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Mistake # 2: Courses are not for an approved subject area

One way a course might not be accepted for your continuing education requirements for your EA renewal, is if the course you have taken is not considered an acceptable subject area. What is considered acceptable for one type of license or credential might not be acceptable for another.

CPAs for example, can take courses in 23 different subject matter areas. Many CPE providers, including FunCPE offer courses for CPAs, EAs and many other professionals. So you will see courses on the website that are valid for CPAs but not valid for EAs.

The courses on our site are clearly marked which licenses and professions they are valid for, but you do need to be aware of the restrictions.

Enrolled Agent acceptable subject areas

EAs can only take courses for credit that are either federal tax related or ethics. EAs must take two hours of ethics per year, and any ethics hours obtained over two hours are not counted towards the total CPE requirement. So EA’s must take two hours of ethics per year, no more, no less.

In the past the IRS would accept access ethics hours towards the general federal tax requirement. This is no longer the case. Due to the specialized CPE reporting now required by the CPE providers, the IRS system cannot accommodate counting access ethics hours towards the general requirement.  As a result, if you take more than 2 hours of ethics per calendar year, any hours over the 2 hour requirement will not provide any CPE credit to you.

Examples of unacceptable subject areas for EA credit

State tax. EAs cannot take state tax courses for credit; for example an EA cannot take a course covering California state income tax. An IRS FAQ on CE programs states that “a program that covers state tax law issues will not qualify for IRS continuing education credit unless at least 80% of the program material consists of a comparison between federal and state tax laws.” Generally speaking very few, if any, state law courses will qualify for EA CE credit.

Annual Federal Tax Refresher course. Note that an EA cannot receive CPE credit for the Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course offered to tax preparers. This six-hour course is considered too basic for EAs.

Accounting and auditing. We have noticed a common error is for EAs to enroll in accounting and auditing courses, thinking that these courses would be acceptable by the IRS. These courses are not appropriate for EA CPE renewal credit, and although you can take these courses, they do not provide CPE credit for EAs and they are not reported to the IRS.

Read Mistake #3:
Course format is not acceptable