Enrolled Agents – Tax Professionals

An Enrolled Agent (EA) is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence in the field of taxation. Enrolled Agents, or EAs, can represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service.
“Enrolled” means EA’s are licensed to practice by the federal government. “Agent” means EA’s are authorized to appear in place of the taxpayer at the Internal Revenue Service. Only EA’s, attorneys and CPA’s may represent taxpayers before the IRS. The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the Treasury Department.
EA’s advise, represent and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. EA’s prepare millions of tax returns each year. EA’s’ expertise in the continually changing field of tax law enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.
Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the Internal Revenue Service their competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPA’s, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all EA’s specialize in taxation. EA’s are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the United States government. (CPA’s and attorneys are licensed by the states.)
The EA designation is earned in one of two ways: (1) an individual must pass a difficult two-day examination administered by the IRS which covers taxation of individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates and trusts, procedures and ethics. Next, successful candidates are subjected to a rigorous back ground check conducted by the Internal Revenue Service; or (2) an individual may become an EA based on employment at the Internal Revenue Service for a minimum of five years in a job where he/she regularly applied and interpreted the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code and regulations.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, EA’s are required to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their status. Because of the difficulty in becoming an Enrolled Agent and keeping up the required credentials, there are fewer than 35,000 active EA’s in the United States.
EA’s are required to abide by the provisions of U.S. Treasury Department Circular 230. EA’s found to be in violation of the provisions contained in Circular 230 may be suspended or disbarred.