Did you know that the enrolled agent exam content specs are public information? It's true!
Although the IRS no longer releases exam questions to the public, exam candidates can download and view the official EA Exam content outlines. The information is very helpful as an overview of the topics that you should study for the exam.
Read the full detailed test specifications to become familiar with the content of each part of the examination (these are pdf downloads).
Use these as a study tool to help you familiarize yourself with the content of each EA exam part!
IRS Enrolled Agent Exam Test Specs (below)
The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday, February 9, that it recently identified and stopped an automated attack on its E-Filing PIN application. Tax season always marks a spike in fraud and identity theft. After nationwide reports of scammers calling residents claiming they owe money to the IRS or AARP, this recent attack is just another instance of criminal activity during the tax season. The criminals used personal data stolen from outside the IRS and malware to acquire E-Filing PINs They used over 400,000 Social Security Numbers and 101,000 SSNs were successfully used to access the E-Filing PINs. The IRS said the incident is not connected or related to last week’s outage of IRS tax processing systems.
“No personal taxpayer data was compromised or disclosed by IRS systems,” said the IRS in a statement. The IRS said its cybersecurity experts are currently assessing the situation. They are working closely with other agencies and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS is also sharing information with its Security Summit state and industry partners. “The IRS also is taking immediate steps to notify affected taxpayers by mail that their personal information was used in an attempt to access the IRS application. The IRS is also protecting their accounts by marking them to protect against tax-related identity theft.”
Members of congress are questioning whether the IRS is equipped to fight these attacks and protect the identities of American taxpayers. During a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday about the IRS budget with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, "We were reminded of these risks last year when data thieves breached the IRS’s own website through the Get Transcript portal and successfully stole the tax records of 330,000 taxpayers...That is 330,000 taxpayers who now have their most sensitive tax information sitting out there in the hands of criminals waiting to use that information to do further damage this tax year, or the next, or even 10 years from now. We were reminded of this threat yet again just yesterday, when news broke of another large-scale attack against the IRS, but thankfully it appears that the attack was unsuccessful. The Get Transcript breach is going to haunt us for years to come, and, unfortunately, it’s only one of many."
Although the IRS has "thrown 2,000 people in jail for identity theft", they do not have the power to completely stop criminals from attempting to commit fraud against taxpayers. Instead, they have put measures in place designed to protect the identities of residents. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen urges people to use a different number than their Social Security Number for filing their taxes. The identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PIN), originally reserved for the victims of identity theft, can now be used by any taxpayer looking to protect their identity.
Do you have an Official Facebook Business Page for your tax prep business?
If you do, let us know! Passkey will happily "Like" your business tax page. If you don't have an official business page for your tax prep business, it's a great idea to create one! It helps retain the privacy of your "personal" Facebook page, and the business page allows you to promote your tax prep services in a professional manner.
Make sure you include your business contact info, a nice, professional photo, and some interesting information about the tax services that you provide. Here are some great tax pro Facebook pages that we like!
1. JS Accounting
2. First Choice Accounting and Tax
Use these great examples to help design your own Facebook Business Page, and then leave us a comment about it, so we can "Like" you back!
Residents across the country are receiving calls that appear to be from legitimate organizations like the IRS, AARP, or Treasury Department. The callers claim that the resident owes money and demand immediate payment through a prepaid debit card. If the resident refuses, the caller may become hostile or insulting and threaten deportation, arrest, or suspension of a business or driver’s license. If the phone call is not answered, they will often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Do not be fooled by these calls – They are all scams. And they are more likely to happen around tax season.
These scam artists often use an automated voice machine, have prepared fake names and IRS badge numbers, and know a few things about the resident (like the last four digits of their Social Security Number). The caller ID information may even appear as if the IRS really is calling. In more recent cases scammers have been misleading senior citizens, who are often the main target in these scams, by changing their caller ID to display "AARP". “The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.” Unfortunately, these calls are difficult to trace so potential victims must be vigilant and not give any of their personal information over the phone.
Remember – The IRS does NOT communicate with residents over the phone. According to the Treasury Inspector General’s website “Here is what you need to know. The IRS generally first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes and the IRS will not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire a transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.” Regardless of what the call claims or what the caller ID says, insist that they send everything to you in writing.
So what can you do to combat these scams?
1. Do not give any of your personal information over the phone. Insist that everything be sent to you through the mail.
2. Delete fake IRS e-mails and do not open any attachments. Scam artists often send e-mails to back up false claims made through phone calls.
3. Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
4. Please share this story with your family and friends so they do not become victims of these scams. If your family member does not use social media, please call them or tell them about these scams in person.
The IRS proposes to sharply increase EA Exam fee, based on the belief that fewer people are expected to take the exam in 2015. When the IRS originally proposed the exam fee, they based it on an estimate of approximately 34,000 users taking separate parts of the exam each year.
"In the testing periods beginning in 2012, 2013, and 2014, approximately 18,900, 19,500, and 22,400 parts of the exam were administered, respectively."
If the proposed fee increase is approved, the cost of taking all three parts of the EA exam will double (to $591.00). The testing fee per part would be $197 (vs. $109 currently).
The IRS gives three main reasons for the proposed increase:
Comments regarding the proposed regulation must be submitted within 30 days. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 25. Download a copy of the proposed legislation here.