Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) plays an important role in the investigation of immaterial crimes such as digital fraud, identify theft, illicit credit card use, and government security violations.

The supervising Treasury Enforcement Agent is counted on for their advanced investigative skills, experience-honed intuition, and effective leadership in high-stakes forensic investigations. TEAs hold core positions on a variety of specialized investigative teams with a particular need for agents with specific kinds of professional experience.

TEAs not only perform a wide variety of investigative tasks in the field, but may also contribute to better organizational management as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Special Agents tasked with financial data analysis and bookkeeping.


In order to hold a standard GS-5 TEA position, applicants will need to hold a degree from an accredited university in any field of study. The IRS position, on the other hand, requires that prospective IRS Special Agents have accumulated no less than 9 semester hours in fields such as business law, finance, economics, and other related fields. Applicants will also need to have completed at least 15 hours of coursework in accounting.

Resource: 50 Best Accounting Schools in the USA 2016

Necessary Experience and Responsibilities

For all GS-5 TEA positions aside from the IRS position, there will be a requirement for sufficient experience in law enforcement fields with demonstrable investigative competence, legal knowledge, and successful problem resolution. TEAs will need to be well-versed in all their state’s precise legal regulations surrounding distinctly different criminal acts.

In addition to their academic studies and working experience, an ideal TEA will be capable of effectively and professionally interacting with agitated civilians in potentially chaotic situations. By remaining levelheaded under stress, a TEA is far more capable of carrying out a thorough, unbiased and productive investigation.

TEAs that specifically aim for a position above GS-5 will needed to exhibit a particularly strong set of highly qualifying traits and experiences to be deemed eligible. For positions above the G-5 level, TEAs will need to have either been part of or personally led a criminal investigation or military intelligence team. TEAs will be expected to have experience in analyzing data from criminal investigations and clearly communicating its relevance in comprehensive, informative reports.

Additional points of desired experience include interview conduction, surveillance, computerized business investigations, and successful outcomes gained from swift but critical judgement calls.

Those wishing to become IRS Special Agents will specifically need to show positive track record of effective accounting and business practice competence. Organization skills are vital for the IRS Special Agent to have in abundance, as they’ll be counted on highly detail-oriented tasks such as digital record management and financial statement analysis.

Non-Qualification of Uniformed Officer Experience

It is important to note that experience as a uniformed officer is largely non-qualifying for certification as a TEA. Experience as uniformed officer in property defense and arrests are not taken into consideration as indicators of an applicant’s eligibility for the position.

Earning Potential

There are fifteen different pay grades on the salary table for all federal officers, varying depending on both locality and the number of promotions from starting base pay with experience.

Each federal officer class’s base pay grade has its own series of progressive steps that rise from the starting base pay rate to the maximum base pay rate. In 2013, the average salary for a GL-7 TEA ranged from about $38,000 at starting base pay and as much as $67,000 at the maximum.