There are many people that are intently studying for the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE). In fact, the IRS has been canceling tests at the testing centers left and right due to COVID-19.
Traditionally the IRS opens testing each year for the SEE in May, and it runs until the end of January. However because of the pandemic, many people may not be able to fulfill their dream of becoming an Enrolled Agent.
In 2004, the IRS changed the way they administered the SEE. Instead of a four-part, two-day exam that was given once a year, the IRS farmed out the test, which is now in three parts and it is given at Prometric sites throughout the country. You can take as many or as few parts at one time that you want.
Tests are being cancelled all over the country. For example, I am in Orlando and the closest site that is testing is in Valdosta, Georgia, which is about a 10-hour car ride. This was not the case two weeks ago, when you could take the test in Orlando. However, that test was cancelled due to the pandemic.
One budding EA stated that there is a ton of frustration on message boards and other places regarding the exam. Most prospective EAs might just have to wait some time before ever taking the test that they have been preparing for during the time of shelter-in-place.
The SEE is not a walk in the park. In 2000, I passed the exam. I know that it took several months to prepare for it and there were several roadblocks to studying for such a hard exam. My hat goes off to all these people wanting to take the exam and cannot due to COVID-19.
Craig W. Smalley, MST, EA, has been in practice since 1994. He has been admitted to practice before the IRS as an enrolled agent and has a master's in taxation. He is well-versed in US tax law and US Tax Court cases. He specializes in taxation, entity structuring and restructuring, corporations, partnerships, and individual taxation, as well as...