Not surprisingly, there are several things that can go wrong with your Enrolled Agent renewal. These are some of the common questions about the renewal process.
How long does it take to receive the new enrollment card?
The IRS states that they may take up to 90 days to process your renewal. Since your current card expires March 31st, you really should submit your renewal by December 31st to allow time for processing.
If you renew by mail (instead of renewing online), it can take even longer than 90 days to get your new card.
The renewal window is November 1st to January 31st; you should plan to renew as early as possible.
There have been some years when the IRS processing got backed up and new cards did not get mailed out until April and May.
Why didn't I receive a renewal notice?
The IRS stopped mailing Enrolled Agent renewal notices about three years ago. Some students have reported receiving notices through their PTIN account, that their EA license renewal is due. It seems likely that the IRS will start sending email renewal notices using the PTIN system, since they are collecting your email and linking your EA license to your PTIN. The PTIN system is equipped to send emails, so it would certainly be helpful for the IRS to resume sending renewal notices to EAs.
What should I do if I didn't receive my new enrollment card?
You should receive your new EA card by April 1st, as this is when your prior card expires.
You may get an automated response that states "It is the policy of the IRS Office of Enrollment to answer inquiries with 72 hours. However, unanticipated operational demands may result in a delay in responding.” Keep in mind that there are over 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents that use this address for questions about their license or other EA issues. This is also the same address used by the public for inquiries about the status of a particular EA license or complaints.
Nevertheless, it can be less frustrating than calling the Enrolled Agents' Helpline or mailing an inquiry. Complete contact information is listed on the EA Contact Information page. Although sometimes someone will answer the line, many people report that it goes to voice mail, and also that sometimes the voice mail is full.
I forgot to renew my Enrolled Agent license
If you fail to renew, the IRS send you Letter 4321 (Rev. 07-2013) stating that your Enrolled Agent license has been placed on Inactive Status because the IRS did not receive your renewal. A bulk mailing is typically sent by the IRS on April 1st for any EAs who have not renewed, however in 2013 the letters did not get sent out until as late as July.
You are technically on Inactive Status on April 1st if the IRS has not received your renewal.
Since the IRS quit sending out renewal reminder letters a few years ago, there has been a significant increase in EAs that just forget to renew.
I failed to renew my Enrolled Agent license AND I did not receive notification of failure to renew (IRS Letter 4321)
The main reason you might not receive notification of failure to renew is if you have moved in the last 3-4 years, and failed to provide the proper address change notification to the IRS. You are required under the terms of your license to keep the IRS informed of your current address.
How do I respond to the IRS Letter 4321?
You typically have 60 days to respond to the letter and you must include copies of your certificates of completion for all CPE completed for the three year renewal period.
When would I have to retake the Enrolled Agent exam (Special Enrollment Examination or SEE)?
If you fail to renew your license for two cycles, your license will be inactivated and you will be required to retake the Enrolled Agent exam. Essentially, after the first missed renewal, you have three years to reactivate your license.
How long should I keep my CPE records?
You are required to keep your EA CPE records for four years beyond your date of renewal. This could mean keeping the records for as many as 7 years for a program you took in the first year of your renewal period.