 9, except for those individuals who received their initial enrollment after November 1, 2005, must apply for renewal between November 1, 2005, and January 31, 2006. The renewal will be effective April 1, 2006.
(v) Thereafter, applications for renewal as an enrolled agent will be required between November 1 and January 31 of every subsequent third year as specified in paragraph (d)(2)(i), (d)(2)(ii), or (d)(2)(iii) of this section according to the last number of the individual's Social Security number or tax identification number. Those individuals who receive initial enrollment as an enrolled agent after November 1 and before April 2 of the applicable renewal period will not be required to renew their enrollment before the first full renewal period following the receipt of their initial enrollment.
(3) Renewal period for enrolled retirement plan agents.
(i) All enrolled retirement plan agents must renew their preparer tax identification number as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance.
(ii) Enrolled retirement plan agents will be required to renew their status as enrolled retirement plan agents between April 1 and June 30 of every third year subsequent to their initial enrollment.
(4) Renewal period for registered tax return preparers. Registered tax return preparers must renew their preparer tax identification number and their status as a registered tax return preparer as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance.
(5) Notification of renewal. After review and approval, the Internal Revenue Service will notify the individual of the renewal and will issue the individual a card or certificate evidencing current status as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer.
(6) Fee. A reasonable nonrefundable fee may be charged for each application for renewal filed. See 26 CFR part 300.
(7) Forms. Forms required for renewal may be obtained by sending a written request to the address specified by the Internal Revenue Service or from such other source as the Internal Revenue Service will publish in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see 26 CFR 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b)) and on the Internal Revenue Service webpage ( http://www.irs.gov ).
(e) Condition for renewal: continuing education. In order to qualify for renewal as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer, an individual must certify, in the manner prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service, that the individual has satisfied the requisite number of continuing education hours.
(1) Definitions. For purposes of this section—
(i) Enrollment year means January 1 to December 31 of each year of an enrollment cycle.
(ii) Enrollment cycle means the three successive enrollment years preceding the effective date of renewal.
(iii) Registration year means each 12-month period the registered tax return preparer is authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.
(iv) The effective date of renewal is the first day of the fourth month following the close of the period for renewal described in paragraph (d) of this section.
(2) For renewed enrollment as an enrolled agent or enrolled retirement plan agent—
(i) Requirements for enrollment cycle. A minimum of 72 hours of continuing education credit, including six hours of ethics or professional conduct, must be completed during each enrollment cycle.
(ii) Requirements for enrollment year. A minimum of 16 hours of continuing education credit, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct, must be completed during each enrollment year of an enrollment cycle.
(iii) Enrollment during enrollment cycle—
(A) In general. Subject to paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(B) of this section, an individual who receives initial enrollment during an enrollment cycle must complete two hours of qualifying continuing education credit for each month enrolled during the enrollment cycle. Enrollment for any part of a month is considered enrollment for the entire month.
(B) Ethics. An individual who receives initial enrollment during an enrollment cycle must complete two hours of ethics or professional conduct for each enrollment year during the enrollment cycle. Enrollment for any part of an enrollment year is considered enrollment for the entire year.
(3) Requirements for renewal as a registered tax return preparer. A minimum of 15 hours of continuing education credit, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct, three hours of Federal tax law updates, and 10 hours of Federal tax law topics, must be completed during each registration year.
(f) Qualifying continuing education—
(1) General—
(i) Enrolled agents. To qualify for continuing education credit for an enrolled agent, a course of learning must—
(A) Be a qualifying continuing education program designed to enhance professional knowledge in Federal taxation or Federal tax related matters (programs comprised of current subject matter in Federal taxation or Federal tax related matters, including accounting, tax return preparation software, taxation, or ethics); and
(B) Be a qualifying continuing education program consistent with the Internal Revenue Code and effective tax administration.
(ii) Enrolled retirement plan agents. To qualify for continuing education credit for an enrolled retirement plan agent, a course of learning must—
(A) Be a qualifying continuing education program designed to enhance professional knowledge in qualified retirement plan matters; and
(B) Be a qualifying continuing education program consistent with the Internal Revenue Code and effective tax administration.
(iii) Registered tax return preparers. To qualify for continuing education credit for a registered tax return preparer, a course of learning must—
(A) Be a qualifying continuing education program designed to enhance professional knowledge in Federal taxation or Federal tax related matters (programs comprised of current subject matter in Federal taxation or Federal tax related matters, including accounting, tax return preparation software, taxation, or ethics); and
(B) Be a qualifying continuing education program consistent with the Internal Revenue Code and effective tax administration.
(2) Qualifying programs—
(i) Formal programs. A formal program qualifies as a continuing education program if it—
(A) Requires attendance and provides each attendee with a certificate of attendance;
(B) Is conducted by a qualified instructor, discussion leader, or speaker (in other words, a person whose background, training, education, and experience is appropriate for instructing or leading a discussion on the subject matter of the particular program);
(C) Provides or requires a written outline, textbook, or suitable electronic educational materials; and
(D) Satisfies the requirements established for a qualified continuing education program pursuant to § 10.9.
(ii) Correspondence or individual study programs (including taped programs). Qualifying continuing education programs include correspondence or individual study programs that are conducted by continuing education providers and completed on an individual basis by the enrolled individual. The allowable credit hours for such programs will be measured on a basis comparable to the measurement of a seminar or course for credit in an accredited educational institution. Such programs qualify as continuing education programs only if they—
(A) Require registration of the participants by the continuing education provider;
(B) Provide a means for measuring successful completion by the participants (for example, a written examination), including the issuance of a certificate of completion by the continuing education provider;
(C) Provide a written outline, textbook, or suitable electronic educational materials; and
(D) Satisfy the requirements established for a qualified continuing education program pursuant to § 10.9.
(iii) Serving as an instructor, discussion leader or speaker.
(A) One hour of continuing education credit will be awarded for each contact hour completed as an instructor, discussion leader, or speaker at an educational program that meets the continuing education requirements of paragraph (f) of this section.
(B) A maximum of two hours of continuing education credit will be awarded for actual subject preparation time for each contact hour completed as an instructor, discussion leader, or speaker at such programs. It is the responsibility of the individual claiming such credit to maintain records to verify preparation time.
(C) The maximum continuing education credit for instruction and preparation may not exceed four hours annually for registered tax return preparers and six hours annually for enrolled agents and enrolled retirement plan agents.
(D) An instructor, discussion leader, or speaker who makes more than one presentation on the same subject matter during an enrollment cycle or registration year will receive continuing education credit for only one such presentation for the enrollment cycle or registration year.
(3) Periodic examination. Enrolled Agents and Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents may establish eligibility for renewal of enrollment for any enrollment cycle by—
(i) Achieving a passing score on each part of the Special Enrollment Examination administered under this part during the three year period prior to renewal; and
(ii) Completing a minimum of 16 hours of qualifying continuing education during the last year of an enrollment cycle.
(g) Measurement of continuing education coursework.
(1) All continuing education programs will be measured in terms of contact hours. The shortest recognized program will be one contact hour.
(2) A contact hour is 50 minutes of continuous participation in a program. Credit is granted only for a full contact hour, which is 50 minutes or multiples thereof. For example, a program lasting more than 50 minutes but less than 100 minutes will count as only one contact hour.
(3) Individual segments at continuous conferences, conventions and the like will be considered one total program. For example, two 90-minute segments (180 minutes) at a continuous conference will count as three contact hours.
(4) For university or college courses, each semester hour credit will equal 15 contact hours and a quarter hour credit will equal 10 contact hours.
(h) Recordkeeping requirements.
(1) Each individual applying for renewal must retain for a period of four years following the date of renewal the information required with regard to qualifying continuing education credit hours. Such information includes—
(i) The name of the sponsoring organization;
(ii) The location of the program;
(iii) The title of the program, qualified program number, and description of its content;
(iv) Written outlines, course syllibi, textbook, and/or electronic materials provided or required for the course;
(v) The dates attended;
(vi) The credit hours claimed;
(vii) The name(s) of the instructor(s), discussion leader(s), or speaker(s), if appropriate; and
(viii) The certificate of completion and/or signed statement of the hours of attendance obtained from the continuing education provider.
(2) To receive continuing education credit for service completed as an instructor, discussion leader, or speaker, the following information must be maintained for a period of four years following the date of renewal—
(i) The name of the sponsoring organization;
(ii) The location of the program;
(iii) The title of the program and copy of its content;
(iv) The dates of the program; and
(v) The credit hours claimed.
(i) Waivers.
(1) Waiver from the continuing education requirements for a given period may be granted for the following reasons—
(i) Health, which prevented compliance with the continuing education requirements;
(ii) Extended active military duty;
(iii) Absence from the United States for an extended period of time due to employment or other reasons, provided the individual does not practice before the Internal Revenue Service during such absence; and
(iv) Other compelling reasons, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
(2) A request for waiver must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. The individual is required to furnish any additional documentation or explanation deemed necessary. Examples of appropriate documentation could be a medical certificate or military orders.
(3) A request for waiver must be filed no later than the last day of the renewal application period.
(4) If a request for waiver is not approved, the individual will be placed in inactive status. The individual will be notified that the waiver was not approved and that the individual has been placed on a roster of inactive enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, or registered tax return preparers.
(5) If the request for waiver is not approved, the individual may file a protest as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance. A protest filed under this section is not governed by subpart D of this part.
(6) If a request for waiver is approved, the individual will be notified and issued a card or certificate evidencing renewal.
(7) Those who are granted waivers are required to file timely applications for renewal of enrollment or registration.
(j) Failure to comply.
(1) Compliance by an individual with the requirements of this part is determined by the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service will provide notice to any individual who fails to meet the continuing education and fee requirements of eligibility for renewal. The notice will state the basis for the determination of noncompliance and will provide the individual an opportunity to furnish the requested information in writing relating to the matter within 60 days of the date of the notice. Such information will be considered in making a final determination as to eligibility for renewal. The individual must be informed of the reason(s) for any denial of a renewal. The individual may, within 30 days after receipt of the notice of denial of renewal, file a written protest of the denial as prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance. A protest under this section is not governed by subpart D of this part.
(2) The continuing education records of an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer may be reviewed to determine compliance with the requirements and standards for renewal as provided in paragraph (f) of this section. As part of this review, the enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent or registered tax return preparer may be required to provide the Internal Revenue Service with copies of any continuing education records required to be maintained under this part. If the enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent or registered tax return preparer fails to comply with this requirement, any continuing education hours claimed may be disallowed.
(3) An individual who has not filed a timely application for renewal, who has not made a timely response to the notice of noncompliance with the renewal requirements, or who has not satisfied the requirements of eligibility for renewal will be placed on a roster of inactive enrolled individuals or inactive registered individuals. During this time, the individual will be ineligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.
(4) Individuals placed in inactive status and individuals ineligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service may not state or imply that they are eligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, or use the terms enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer, the designations “EA” or “ERPA” or other form of reference to eligibility to practice before the Internal Revenue Service.
(5) An individual placed in inactive status may be reinstated to an active status by filing an application for renewal and providing evidence of the completion of all required continuing education hours for the enrollment cycle or registration year. Continuing education credit under this paragraph (j)(5) may not be used to satisfy the requirements of the enrollment cycle or registration year in which the individual has been placed back on the active roster.
(6) An individual placed in inactive status must file an application for renewal and satisfy the requirements for renewal as set forth in this section within three years of being placed in inactive status. Otherwise, the name of such individual will be removed from the inactive status roster and the individual's status as an enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or registered tax return preparer will terminate. Future eligibility for active status must then be reestablished by the individual as provided in this section.
(7) Inactive status is not available to an individual who is the subject of a pending disciplinary matter before the Internal Revenue Service.
(k) Inactive retirement status. An individual who no longer practices before the Internal Revenue Service may request to be placed in an inactive retirement status at any time and such individual will be placed in an inactive retirement status. The individual will be ineligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. An individual who is placed in an inactive retirement status may be reinstated to an active status by filing an application for renewal and providing evidence of the completion of the required continuing education hours for the enrollment cycle or registration year. Inactive retirement status is not available to an individual who is ineligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service or an individual who is the subject of a pending disciplinary matter under this part.
(l) Renewal while under suspension or disbarment. An individual who is ineligible to practice before the Internal Revenue Service by virtue of disciplinary action under this part is required to conform to the requirements for renewal of enrollment or registration before the individual's eligibility is restored.
(m) Enrolled actuaries. The enrollment and renewal of enrollment of actuaries authorized to practice under paragraph (d) of § 10.3 are governed by the regulations of the Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries at 20 CFR 901.1 through 901.72.
(n) Effective/applicability date. This section is applicable to enrollment or registration effective beginning August 2, 2011.
[T.D. 9527, 76 FR 32302, June 3, 2011]

Title 31 published on 2013-07-01

no entries appear in the Federal Register after this date.