What is an enrolled agent?
An enrolled agent (EA) is a federally licensed tax practitioner who has proven technical expertise in the field of taxation. Enrolled agents are empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for audits, collections, and appeals. Only EAs, attorneys, and certified public accountants (CPAs) may represent taxpayers before IRS.
How can an EA help me?
Enrolled agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. The expertise of EAs in the continuously changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.
Are enrolled agents required to take continuing professional education?
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires enrolled agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their EA status. National Association of Enrolled Agents members are obligated to complete 90 hours per three-year reporting period. Because of the knowledge necessary to become an EA and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 40,000 practicing EAs.
What are the differences between enrolled agents and other tax professionals?
Only EAs are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all EAs specialize in taxation. EAs are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).