Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA)
The Internal Revenue Service awarded the American Institute of Retirement Education, LLC (AIRE) the contract to conduct the examinations for the Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) program. AIRE is a partnership formed by the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA) and the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA).
The Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent, or ERPA, is a classification of a professional allowed to practice before the IRS. The IRS recognizes that retirement plan professionals are highly competent in their field and play an active and critical role in representing employers before the IRS on retirement plan matters.
The scope of an ERPA to practice before the IRS will be limited to certain delineated sections of the Internal Revenue Code relating to retirement plan matters under Title 26 of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). As identified in Treasury Department Circular 230, “practice as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent is limited to representation with respect to issues involving the following programs: Employee Plans Determination Letter program; Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System; and Employee Plans Master and Prototype and Volume Submitter program. In addition, Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents are generally permitted to represent taxpayers with respect to IRS forms under the 5300 and 5500 series which are filed by retirement plans and plan sponsors, but not with respect to actuarial forms or schedules."
The Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent designation will be issued and maintained by the Internal Revenue Service. For more information on the ERPA program from registration to enrollment please visit www.erpaexam.org. For additional information on preparatory materials for the ERPA exam please visit www.airellc.org.
ERPA and ASPPA's QPA Credential
Once you are granted enrollment as an ERPA by the IRS, you can then submit an application for status as an ASPPA QPA credentialed member. QPA examination requirements (RPF-1, RPF-2, DC-1, DC-2, DC-3 and DB) will be waived for purposes of obtaining the QPA credential.
As with all ASPPA credential membership applications, upon review and approval you will be granted credentialed member status and will be awarded the QPA credential. You will need to meet all requirements as a credentialed ASPPA member moving forward, however, as long as you maintain your enrollment as an ERPA, the CE requirements for ASPPA credentialed members are deemed to be satisfied. Click here for more information on ASPPA's QPA credential.
An ERPA who has been awarded the QPA credential and wants to pursue the CPC credential will need to complete the four core CPC modules, two elective modules in addition to the DB and CPC proctored examinations.
ERPA CE Requirements
Applications for renewal as an ERPA will be required of all Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents every third year period subsequent to their initial enrollment. ERPAs can renew using IRS Form 8554-EP, Application for Renewal of Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA). Form 8554-EP can be found on the IRS Website.
A minimum of 72 hours of continuing education credit must be completed during each enrollment cycle. Further, a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education credit, including two hours of ethics or professional conduct, must be completed during each enrollment year of an enrollment cycle. If an ERPA does not renew his/her enrollment, Circular 230 prohibits an ERPA from practicing as an Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent.
For additional details on ERPA continuing education requirements or ERPA renewals please refer to Circular 230. For additional questions please contact the IRS Return Preparer Office (RPO) at 1-313-234-1280.
Prior to June 30, 2012, successfully completed ASPPA examinations have been approved for Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) credit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in those provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations relating to qualified retirement plan matters. ERPAs can earn up to:
- 7 credits for successfully completing ASPPA's RPF-1, RPF-2, TGPC-1 or PFC-1 examinations
- 20 credits for successfully completing ASPPA's DC-1, DC-2, DC-3, DB, PFC-2, TGPC-2 or CPC examinations
- 3 credits for ASPPA's Certified Pension Consultant (CPC) modules
The final decision as to the number of ERPA credits rests solely with the Internal Revenue Service.
After June 30, 2012, all programs that are eligible for ERPA credit by the IRS must be approved by the IRS and a program number will be issued. Please refer to the respective ASPPA pages to identify the number of eligible ERPA CE credits per program, conference and/or exam.
ASPPA CE Credit for ERPA Examinations & Review Sessions
An ERPA candidate can receive 20 ASPPA continuing education credits for successful completion of each ERPA exam part. ERPA-SEE Review Sessions (recorded webcourses) are approved for 1 credit per 50 minutes of instruction. Candidates must self-report this credit to ASPPA.