What is an Enrolled Agent (EA)?
An EA is an individual who has demonstrated technical competence
in the field of taxation and can represent taxpayers before all
administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
and state tax agencies.
What does the term "Enrolled Agent" mean?
"Enrolled" means EAs are licensed by the federal
government. "Agent" means EAs are authorized to
appear in place of the taxpayer at the Internal Revenue Service.
Only EAs, attorneys and CPAs may represent taxpayers
before the IRS. Click here for a
bit of history about how Enrolled Agents came to be.
How can an EA help me?
EAs offer a wide range of assistance, including tax planning
advice, representation and preparation of tax returns. Enrolled
Agents offer services to individuals, LLCs, partnerships, corporations,
estates, trusts and any entities with tax-reporting requirements.
EAs can prepare payroll and sales tax returns. If IRS or
a state tax agency is asking questions or sending bills, the expertise
of Enrolled Agents in the continually changing field of tax
law enables them to effectively represent taxpayers.
What are the differences between EAs and other tax professionals?
Only EAs are required to demonstrate to the Internal Revenue
Service their competence in matters of taxation before they may
earn their title and represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike
attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes,
all EAs specialize in matters of taxation. EAs are
also the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to
practice from the United States government. Thus Enrolled Agents
are the only practitioners who are licensed to practice in all fifty
How does someone become an EA?
The EA designation is earned in one of two ways:
- An individual must pass an examination administered
by the IRS which covers taxation of individuals and organizations,
as well as ethics and IRS procedures. Next, each successful candidate
is subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the Internal
Revenue Service; or
- 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.
Are EAs required to take continuing professional education (CPE)?
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, EAs
are required to complete 72 hours of CPE, reported every three years,
to maintain their status. Because of the difficulty in becoming
an EA and keeping up the required credentials, there are
fewer than 42,000 EAs in the United States.
Are EAs bound by ethical standards?
EAs are required to abide by the Standards of Ethical Conduct
as published in U.S. Treasury Department Circular 230. EAs
found to be in violation of the provisions contained in Circular
230 may be suspended or disbarred.
Click here for our advice on selecting