Less than six months after announcing a plan to revamp its test for enrolled agents, the Internal Revenue Service said that the new version of the examination is ready.   The first testing window opens today and runs through Dec. 1.   The IRS contracted Thomson Prometric to redesign the test and stressed that experts within the Enrolled Agent community had played a role in shaping the new content that is included in the special enrollment examination. The exam has been reformatted from four sections, to three sections, in order to more accurately reflect the current state of taxpayer representation.  Each of the three new sections -- individuals, businesses and representation, practice and procedures -- will contain about 100 questions.     There are currently about 40,000 active enrolled agents, many of whom are attorneys and CPAs, and represent taxpayers in both examinations and collection matters.   Other changes include that:

For the first examination cycle, Thomson will not collect any user fees on behalf of the IRS, but in future years, the company will collect a user fee of $11 for each of the three test sections. The fee reflects the change in IRS costs of administering the examination program as a result of contracting out the examination to a private contractor.   In addition to passing the test and enrolling with IRS, enrolled agents must earn 72 hours of continuing professional education every three years, plus earn an additional two hours of ethics training each year. Enrolled agents must re-enroll with the agency every three years.

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