Expiring Enrollments to be Extended
While the headline might seem a month late, the IRS recently reminded enrolled agents (EAs) that the effects of the government shutdown didn’t suddenly come to an end on January 25 when the president signed a stopgap spending bill. In addition to forcing the cancellation of Tax Court sessions and prompting the IRS to create an updated lapsed appropriations contingency plan, the government shutdown created a logjam in the enrolled agent renewal process.
Any delay in processing renewals could create uncertainty for EAs whose enrollment will expire on March 31, 2019, especially if they were scheduled to represent a client in Tax Court after the expiry date. To nip any possible issues in the bud, the agency announced that it will “automatically extended enrollment card expiration for the current renewal cycle”—meaning EAs with a Social Security number ending in 0, 1, 2, or 3 who submitted their renewal paperwork don’t have to worry about their designation lapsing while the IRS catches up.
That said, there are undoubtedly affected EAs who did not submit their renewal before the January deadline. Since renewal processing is completed “on a first in, first out basis,” the IRS strongly recommends those enrolled agents “do so immediately at Pay.gov.” Here are the three steps the agency lists for renewing:
- “Have an active preparer tax identification number (PTIN).
- Complete a minimum of 16 hours CE each year of your enrollment cycle for a total 72 hours. In addition, 2 hours of ethics, or professional conduct must be completed during each enrollment year. EXCEPTION: If this is your first renewal, you must complete 2 hours of CE for each month of your enrollment, including 2 hours of ethics, or professional conduct each year.
- Pay the $30 non-refundable renewal fee. This fee applies regardless of your enrollment status.”