What is an Enrolled Agent?
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS.
The license is earned by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
Enrolled Agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education every three years to maintain their Enrolled Agent status. Members of the National Association of Enrolled Agents are obligated to complete 90 hours per three year reporting period. Because of the knowledge necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.
Only Enrolled Agents 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 Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).
Enrolled agents have demonstrated competence in tax matters, allowing them to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Earning the EA license proves dedication and a commitment to providing the most knowledgeable service possible for their clients.