EA-Reactivation from Inactive Status
How to reactivate your Enrolled Agent license
If you have decided to reactivate your Enrolled Agent license, after having been in inactive status, follow these steps:
1) You must have 72 hours of CPE completed
2) Make copies of all CPE certificates
3) Have an active PTIN (check status and/or renew at the IRS PTIN site if necessary)
4) Complete IRS Form 8554 “Renewal of Enrolled Agent License” on paper
5) Mail in completed Form 8554 with the copies of certificates of completion for your 72 hours of CPE courses and the renewal fee
Problems with EA license reactivation
Need a lot of CPE in a short period of time
As you can imagine, it takes a lot of effort to complete 72 hours of CPE in anything like a short period of time. We usually recommend that you use at least one of our book courses to knock out a lot of hours with fewer courses. If you email us, we can send you the recommended 72 hours course package.
Then you need still more CPE to renew for the next period
Step one is to reactivate your EA license. Step two is to consider your next renewal. Once you reactivate, you will still need 72 hours for your next renewal, with a minimum of 16 hours per year and and ethics course every year.
If your reactivation coincides with your normal cycle end date, you can avoid having to complete an additional 72 hours for the “current” renewal cycle. See example below for how this works.
Need to keep track of which hours are used for what
You must be careful to document which courses/hours are used for your reactivation, as opposed to your next renewal. Obviously, you don’t want to double count by using the same hours for both reativation and a later renewal, but if you are not careful with your documentation, it can be difficult to sort this out.
Common problems with inactive status
Read about the different ways you can end up on inactive status here.
Example letter received from a FunCPE student that forgot to renew.
How the timing of your application to reactivate affects CPE hours required
An Enrolled Agent was placed on inactive status:
- Social Security number ends in: 7
- Placed on inactive status: 04/01/18
- Next renewal cycle ends: 12/31/23
Application made to reactivate on 06/01/21
- Needs 72 hours to reactivate on 06/01/21
- Needs another 72 hours to renew for cycle ending 12/31/23
Application made to reactivate on 12/31/23
- Needs 72 hours to reactivate on 12/31/23
- Doesn’t need another 72 hours to renew until NEXT cycle ending 12/31/26
How long can an Enrolled Agent remain on inactive status?
It depends on whether you voluntarily elect to be placed on inactive status or you are involuntarily placed on inactive status.
Voluntarily elected to be on inactive status
If you renew your EA license by your due date, you can remain on inactive status indefinitely. You must continue to
- renew every three years using the IRS Form 8554,
- checking the box “I wish to remain on inactive retirement status” and
- paying the renewal fee.
Involuntarily placed on inactive status
Your are involuntarily placed on inactive status when you
- fail to renew by your due date or
- renew, but have an inadequate number of qualifying CPE hours
The most common issue we see is simply forgetting to renew. Years ago, the Office of Enrollment mailed out a renewal notice, but they no longer do this, probably as a result of cost cutting measures.
If you miss two renewals, your Enrolled Agent status will be terminated on April 1st following the second missed cycle due date. View the letter above to see an example.
If your EA status is terminated, you will be required to take the Special Enrollment Exams if your want to become an EA again.
When will you lose your Enrolled Agent license?
If you fail to renew two times, you will lose your EA credential. The most common reason we hear about is that a student doesn’t remember to renew and also doesn’t send the IRS a change of address notice, so they don’t receive any of the correspondence about the Enrolled Agent status.
View how to send a change of address notice here (at the bottom of this linked page). This link also contains contact information for the EA Helpline which can help you sort out any issues with your license.
Let us know if you have any questions about this or any other aspect of EA renewals.