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.
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).
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. The National Association of Enrolled Agent (NAEA) 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.
“The difference between death & taxes is death doesn’t get worse everytime Congress meets”
– Will Rogers